URGENT ACTION: Liberians Dying, Peacekeepers Needed
(see original message at the end)
Dear David Moore and Shannon Scribner,
Thank you for the Oxfam message. But why did you wait until today to
By way of introduction let me say that I admire the Oxfam community
and the work they have done over the years to help in crisis condi-
tions. But in my view Oxfam now has a responsibility that goes far
beyond what it is doing. I am concerned that Oxfam is engaged in cri-
sis response rather than in addressing the systemic problems that
create crisis, and in fact to the extent that it has started to look
at development from a systemic perspective, it is getting it wrong.
It has been apparent for weeks, or is it months, or even years that
there is a dramatic crisis in progress in Liberia, and the neighbor-
ing countries. So what now provokes the need for urgent action NOW
rather than weeks or months or years ago?
The whole framework for getting response from leadership in the NORTH
just plain does not work. It has not worked for years, but nobody
really seems to be bothered.
Too many organizations feel that writing a letter is enough. Or faith
based groups do some praying. But the sort of action that hurts or
might hurt just does not get done. Not enough people are getting into
harms way in order to stand up for what is right and needs to be
We all talk about how wrong it was for the world to ignore the emerg-
ing crisis of the holocaust in Nazi Germany, but we are doing more or
less the same thing as we ignore the MANY emerging crises around the
present day SOUTH, and indeed among the economically disadvantaged in
The systems we have at the moment do not hold people accountable for
what they do not do. Many Christians probably pray something along
these lines when they go to Church: "Most merciful God, we confess
that we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what we
have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you
with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, etc. etc."
I get the impression we leave an awful lot undone. The behavior of
leadership is a disgrace. But the NORTH leadership is our leadership.
And we have tolerated rotten leadership of development for two or
three decades. As a result all sorts of blameless people are dying
and will continue to die.
Again, thank you for your message. But please think about the sys-
temic problem that have caused this crisis, and the role we all play
in allowing these systemic problems to continue year after year after
I am copying this message to the Information Society list, because I
think that one of the big issues is the systemic failure to get im-
portant information communicated in a way that is meaningful to the
people who elect government leadership in the countries of the NORTH.
This is meant to be a role of the media, but media is now more about
entertainment and commercial profit than it is about information and
communication........ but it is information and communication that
makes for a good democracy and not "media" as it presently operates.
Guns and landmines and soldiers and oil and diamonds and gold and war
and refugees and famine and illness are the outcome of years of de-
velopment failure. There is plenty of blame to go around. But what
about systemic solutions for tomorrow? There are plenty of good peo-
ple, good ideas, amazing technology, but at the end of the day the
development establishment cannot pull it all together. This needs to
ATCnet in New York
In a message dated 8/1/2003 6:09:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> Subj:URGENT ACTION: Liberians Dying, Peacekeepers Needed
> Date:8/1/2003 6:09:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time
> From:<A HREF="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</A>
> Reply-to:<A HREF="mailto:email@example.com">
> To:<A HREF="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</A>
> Sent from the Internet
> Dear Peter,
> As you may know, the African country of Liberia is in
> the midst of a horrific civil war. During renewed fighting,
> over a thousand people have been killed. Hundreds of thousands
> have been displaced. Civilians are running out of food
> and many lack clean water. Diseases such as cholera could
> kill thousands.
> We need your help to try to stop the violence in Liberia!
> Click on the link below to ask President Bush to immediately
> deploy US peacekeeping troops to Liberia.
> President Bush has promised US support and has stationed
> three ships off the coast of Liberia. But he has not made
> the concrete commitments necessary to bring peace to Liberia.
> Peacekeeping troops from other West African countries
> are slated to enter the country soon. US troops should
> join them on the ground.
> Oxfam staff and other aid workers are trapped in homes
> and offices, unable to help those in desperate need. Meanwhile,
> 50,000 people have fled to a soccer stadium in Monrovia.
> Each week, 350 people die from cholera.
> Please take a minute right now to send an email to President
> Bush. Just click on the link below.
> And please tell your friends and family about this urgent
> humanitarian crisis.
> Thank you for your help,
> David Moore, Internet Campaign Organizer
> Shannon Scribner, Acting Policy Advisor for Humanitarian Response
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