Archive for the ‘Independence’ Category

Affleck vs Kristof — who’s better?

Posted: December 6, 2010 by brfrese in Abuse, Africa, Celebrity, Independence, War

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about Ben Affleck and his involvement with the UN Refugee Agency (the UNHCR) and their campaign to bring shelter to refugees. He is particularly involved in the Congo, and his methods involve using his celebrity  as a means to granting unheard individuals a voice. Let me give you a quick refresher on what he does —

In our Comm 410 class, we have learned about a man named Nicholas Kristof who is a reporter for the New York Times. His articles and videos are created in the same manner as the ones I previously posted about Ben Affleck — they pick and individual to learn about their story. Kristof is notorious for doing many, many interviews, but picking the best individual, true story and using that to create his messages. He feels that the American people attach to one person, one story, better than they do to groups of people (we are desensitized).  Here are a few pieces of his work:

And an article here.

So, seeing as how Kristof would be categorized as a popular and effective writer, yet not a celebrity, I am curious as to how you feel. Which member of our society, who focuses on an individual to tell their story and offer them a voice, is more effective? Granted they have used different mediums (Affleck his fame and a TV appearance on ABC, and Kristof his educated and informed following through the New York Times), but I still feel their methods are similar. If I had to pick who I think has the greater impact, it would be Kristof. I pick him because he is more consistent with his involvement (yes, I know it is his job, but that makes  his work more legitimate), and consistency yields results.

However, I want to know what you think, so fill out the poll below!

Advertisements

I recently found an article from TIME Magazine called “Bad Charity,” and I thought I would share it with you all.

You can check out the full article here — it is really very insightful into our conceptions of charity work.

From Time Magazine

The article talks about a young man, Jason Sadler, who wanted to help out in Africa with a charity designed to donate T-shirts to Africa. He was, understandably so, surprised when he received harsh criticism from bloggers and anti-charity activists. He received this response for a few reasons:

1. T-shirts are not hard to get in Africa — an influx of free shirts to the market would bankrupt small entrepreneurs and those who vend shirts for a living.

2. The money spent shipping the shirts and supplies could better be used providing the impoverished areas with food and medical supplies they do not have.

One of his opponents was James Shikwati, a member of a Nairobi-based Inter Region Economic Think Tank, who found it ironic that after the second hand expansion of clothing into small towns shut down their textile industries, people who be interested in providing free shirts to the area.

He received additional criticism from a blogger who goes by the pseudonym “Tales from the Hood,” saying no level of rational debate seems to make an impact — sometimes people need to be yelled at for their charity because it isn’t making a difference.

He is, however, cooperating with his opponents and planning to readjust his charity model by donating shirts to orphanages who request them and to widows who can sell the shirts for profit. Sadler currently works with the founder of WaterIsLife.com, Ken Surritte, on his philanthropy efforts.

It is this kind of philanthropy we all assume is helping countries in other continents, but may actually be detrimental to their economic systems and ways of life. I want to know how you all feel about the way we look at charity and if we think it is always a good idea to get involved…even if we might be misinformed. Answer below!

Earlier this month, George Clooney and John Prendergast traveled to Southern Sudan for their charity Not On Our Watch. As the duo attempts to stop what could be the next Darfur, they look to their fellow Americans for help.

Tensions continue to rise between Northern and Southern Sudan as the Jan. 9, 2011 vote for Southern Sudan’s independence approaches. However, Clooney and Predergast preach that if we reach out to Obama through letters and email showing support for international pressure and robust diplomacy, we have the opportunity to stop this war before it starts and ultimately save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

“The international community was late to Darfur. Late to the Congo. Late to Rwanda. Late to Bosnia. Tell our President that the people of South Sudan can’t afford for us to be late again.”