Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Disaster relief; the new intangible celebrity accessory?

There is little that irks me so much as a bunch of privileged Hollywood celebrities that abuse others' misfortunes, like the earthquake victims of Haiti, to 'toughen themselves up.' I'm sure the celebrities' intentions are good, regardless of getting free publicity. However, once in the throes of tragedy not much rational thought goes through the mind, especially when it's a soft mind. That's how we end up breeding the irrational Bono's of the world.

By Stanely
Stuyvesant

We all remember those blurry photographs of Sean Penn and his shotgun surveying the damage down in New Orleans but most of us thought this was just Sean being Sean. It is nothing new for celebrities to use their name brands to aid natural disasters, however, the Haiti earthquake disaster marks a new trend where becoming a first-responder is the vogue. Not to name names, but right now it seems that every socialite and her brother are trying to jump a plane down to Haiti.

While any effort to genuinely help Haiti in its most trying hour is commendable, we’re not quite sure that this is the best way to go about it…

Emergency disaster relief is extremely dangerous and requires extensive training. The responders on the ground are soldiers, doctors and primarily relief agencies who specialize in first-response. The dangers go without saying; lack of civil order, disease vectors, etc. In addition, the aid to Haiti is extremely bottle-necked. The Port-au-Prince airport is a logjam with many relief flights being turned away or delayed. Getting aid to where it needs to go is proving even more difficult.

Extra people who are untrained flying in on unnecessary planes are not what Haiti needs right now.

Natural disasters and charitable behavior have always demonstrated the best parts of humanity, and unfortunately the worst. There are those who want to help because it is the right thing to do, and there are those who want to help because they see an opportunity.

Over the last decade the Red Cross has been plagued by embezzlement scandal after scandal. Bono, while relentlessly beseeching his hard-earned dollars for Africa and his ongoing quest for sainthood, went out of his way to structure his finances on the Isle of Man to avoid paying taxes in his homeland. Even Haiti’s own Wyclef Jean, who has been its most visible mainstream champion, has
come under fire for the use of finances of his NGO Yele Haiti. While all three of these examples have done much more good than harm, Ayn Rand never seems to be far away.

Those facebook photos may serve as personal bragging rights, but at what price? The fact that it takes money, power and connections to get into Haiti right now doesn't mean it should serve as becoming the new "it" destination for untrained socialites/celebrities.

If a celebrity or socialite is willing to drop everything to go down to Haiti, they should at least be willing to educate themselves on where they can actually add the most value to the relief effort. They would soon realize that the best allocation of their abilities is not digging people out of rubble but rather doing their best to mobilize long term charity efforts that will help Haiti return to what it was and grow beyond. Nobody wants to believe that someone’s generosity is disingenuous, however, until it starts making sense, it is going to ask a lot of questions.

6 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Haiti's been a pile of shit for 200 years ever since the negro slaves got rid of the whites and mulattoes. I say ship that shit back to Africa where they came from, and give Haiti back to real Caribbeans.

Notice how Cuba couldn't care less about Haiti. Most of Cuba's population is mulatto followed by whites, then followed by blacks at 11%, with a smattering of Chinese. No black majority problem there. I bet they'll resist any immigration from Haiti with a vengeance, unlike the Americans who will let these bastards swim to shore in Miami and put them on welfare forever more while apologising profusely to the ungrateful lazy bastards for slavery.

Viking said...

Great post!
blaming slavery for Haiti's troubles is like blaming the invention of the Steam Engine for unemployment.
I saw on the news today how some African leader has proposed a new African country for Haitians who want to return to Africa.
I like it.
Haitians won't however, it would be too much effort, and they'll be further from the source of free stuff that is American. In any case, Liberia was once the same idea and it didn't work out too well for them.

Anonymous said...

Jesus, Matt Damon is one serious douchebag! Does hollywood know no limits to its hypocrisy..

Anonymous said...

I have lost all respect for Matt Damon after I saw him making fun of Sarah Palin on TV. Look who's laughing now!

WHITEADDER said...

Time for Superman, Batman, Captain America and Spiderman to fly in. They are white you know....

Baskerville said...

Even bigger douchebags are Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt who donated $1 million. It's an insult to whites in the US who are struggling to get out of their recession.