Wed Aug 17, 2005 1:17 pm
I read about your human button campaign. I wanted to write this message because
you seem like a good person and have had a lot of effort to write this website.
I want you to know that I didnt know anything about these things before your
I cant comment about your campaign against UNHCR, because I cant possibly know
what you have been through and what is the truth without studying more about it.
What I can do however, is tell my opinion about these human buttons.
I can truly understand how you feel about the pictures. If the pictures offend
the ones they are trying to help, theres certainly something wrong and UNHCR
should respond accordingly. I agree with you there. However, I must also try to
say how the ordinary people who see these pictures on the street or internet
react/feel (this is based on my feelings and assumptions and what I have seen in
I think they dont see them as humiliating against refugees, as refugees
themselves see it. At least I dont personally think that the pictures would make
us all see refugees as only poor people. The most important thing, in my
opinion, is to help each other. If intention is good, Im ready to forgive some
However, as I said, refugees have the full right to say that the pictures are
offending and should be removed. And UNHCR should do so. That is their goal
after all, to help refugees and not make them sad. All Im saying is that, with
this message for you Im trying to let you see another side of the matter. I hope
you will answer to me and tell what you think!
I wish you everything good for the future!
18 year old male from Finland
Re: My opinion
Dear 18 year old male from Finland,
I’m happy to read a message from Finland for first time; most replies came from coteries speaking English. I respect your opinions and I didn’t find them far or different of mine. I noticed that you use this word many times in your message ‘pictures’. My campaign isn’t about using pictures of refugees, but it’s against using them as human-buttons. The human-buttons aren’t pictures but they’re web page components do specific job, mostly to drive the users to another pages. In this case these human-buttons work to drive or lead people to donation pages. I hope you’ll see the difference.
Pictures show some situations and tell some messages, but the human-buttons are just working to drive people to another pages. The buttons are able and will function well without any picture of human beings on them, maybe better with just text like “click here to donate” or “make donation” so why the use text and human face together? I’m against the human-buttons not using pictures to describe some situation, I my self use pictures. These human-buttons must be removed and replace by buttons with text only. I hope you’ll send your opinion to the UNHCR and I hope they’ll reply to you as I did.
I like to publish your message on my blog http://unhcr.blogspot.com with your permission.
Thank you very much and I hope to hear from you soon.
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 23:22:49 +0300 (EEST)
Subject: Re: My opinion
Thank you for your reply! You can post my email to your blog.
"My campaign isn't about using pictures of
refugees, but it's against using them as human-buttons."
I didn't realize this before. If I understand right, you don't want the
pictures to be affiliated with collecting money? Still, I have to say that I
don't understand what is wrong with it. I don't even see it very different
to have pictures on site that shows the bad situation, and then have the
same pictures in the buttons that ask for donations. They both lead to the
same; people getting interested and hopefully helping. Then again, Im not a
refugee myself (but trying hard to understand your viewpoint!). When people
see the person they are giving the money (of course not the exact person in
the picture) and not just a faceless organisation that does something
somewhere, they'll do it more gladly. For a lot of people giving the money
is a thing they can easily do. Sure the money doesn't solve all the
problems, but it helps, right?
PS. I read other peoples opinions from your blog, and one of them said he
doesn't like the way you use Yahoo Groups as posting channels.. I don't like
it either. I think it is in conflict with "I thought the people in the west
respect the law, as they're civilized!" and you talking about democracy in
general. Maybe you didn't know that spamming in most countries is illegal
Re: My opinion
I’ll post your message on my blog when it reaches its turn; I have lots of messages waiting to be published on the blog. I’m happy to explain more about my campaign.
“you don't want the pictures to be affiliated with collecting money” yes exactly because they abusing our humanity and deceiving people and that harm our case. It’s complicated to explain that but I’ll try to explain with simple words. Did you try before in your life to borrow some money from some one or from a bank? Let speak that you want to borrow money from a bank and above the interest the employer in the bank ask you to kiss his hand or to serve him by some way, will you agree on that? You have the right to have the loan if you give them guaranty and to pay interest but nothing more if they’ll ask for some thing more like doing them some favor, for example asking you for date or bribe. This is abuse for rights, isn’t it? Let us now return to our case, the community created the UNHCR as coordinator for the efforts of the community to solve the problems of the refugees. UNHCR has limited mandate and very clear jobs, no body asked the UNHCR to raise money to help the refugees. The governments and the UN have the responsibly to finance the UNHCR and it doesn’t have the right to ask for money publicly without approval of the UN general assembly.
UNHCR according the UN51 convention doesn’t have the right to work individually but it must do with partners like governments and other organizations. UNHCR isn’t NGO (not government organization) it represent many governments (more than hundreds) from this point when the UNHCR asking for donation actually by substitution the governments whom asking for donations because UNHCR is representing the governments. To understand this point, try to imagine that you’re working for company and you need a PC to do your work and your boss didn’t buy you a PC so you bought it from your own money!
At refugee day I discussed this point with point with Daniel Alkhal the protection officer of the UNHCR in Lebanon, he told me that UNHCR need long time to have money from the governments because of the bureaucracy and they need to provide lots of paper to have some money! Of cores they need to provide documents to have the money, I understand that they prefer to have money by using human-buttons than asking the governments, yes they doing the easy thing for them. The truth is the governments finance programs and don’t give the money to the UNHCR directly.
Using human-buttons by the UNHCR to collect money deviates the attention from our real problems. I spoke in details about that in my ebook ‘refugees farm’. If the UNHCR needs money so they must ask the governments if they really care about refugees not only themselves. At any way they start to remove the human-buttons and replaced some of them with new buttons without faces of humans and this sis the first step. I have new campaign and when they will change all the human-buttons I’ll start new campaign, I’ll not stop till they’ll give up all of their bad polices.
I’ll speak about your 2d point: “Maybe you didn't know that spamming in most countries is illegal too?”
We’re also civilized and we respect the law if it our law and it came with our democratic ways and unfortunately we don’t have any yet! I did studies to understand about Spam and I found that posting in yahoo groups doesn’t consider Spam because one point: Any email received from add-on list isn’t Spam. You asked yahoo to send you emails from their groups because you’re member in their groups and I didn’t post to your emails, I even don’t know to whom yahoo will send my message when I post into the groups that I’m member in. I feel the Spam became like terrorism, everyone have it’s own definition!
I hope you’ll contact me again and to continue this discussion, tell me please did you contact the UNHCR? I think they have the right to defend themselves and tell us what they think!
Thank you very much and I hope to hear from you soon.
Peace upon you.