Earlier today a famous aid blogger that you all read sent this link to me by email.
Hallelujah! Sean Penn has arrived in Haiti! Things there aren’t moving along quite fast enough for him. All the professional aid organizations are busy coordinating and doing assessments and following good process and adhering to Sphere standards and industry best-practices - in other words, wasting their time not actually finding immunoglobulin for some kid named Oriel.
And so he’s gone there to, like, SORT. IT. OUT. Read the article.
A couple of quotes in particular stand out:
“Penn feels personally responsible — for the boy [Oriel], for the entire camp, for the city.”
You have got to be [expletive] kidding me. That is some of the most bald-faced self-aggrendizement thinly disguised as a deep well of melancholic concern for the poor that I have read in a very long time.
“Penn is hardly new to heroic endeavors. He’s flown to the eye of a hurricane, to the front lines of war. A few years back, he traveled to Iraq and Iran and wrote about both countries for the San Francisco Chronicle.”
Oh, well then. He’s flown to Iran. And he’s written for the San Francisco Chronicle. Those are some pretty heavy credentials. Guess we (the professional aid community) had better sit up and take notice.
“No stunts. No gimmicks. His staffers say the actor is simply following his heart.”
“He has staffers…” What’s your overhead rate, huh, Sean?
“It’s new for Penn to sit through metrics and charts and aid-worker speak. He doesn’t have much patience for priority lists aid agencies want made. He just wants things done now. The room is packed; it’s hard to hear speakers in the back. But not Penn. His voice is booming. His language is not pedantic.”
… my head is seriously hurting right now…
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
Honestly, I don’t know who I’m more annoyed with in this case. Sean Penn himself and his incredible ignorance and arrogance, or CNN for a) following him there, and b) publishing this story.
Seriously, CNN – ever think of doing a story on an actual aid workers? People, quite unlike Sean Penn, who are not making this up as they go? I know that’d be a stretch for you. Not your normal thing, I know. But you know, there actually are actual aid workers in Haiti. Wouldn’t be that hard to find one. Just sayin.’
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Last September the human rights blog Wronging Rights put up this post in reference to a breathtakingly ethnocentric headline in the Independent.ie: “We can’t abandon Africa to cannibalism and genocide.” (!) The post spawned a brief but highly amusing multi-party twitter contest to come up with creative alternatives…
I know I’m well past six months too late. And 140 characters is nowhere near enough to do the subject matter justice, but I would nonetheless like to place my final entry in that contest now:
“We cannot abandon Haiti to celebrities and amateur aid workers!”