Our good buddy Jan Egeland starred in my previous satirical post, but this time, unfortunately, I'm not kidding.
Besides being U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Egeland, is also the U.N.'s Emergency Relief Coordinator for tsunami aid efforts. He made the statement that is the title of this post while speaking on Thursday in New York.
In fairness to Mr. Egeland, is it too soon to expect real relief efforts to be underway? A U.S. Foreign Service officer working in one of the tsunami-hit countries reports:
Americans are everywhere in this corner of the Far Abroad, doing things that no other country on earth can or will do, and at a truly amazing pace... In stark contrast, the much-vaunted UN humanitarian effort is a disgrace.What are Americans doing in the affected countries?
Americans are funding local Red Cross/Red Crescent organizations, organizing truck convoys to break up the supply bottlenecks at airports and seaports, loading barges with rice and biscuits, flying in a steady stream of C-130s, and steaming in aircraft carrier battlegroups (diverted from other tasks vital to our national security) laden with mobile hospitals, supplies of every imaginable type and critically needed helicopters. Local AmCham chapters are putting together huge donation drives and "greedy' American multinationals are donating expensive heavy earth moving equipment, generators, and fuel to help Asia's victims.The U.N., on the other hand, as Mr. Egeland helpfully reminds us, is "doing very little at the moment." Okay, but what is it doing? As the U.N. itself reports on its own website,
To address the psycho-social needs of children throughout nearly a dozen countries devastated by the tsunami, selective in-service teacher training will be supported to equip teachers with specific methods and activities. While limited in their capacity and depth of the response to shock, teachers can still be trained to carry out activities which allow children, many of them orphaned, to share their feelings and to better cope with the aftermath of the disaster.Got that? While America and other countries are actually providing tangible, urgent assistance, the U.N. is training local teachers to help kids share their feelings. No word on how the U.N. effort will help kids whose teacher was killed. Sadly, we may never know how they feel.
Note also that the while the U.N. article mentions several other hazards faced by the tsunami survivors (such as land mines being swept to unknown locations, and the spread of diseases like malaria), there is no statement that the U.N. is, you know, actually doing something about it.
Actually that's not entirely true. It's "sending damage assessment missions" to historic sites on its World Heritage List, "to decide on appropriate action."
It would appear that for people outside the feckless bureaucracy of the U.N., it's a lot easier to determine what action is appropriate. And to actually take it.
Predictably, some people actually blame -- wait for it -- George W. Bush for "undermining" U.N. relief efforts by having America provide aid on its own.
We wouldn't want our food convoys getting in the way of their teacher training, I guess.