April 19th, 2006


Opinions. Hate me for them.

While I feel for the girl who got kicked in the head at Convergence 12, I'd really like to know why I should care about her more than the millions of other people who suffer from various problems. Is there a reason why I should be jumping into the game of online Amber Alert for some guy who assaulted someone in Louisiana and lives in Alabama? As if I'm going to do any good looking for this guy on my street corner. As If I could tell the difference between this guy and any of the red-dyed-hair people on Broadway. And why the need to pass on the latest rumor on his location all over? Anyone ever played Phone Call or Rumors as a kid? That the game where everyone sits in a circle and someone starts off by whispering something to the person sitting next to them. In turn everyone repeats what was whispered to the next person. And then it gets to the last person who says what was whispered to them. And rarely is it anything similar. This is partially why hearsay is not allowed in court generally. Well, we got a case of internet Phone Call going on. The police don't need my help, and they certainly don't need me to pass on the information to a cop buddy of mine who lives in Chicago who knows another cop in Alabama. The police in New Orleans will have the contact information the victim knows, as well as any contact information that other folks who knew the alleged attacker and they will track those and have their own means of contacting law enforcement in Alabama directly. Christ almighty we watch too much cop T.V. in the U.S.


Doctors Without Borders/Medecins sans Frontieres

Please repost this.

So the next organization I'd like to highlight that is doing work in Darfur is Doctors Without Borders. While other groups in the region are providing a variety of services to the refugees in Darfur, this organization focuses on one thing: providing medical services. Doctors Without Borders is known internationally as Medecins Sans Frontieres. References below to MSF are actually to the same organization. Here are a few highlights from their web site (bold added by gkr):

  • From January to May 2005, MSF staff treated more than 500 people for violence-related injuries and 278 women for rape. Rape and sexual violence remain pervasive, inflicted on women and girls who must venture beyond the borders of camps to find firewood, water and food for their families.
  • Faced with high rates of diarrhea, respiratory infections, and malaria; appalling water and sanitation conditions in many areas; and outbreaks of meningitis and hepatitis, MSF has worked to provide medical care, nutritional help and safe water.
  • Out of a 343 M€ budget for aid, 50.4 M€ was spent in Sudan, making it the largest area of expenditures for MSF.
  • About 200,000 people from Darfur are refugees across the border in Chad. But the government of Sudan has turned the militias that terrorized Darfur into rebels in Chad, and now Chadians are crossing the border to Sudan as refugees.

    The MSF team quickly organized a measles-vaccination campaign, with vaccines provided by the Ministry of Health, and distributed basic survival items. … "In spite of everything, we were able to vaccinate 700 children and distribute blankets, jerry cans and buckets, clothing, mats, and other basic items within two days," says Neuman. A drinking water distribution system was put in place during the same period.

  • The international medical humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is launching a meningitis vaccination campaign in eastern Chad, following a recent outbreak among refugees from Sudan's Darfur region. The campaign is aimed at protecting thousands of people in the area from the highly infectious disease, which is particularly threatening in the overcrowded camps.

    Over a period of two weeks, MSF plans to vaccinate about 70,000 Sudanese refugees and local residents in and around the Bredjing and Farchana camps, and in the border town of Adré.

That's just a sample. Here's the kind of opposition Doctors Without Borders faces:

  • Although there are many humanitarian organizations in El Geneina, few are prepared to leave the city. The paralysis afflicting aid agencies is visible in this area." The tensions on the nearby border, attacks against humanitarian convoys and the movements of armed groups in this region all contribute to the widespread failure to act.
  • Two senior MSF international staff were arrested by Sudanese authorities in May 2005. Both were charged with "publishing false information, undermining Sudanese society and spying." The charges came in response to a critical MSF report on widespread sexual violence in Darfur that was published in March 2005. Faced with hundreds of women and girls seeking medical care following rape and sexual violence, MSF released the report to raise awareness about the violence and calling for measures to be taken to stop it. The arrests sparked strong protest from many international humanitarian actors who demanded that the baseless charges be dropped. On 20 June 2005, the government announced that it had dropped the charges against the two aid workers and they were released.

In short, no one is making it easy on them.

So here's how to donate.

Online via credit card
Go here: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/index.cfm
By mail
Print this form out and send a check along with the fill out form to:
Doctors Without Borders USA, P.O. Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030
By phone
Call 1-888-392-0392 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

So here's the incentive I will personally give to donating or helping. There are 121 people on my friends list. For every one of them that donates money to Doctors Without Borders in the next month, I'll match their donation up to $100. That could be up to $24,200 donated combined. Show me a copy of your receipt to get me to match.

Here's the second incentive: For everyone on my friends list who reposts this, I'll donate an additional $10 to Doctors without Borders. At zero cost to you. Sorry, it's not a viral payment like the Bill Gates email tracking hoax. I can't afford to donate $10 for everyone who posts a version of this. And only $10 per person, not per posting. You, however can feel free to create your own incentives to get people to re-post. Send me a link to your posting if it's not on Live Journal. (Re-posting does not need to preserve formatting....)