I'm often amused by the different reactions inspired by the notion of charity. I know more than one person who is, in morals or philosophy, completely opposed to charity. Even for me it can provoke some complex wonderings.
Example: have you noticed how common it is now for Big Issue sellers in Belfast to meet a polite "no, thanks" with a request for any spare change? I get all indignant about that; the whole idea of the Big Issue is that it's not begging. In my mind the seller has deviated from the expected, accepted behaviour and broken some sort of social contract, so I'm perfectly justified in walking away annoyed and self-righteous.
Crazy, isn't it?
(I don't intend to get into the various debates about the usefulness or the consequences of giving money to people begging on the street. I'm not well-enough informed to go there.)
I offer this anecdote as an intro to something a bit different.
Developed in the collaborative culture of meetups, tweetups, unconferences and so many others, Twestivals will be happening tommorrow, all over the world — including in Belfast. Organised by a couple of guys with no resources other than the willingness to ask for sponsors — many of whom have put up a little or a lot to help — all proceeds go to the Twestival chosen charity (charity: water, which I admit to never having heard of).
I can't make it tomorrow, but I wish everyone involved all the best with it. It's a neat idea, birthed and enabled by the internet and one of these new-fangled social-network-things that get such mixed press. New models and new approaches are exciting.