Saturday, December 10, 2011
The Red Cross just got its last contribution from me.
When I give money to charity, I want it used for the purpose intended, and that manifestly does not include investigating whether people who play video games might be in violation of international human rights law (although it does confirm my long-held suspicion that human rights law has become just another means for bludgeoning people).
The Red Cross has proven that, whatever good it does, it is wasting money on frivolous people who want to run my life.
The linked story also confirms my even longer-held suspicion that international NGO conferences are primarily a pretext for bureaucrats and academics to travel to places like Geneva where they can come up with other reasons to gather in places like Geneva.
I will keep donating blood, which I do directly to my local hospital's program.
OK, I'll probably relent and give them money again at some point -- the organization has done much great work -- but not until it has paid an adequate price for such rank stupidity.
UPDATE: The Red Cross responds, quite reasonably. Pretty fast PR operation.
The ICRC is a different organization from the U.S. Red Cross. I found that out when I was unwilling to give the Red Cross money, after the ICRC advocated a criminal case against the Bush administration for allowing inhuman conditions to persist in Guantanamo (or some such BS), and my wife (then on a benefit committee for the Red Cross) nailed me to the wall with the distinction. I still give blood, but (just because I am unpersuaded-- don't tell my wife-- on the distinction) I give disaster-related money to the excellent Mennonite Relief or Americares (both with extremely low overhead rates).
Don't give to the Red Cross; give to the Salvation Army.
During WW I, my grandfather and great uncle were both forward on the lines. The Red Cross demanded hard cash for snacks, cigarettes, shaving soap and so on. The Salvation Army would visit and give everything they had away. For those unfamiliar with conditions on the front during WW I, the troops weren't paid until after they left the front lines and few in the trenches had cash.
During WW II, my Dad experienced similar events with the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
So, when you see the contract bell ringers out collecting for the Salvation Army, feel free to support that cause.
Why is the ICRC interested in video games that simulate real warfare? Video games simulating the experience of armed forces therefore have the potential to raise awareness of the rules that those forces must comply with whenever they engage in armed conflict – this is one of the things that interests the ICRC.
Weasel-words for, "You bet we're pushing the video gamers to obey International Law."
Does the ICRC work with video-game developers to make sure the law of armed conflict features in certain games? The ICRC has expressed its readiness to engage in a dialogue with the video gaming industry in order to explore the place of humanitarian rules in games.
Here's what the American Red Cross has to say on the matter (http://blog.redcross.org/ ): What is the stance of the American Red Cross on this issue? We think that it’s healthy to promote the discussion around international humanitarian law and the rules of war. In fact, earlier this year the American Red Cross conducted a survey...the survey showed that 80% of young people believe that more education about the rules of war is important.
It may seem that I've chosen a darker interpretation of these carefully bland words. However, my more recent experiences with the Red Cross echo those of Anonymous and Anonymous Dave above. When I was stationed in Germany in the late '70s, several of my airmen would have benefited from support from the Red Cross, but they had to jump through so many hoops that were so difficult even to start in our isolated location (yes, even in Germany), that they couldn't get the support.
I'm all for the Salvation Army and Goodwill.
I used to give blood, usually through Carter Blood Care, but after the mad cow disease scare, that earlier tour in Germany got me ruled ineligible: I might have come in contact with tainted meat.
I won't bother repeating in full similar anecdotes about the Red Cross concerning relief efforts following Katrina and Rita in 2005. My grandfather and uncles all swore that the organization would never get another red cent from them or from anyone that they ever spoke to. United Way and FEMA were much more helpful.
My Mom swore off the Red Cross when my Dad was at sea during WW II. She was knitting mittens (AKA Glove Liners) for donation. My Dad had to pay a buck apiece aboard ship.
Salvation Army is a far more worthy service organization, in my opinion.
Int'l Red Cross, whose symbol is supposed to be secular, both indulged Islamics by allowing the 'Red Crescent' and punished the Jews by refusing the Red 'Star of David' and demanding Jews use a 'Red Coffin'.
They can all rot in hell. Whatever good they do is 10% of what good they could do if they weren't populated by activist Socialists.