I am deeply disturbed by the response of Midwife International (MI) leadership to the concerns raised of its unethical, racist, self-serving, matriarchal, privileged, profiteering, neo-colonialist actions in First World nations. Sarah Kraft, the CEO and President of MI, has called all MI host site directors and staff members who have written painful testimonials of the devastating impact MI has had on their projects, clinics and programs, liars. These host site directors come from different isolated parts of the planet and who had no contact with each other but had similarly devastating experiences with MI. In dismissing our call for public accountability, Sarah has declared herself to be the only holder of the truth, reminiscent of slave traders and masters who had to dehumanize the enslaved and elevate themselves in order to continue profiteering from the sale and degradation of fellow human beings. I would have hoped that those on the various MI Boards who stand with women and for family and community wellness, would have had the character to honestly appraise the situation, redress their actions and reassess a more inclusive, ethical, fair way to train in countries and cultures different that their own. Alas, I was wrong.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us that it is not where you stand in moments of comfort and convenience but where you stand in the storm that counts. Elie Wiesel said that neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. We must take sides. Silence encourages the tormentor. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever, at the moment, women and men are being taken advantage of because of their race, religion, privilege or political views that place must become the center of the universe. The center of the universe now is MI’s actions and response. Are they above scrutiny?
Continuous work on becoming an aware, caring human being is hard work if one is to fulfill her/his purpose. It is a dynamic continuous process of addressing uncomfortable issues while looking at one’s self to identify the enemy within and having the courage to face the ugly picture in the mirror and correct it. Ancestor Malcolm X said, “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
You can’t be wrong and strong. Humble yourself. Goddess doesn’t like ugly.
Makeda Kamara, Midwife, Sangoma