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Michael Dobbs vs. the Tsunami: Give a Man a Fish...

Our favorite WaPo tsunami correspondent, Michael Dobbs, who you may remember from his tsunami reports filed from his family's private island, has a blog! And it's...


From a Western perspective, it's tempting to give the new boat to the fishermen and organize them into a cooperative so they can reap the full benefit of their labor. But if you do that, you disturb a deeply rooted power structure underpinned by friendships and enmities going back decades that take an anthropologist to comprehend. That was one of the mistakes the U.S. made in Iraq: blundering in and imposing a new power structure with little understanding of how Iraqi society worked.
...insane! Yes, right! That's what we did wrong in Iraq! We gave them too much stuff.

Also? Iraq not flattened by tsunami.

As part of the deal with the villagers, every family has to contribute their own labor to the program. Local masons, block builders, plumbers and electricians have been hired to do the more difficult work, but the villagers will have to finish off their own homes. Steve and Jane both feel that people don't appreciate something they are getting entirely for free.
Wow, it's like Outward Bound for Sri Lankans. Providing tough love and self esteem, coupled with disaster relief. Why hasn't the Red Cross thought about this? Constantly just giving people shit, eroding their self worth like so much sandy beach. We sure wish Dobbs had been blogging about the 9/11 victims payment fund—he would have taught those 9/11 widows a thing or two about self-respect. Oh, and also, they would have kicked his ass.

Sri Lanka Tsunami Blog [WaPo]

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