I was Squidooing around over the weekend and came across a not-very-good lens promoting some kind of affiliate marketing product. The lens made essentially no impact at all, since it was just a series of pleas to click through to something I believe will offer little value for too much money.
At the end of the lens was one of those photo-and-caption montages that gets emailed around, this one in support of the U.S. armed forces.
One of the photos was of a man in civilian clothes, my guess would be in the streets of Baghdad, carrying an unconscious child whose feet had been blown off.
One, you may not, ever, use a photo of a maimed child to sell anything other than a remedy to help that child or children like her. The fact that it won’t work is completely beside the point.
It’s wrong. There’s not really any other way to put it.
The other thing is, as usual when I run across something like this, I couldn’t sleep after seeing her picture. I don’t have the first idea how to stop children from being maimed and murdered in Baghdad or Sierra Leone or Darfur.
But I do know one way to help alleviate the suffering of some children who need help. www.smiletrain.org trains doctors in poor countries to perform cleft palate surgery on children whose families cannot afford it. Without the surgery, these children face hunger (many cannot eat well, and babies can die because they are unable to suck) and, maybe worse, extreme social isolation. Many are abandoned by their parents. They form few or no human bonds. There is no more horrible fate for a child.
Smiletrain will solve that problem for one human being for $250. If $250 is a lot of money (of course it is), any contribution at all will help pay for things like equipment, training, and anesthesia.
I donate 10% of my income income to Smiletrain and charities like it, and I can recommend this practice highly. On days when you see no point at all to what you do, you can look back and count the number of children’s lives you have saved. Words rarely fail me, but I have none to describe this emotion to you.
We are not powerless, even when it feels like we are. There is something you can do today to alleviate someone’s suffering. It doesn’t have to be this suggestion, but something. A contribution, an action, some words that need to be said. Please go do it now.