Friday, July 25, 2008

Do these people actually read anything?

It is always pleasant to be appreciated and I tend to purr (though not as loudly as my cats) when I get an e-mail from an unexpected quarter that tells me that somebody I have never heard of has read something I had written and has been inspired by it. Well, never mind about the inspiration, I am quite happy when they say that they have read it.

Mind you, if it is someone who thinks that the Russian town of Kursk (big tank battle) is in Ukraine, then I think about giving up because clearly one cannot get the readers one is used to any more. Nor am I all that impressed by people telling me with great sighs of sorrow about Greeks feeling strongly about Alexander the Great and me not understanding what Macedonia means to them. I wonder whether they feel strongly about all those Greek City States that Alexander and his father Philip destroyed.

Anyway, enough of this frivolity. Today I received a serious missive from one Carly Scott, who is on the campaign team of an NGO I have never heard of (they multiply by the day and guess who is paying for all that shebang), Every Human Has Rights. The missive was in response to my piece about Zimbabwe and economic matters. I really do not understand why Carly Scott did not write to the boss, who has been covering Zimbabwe far more assiduously recently but who can understand the mind of someone who is on an NGO's campaign team.

Hi Helen,

I saw your post on Zimbabwe at EU Referendum. It's great to see that situation getting coverage in the blogosphere.

Last summer Nelson Mandela brought a group of really dedicated individuals together - ex heads of state and Nobel laureates - to work on solving global issues. His hope for the new group, The Elders, is for them to "speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken". They're working on the crisis in Zimbabwe now, and they want your help.

There are so many issues in dire need of attention right now, but human rights ties them all together. The Elders launched the Every Human Has Rights campaign to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and celebrate human rights as that common thread that weaves our struggles and our victories together. We're asking the blogosphere to take part. Would you be willing to add a link from your page to the Every Human Has Rights website?

We also have badges and flash widgets so bloggers can show support for the campaign. We're trying to get as many people as possible to sign a personal pledge to uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration. We have action partners to help people get more involved. We have tools so people can bring the 'rights perspective' to their own organization's events. We're doing everything we can to bring people together to stand up for human rights.

We need bloggers. We need you. Please join our effort.
When I read through this bilge twice I realized that I had started purring a little too soon. Quite clearly Ms Scott had not read a word I had written. Otherwise, she might have found it a little difficult to conclude that I was the sort of blogger that went weak at the knees when an NGO, which is in partnership with all the usual suspects (at the bottom of the website), calls upon me to help them to bring people together to stand up for human rights. And what a painful experience that will be.

As it happens the story of the Elders was not new to me or to readers of this blog, I trust, and I sent her this link and this one, to inform her of what I had said, suggesting that if she still wants my involvement not to hesitate but get back in touch. I shall not be holding my breath.

At the time I suggested:

As it happens, I have an immediate suggestion for Bishop Desmond Tutu, ex-President Nelson Mandela and his wife, Graça Machel.

There is this country, called Zimbabwe, right on your doorstep. Plenty of immense human suffering there. You have time to spare on world problems, which all just happen to be caused by the United States in President Mandela's estimation? Well, how about spending some of it on that country on your doorstep?
I was informed by admirers of the good Bishop (really Shakespeare had the right idea about bishops, archbishops and cardinals, making them all as wicked as can be) that he was working very hard behind the scenes to sort out the Zimbabwe mess, though not, perhaps, the growing South Africa mess.

A year has gone by and the mess has merely intensified while the Elders, one assumes, have been holding meetings and making pronouncements. Ms Scott, bless her little cotton socks, tells me that the Elders are working on the crisis now. Well good. When I hear what they have done I might reconsider my opinion of that despicable bunch of has-beens.

In the meantime, I have two suggestions in connection with Every Human Has Rights. I have linked to it twice in this posting and let me encourage our readers to spend a little time on that website mostly by writing to the members of the NGO asking them what they have done in practical terms and making a few suggestions. Just five minutes from every reader should make the little darlings' day.

Secondly, I should like to point out that I do my bit to help the developing countries by the surest and simplest method of all. Whenever possible I buy goods imported from those countries thus contributing to their trade, their eventual welfare and human rights. I have told the boss that if he hears of any shop selling goods from Afghanistan to let me know - I wish to do my part in helping that country.