Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Assigned Haitian

One at a time.
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The linked article describes the perils of a dog lost at sea and the immense public support for the huge expenditures required to finally rescue it. The author contrasts the intense sentiments people feel for a troubled individual (dog or human) with those we feel for nameless suffering people counted in hundreds, thousands or more.

I propose that the intense sentiment attached to individuals in trouble could be harnessed for the benefit of those individuals by assigning an individual Haitian to each US citizen. This would be by phone book name and address. There are more US citizens than Haitians but each Haitian would not go to more than one citizen because then citizens would not feel individual responsibility. Some citizens would get no Haitians and would be assigned a suffering human in the next catastrophe or from some other lower profile ongoing one.

The web makes these logistics easier and administrative costs cheaper. All would be public and listed. Individuals would find that they had been assigned a Haitian by checking the website, or by acquaintances that check the website and notify them. One could imagine these acquaintances asking the assigned person from time to time how their Haitian was doing. The assignment is irrevocable. Actions on behalf of Haitian taken by the assigned citizen or by his/her friends and relatives would be listed. Ongoing suffering (or not) of Haitian in question would be described. The Haitian might send a card or letter of thanks as he or she sees fit.

One problem is that I am not sure how individual Haitians are tracked. I have a suspicion they may not be. This can be addressed in an ad hoc manner.

I am aware that people in other countries may have the resources to be charitable, if sufficiently provoked. This scheme could be expanded to include such.

bungston, Feb 22 2010

Little dog lost at sea. http://www.theweek....tle_dog_lost_at_sea
[bungston, Feb 22 2010]

[link]






       Interesting. Charities like Actionaid have been using this emotional bond to drive one-to-one giving via "Sponsor-a-child" campaigns and the like. They are very successful in some ways but are better at providing schoolbooks and clothes than infrastructure.   

       I notice you have deliberately avoided any one-to-one giving mechanism, which is sensible as infrastructure is what Haiti really needs more than anything right now.   

       However, that introduces the problem of how frustrating it is not to be able to directly help your man (/woman) in Haiti. Maybe that's not a problem. Maybe that's just bringing reality home, but it won't be popular.   

       I'll have to think about this - bun pending.
wagster, Feb 22 2010
  

       Would there be a concomitant mechanism for inflicting more suffering on the individual, for instance having a group of unemployed taxi drives come round and beat on the designated person with wet towels, or have someone sneak into their residence at night and smear hair removing cream over their entire body, or shave the right-hand half of each eyebrow ?   

       If so, we will bestow a bun, and extra baked goods if the service is extended outside disaster areas ...
8th of 7, Feb 22 2010
  

       How did American's get tapped for this?
phoenix, Feb 24 2010
  

       If we did it with the Welsh, each one would have to help three Haitians.
bungston, Feb 24 2010
  

       What if we did it with Isle of Wighters.
ye_river_xiv, Feb 24 2010
  

       The Isle of Wight does not seem very densely populated. Perhaps a contingent of homeless haitians might homestead there and receive UK citizenship in exchange for their efforts to improve the land.
bungston, Feb 24 2010
  

       [bungston], don't talk nonsense, it is impossible to improve upon perfection
pocmloc, Feb 24 2010
  

       I want my Haitian now please. +
Mustardface, Feb 25 2010
  

       I want my Haitian now please. +
Mustardface, Feb 25 2010
  

       [Mustardface], I bet you never thought you would ever say that, in public, on-line, without a world wide incident happening, now would you?
blissmiss, Feb 25 2010
  
      
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