On Air Now
In Conversation With Steve Allen 9pm - 10pm
12 February 2018, 11:55
This call from a brutally-honest aid worker will make you think again about the Oxfam scandal.
Oxfam has been criticised after workers have been accused of holding sex parties with victims of natural disasters, including the Haitian earthquake in which 220,000 died.
But Steve in Barking called LBC with a very different take on the subject that made James O'Brien and his listeners think again about their views.
He was an aid worker in Bosnia during the Yugoslav war and saw some truly horrific things during his time there. He describes locals putting furniture on the street so locals can walk without being shot by snipers.
And he said they should be judged by their work, not what they did in their spare time.
He said: "I've used prostitutes there. At the end of the day, they used to hang around in the lobbies of the hotels.
"I was single, they were willing to do it, what right have you to criticise people like me.
"Judge me what I do by the next day, when I deliver 1,000 tonnes of grain or food to starving kids.
"That woman who said she wouldn't put any more money into charities, when they used to go to Africa, Medicines Sans Frontieres would deliver little vials of eyedrops for £1.20 and it would save a child's sight. So even if you put a quid into charity, you're helping a war-torn kid.
"So everyone get off their high horse and start growing up."
James admitted Steve had made him change his view on the topic, saying: "To sit in the comfort of this studio and say that, after a day's work in unbelievably awful circumstances, we're now going to tell you what you can and can't do with your own money, your own social life, and we're going to tell those women what they can and can't do with their own bodies, I see exactly where you're coming from."
"But I'm a little bit uncomfortable with what you're saying. For one reason: if the woman who you were paying for sex was only selling sex because of the tragedy that you had gone to Yugoslavia to alleviate, does that put a different complexion on things or not?"
Steve's simple response: "No. Because some places like Srebrenica or Mostar, adult women were knocking on the sides of cabs and for 40 fags, you could have sex with them.
"If that makes their life a little more tolerable..."
James asked: "Couldn't you just have given them 40 fags without having sex with them?"
Steve responded: "We used to pay them Deutsch Marks and that would keep them going for months with food and luxuries that we take every day for granted.
"Please don't judge me on what I did on my time off with my own money. Judge me what I do when I went out there for my charitable contribution."
It was a remarkable call that got a HUGE response from listeners. Watch it in full at the top of the page.
James's response to the call: "That stopped me in my tracks."
Even after all these years, a single call can stop me in my tracks. Ex-soldier Steve used local prostitutes when he was an aid worker in the former Yugoslavia and thinks the Oxfam story is a fuss about nothing. https://t.co/NytsNJ7cfR— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) February 12, 2018