Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A quick comment on an article I read this morning...

First of all: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/03/AR2011010302175.html I know it's a lot to read through, but it's worth it if you're into masochism, because especially if you're an American, this article WILL make you hurt. If you've taken ANY courses in international development, this article will make you feel ill. The many layers of misunderstanding are apparent here. First, there's a reason why these changes are called "long term"--and you really can't just plop things into someone else's hands and run away with no oversight. Minimal oversight, maybe? But not this.

Second, water parks?? Dance halls? Has ANYONE working for these people taken a class in cross-cultural communication? Certain social codes and norms are present in Islamic countries, and while you may be trying to "democratize" the country, at least respect the existing value systems. To quote, '"We don't allow dancing and singing outside," said Hassan Alizerjawee, a Sadr City elder who lives across the street from the proposed site.' Why didn't we invest those $250,000 in taxpayer dollars in measures that preserved what was already there (whatever was left to save) or at least spending another $50,000 to make sure militias didn't bomb the shit out of everything?

Another quote: ""We did run a danger of looking like Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned." from Lt. Col. Yates, whose men worked on the water park in Baghdad.


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