Wednesday, April 25, 2007

'human buttons'

Sender: stephe meloy
Wed Nov 2, 2005 1:41 pm

I think youre missing the point with regard to the 'human button' posting you
put on idp.

The West has been using images of abuse as a standard way to encourage people to
donate to these causes.

I take no issue with you thinking this is not a good idea.

But you seem to have no understanding as to why this is done. You appear to be
acting as if the refugees pictured have been singled out specifially. Which is
not the case.

I would suspect the UN's rationale is that people need to see how bad things can
be in order to understand the need to donate funds to help.

And my understanding is that these campaigns do work.

There has been one major change over the past 10 years or so. There has been a
drive to show happy contented people in the images as opposed to people dying.

The whole problem with charity donation in the West is one of compassion
fatigue. We are bombarded with so many calls for help that eventually the brain
begins to naturally filter these events out. This is a natural process and one
that needs to be understood in order to be resolved.

I believe that far greater than the issue of whether refugees are made into
donation buttons on the net is the issue of HOW and WHY they are displaced in
the first place. (

Your own site uses enormous amounts of the very images you condemn - I would
suggest that you could first remove the buttons from your own site if you feel
that they degrade and humiliate people.

BE what it is you wish to SEE. (B2C)

God Bless

ps if you havent done so already I would suggest that you might like to read
'conversations with god' by Neale Walsch

From: sam@...
Sent: None
To: 451@...
Subject: Re: 'human buttons'


Sorry to be late in my reply, I was in Roumiah prison, the police arrested me at 31/Aug in the office of the UNHCR because I was photographing the office then I spent 55 days in prison for entering Lebanon illegally. You can see the pictures and read my article in my site it'll be part of my new campaign.

I appreciate you spending your time to write me a message contains your opinions and I'm very happy to read your message and to reply in same time. First of all I just like to make clear that my campaign 'Human-button' isn't against using pictures to show the plight of refugees but against using them as human-buttons and the different is very big. Maybe you'll tell me that all are pictures, and my answer is 'true' but the message in each is different. Pictures are messages and used to tell some thing. For example my new pictures for my new campaign 'Urgent we need smile' are very expressive and show you exactly what is going on in the office of UNHCR every day and also show you our feelings, please compare them with any human-buttons on I want the UNHCR to show our real situation and our real problems and I hope they'll use real pictures of real refugees and I hope more the help of people will base on understanding more than just sympathy came from false pictures. I hope we'll continue this discussion if you like and I hope you'll contact the UNHCR to hear their opinions about this subject.

By the way the human-buttons on my sites are on them sites and I just linked to their location on their servers and you can check that.

I like to publish your message on my blog with your permission.

Thank you very much and I hope to hear from you soon.

Peace upon you.

RE: 'human buttons'
Mon Nov 28, 2005 2:51 pm
Sender: stephe meloy

I'm sorry to hear about your imprisonment.

Please feel free to use the email if you like - please remove my email address and contact details though if you publish it.

My understanding of the UNHCR button campaign is that they are trying to use less violent images deliberately because people in the West (and that’s where the campaign is aimed generally) have reached saturation point with calls for money. And there has been a backlash, as I said, over the past 10 years to not use images of people dying. This is part of a concerted campaign to ensure that the images they use, while evocative enough to stir peoples compassion, is not denigrating the people who have been photographed.

I still think you're missing the point re the buttons - sometimes we need to choose the fights we fight - because otherwise we end up throwing all our energy at fights we cant win or are less significant while the real bigs ones glide past us.

Aside from anything else you say “I want the UNHCR to show our real situation and our real problems and I hope they'll use real pictures of real refugees and I hope more the help of people will base on understanding more than just sympathy came from false pictures”. I thought your whole point on your website was that its wrong to use these images of real people in terrible situations. Either its one or it’s the other.

It seems to me that you’ve made your mind up already on this issue – and this is one fight I choose not to have.

All I would urge is that you think about the fact that “there is no such thing as right and wrong, only what works given what it is we say we wish to be, do or have” (‘Conversations with God’ by Neale Walsch)

Its very easy to see things in black and white and to be effectively blinded by the stark contrast when in truth the world is in colour,

God Bless

Stephe Meloy

e: 451@...

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve this world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us;
It is not just in some of us - it's in everyone!
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others!

Marianne Williamson (quoted I believe by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 Inauguration Speech)

From: sam@...
Re: 'human buttons'
Dear Stephe,

I’m happy to read from you again and sorry again to be late in my reply, I hope in the future I’ll be faster. I like to comment on some points in your message:

I think strongly that the UNHCR doesn’t has the right to ask fro donation at first place because the as it mentioned in the UN51 convention; the governments of the world are responsible for support the UNHCR directly or indirectly via many programs that aiming to solve the problem of the refugees in the world. I’ll work to stop UNHCR from asking for donations in the future after they started to change the human-buttons with a new design that doesn’t have any picture for human on. You could look on their main website they’re still using the old human-buttons in their inner pages and in some other website that belong to local UNHCR branches. I fell this is the first step in the correct way and clear proof that I was correct when I asked them to stop using human-buttons, I’ll continue to achieve all my targets with great thanks fro all the people whom support my campaign I sent messages to the UNHCR.

I want to make clear that my campaign ‘human-buttons’ was about the human-buttons not about using the pictures of real refugees, there is difference about button and picture. The human-button is one of their sites used to collect money not to show some thing about our situation and I hope you’ll understand the difference. I myself used pictures and I hope they’ll do the same. I mean use pictures to show our situation as refugees not just poor people. The UNHCR exist to solve our problems and to find us a permanent solution as it mentioned in the UN51 convention but I see some thing different. The UNHCR are happy with our current situation and it using us to collect more money when we all know the money isn’t part of the permanent solution and what happened in Egypt and Yemen last month is big proof for what I’m speaking about.

I hope we’ll continue this discussion and I hope we’ll hear some thing from the UNHCR, more positive than ask the police to use force against refugees!

Thank you very much and I hope to hear from you soon.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Peace upon you.