Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Human Buttons

Sender: Adrian Grant
Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:49 pm

I have just read your appeal through the Kingdom Vegetarians messagebaord (I
have yet to udnerstand what the link is).

I have to tell you that your intended campaign will fail - for a very simple

You would be wrong to imagine that this idea is new or that it is unique to
UNHCR. The same process has been used to find adoptive parents for children
(even within "rich" countries), raise money for third world charities (eg World
Vision) etc. Whether you like it or not fund raisers have found that this method
works. So your campaign should be against ALL the ways this fundraising tactic
is used. If you do not like it you will have to address the deeper issue - not
just the example you happen to be familiar with.

Now the first result of your desire being fulfilled would be that the funds
available would go down - and so you DO have to answer the question as to where
else the funds would be found - OR you will have to say why you will be content
with the reduced volume of funds available.

Sadly the world is as it is - not as you might wish it to be. By all means seek
to change the world for the better - but don't be naive in the process.

Looking at the matter more deeply of course I would agree that the ends do not
by themselves justify the means in a blanket way, but it IS legitimate to ask
the question "Do THESE ends justify THESE means?". I think I can see how you
might find the "human buttons" somewhat offensive - but I have to say I find the
regimes which created these refugees even more offensive and if the human
buttons help to encourage people to vote, even with their wallets and credit
cards, against those regimes, then the small amount of offence caused will have
been worth it. A second consideration is this: have you asked the individuals on
those buttons whether or not they are so offended by the process that they would
prefer not to have their plight highlighted in this way? IF they are featured
when they would prefer not to be, then I would agree with you.

For example I am disgusted by the way that newspapers parade the grief of people
caught up in disasters. I could accept it in the context of the newspaper
creating an appeal to help that person directly - but not merely to demonstrate
the depth of feeling - we all grieve at loss.

YOu obviously have a lot of energy and a substantial contribution to make. I
urge you to channel your energies positively and constructively and NOT to stand
on your dignity too much - never mind presume to stand on other people's.