I’ve been back from my Christmas trip to Germany for a few days now, but haven’t found the energy to blog.
I’m also lacking enthusiasm, because the first the first post I saw about the disaster was depressingly disappointing. The usually sensible Jeff Jarvis couldn’t resist the opportunity for taking a cheapshot at the UN for, um, failing to keep the front page of its web site updated while facing its biggest-ever humanitarian coordination mission:
I went to the United Nations’ site earnestly expecting to find some update on relief efforts and I find nothing (save for a link about Iraq). You might think I”m being unfair but I don’t. Shouldn’t they of all agencies in the world be prepared on a moment’s notice to at least suggest how people could help people in disasters?
Although most of the comments directed Jarvis to the appropriate UN web sites, the post also prompted this, um, intelligent reply from Eric Wilner:
I wouldn’t expect the UN to do such a thing. It’s a large, established, bureaucratic institution, geared neither for rapid response nor for coordinating volunteer (or other independent) efforts.
Perhaps a new institution is needed to handle such rapid coordination… or perhaps the blogosphere will grow into the role.
Yeah, sure. The blogosphere will “be prepared on a moment’s notice to at least suggest how people could help people in disasters?” Sorry buddy: You need to get out of your pajamas to do that — and you usually need a vast bureaucratic institution to coordinate the logistics of a relief operation spanning half a dozen countries.
I read this nonsense while watching UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs Jan Egeland (he of>the much-blogged ’stingy” remark) on CNN explaining that the UN had not been able to raise its field office staff in Aceh on their satellite phones. (I saw a later press conference in which Egeland announced that they are safe now.)
All tough-guy bloggers who think writing their half-baked thoughts is somehow changing/saving the world should dedicate a few decades of their lives to working in a UN field office to see how it’s really done. If they have an ideological problem with the UN, any NGO will do.
Pardon the rant. Carry on.