line of fire.

The politics of international aid agencies are complicated. At least within my circles, folks debate the merits of outside intervention (on principle) and then all the planning strategies that issue from (largely Western) bureaucracies, including how well suited they are to actually helping the constituency they serve. (There’s also a question of constituencies–are they there so the “first world” sleeps comfortably at night? To advance Empire missions of same?) However much I sympathize with many critiques of the Red Cross, MSF, Kiva, the various UN agencies, and etc., I’m often glad they exist, because they’re often the only ones in the shit, trying to help out. All that said, I do think they deserve a little ribbing from time to time. In that spirit, I offer the following:

Imagine you are an aid worker, living in a community where “celebratory gunfire” or “happy gunfire” (the latter is apparently the Middle East’s favorite English term of reference) is a common occurance, and you wish to inform partner agencies about how to handle such a crisis. (The main concern, obvs., is with the effects of gravity on bullets.) [You ask me, I say this first step is a wholly unnecessary one because I’m comfortable with the evolutionary fact that people stupid enough to stand in a hail of bullets will be killed by them. But no, you are devoted to the good of men, women, and children, and your job compels you to write a policy for every possible contingency.] Here’s an abridged version of one real life version of such a policy:

  • Tell people in advance that thousands of bullets will be sent into the sky so that they can plan to protect themselves.
  • Stay inside, but under a good, thick roof, and not–and I’m quoting here: a “simple thin ironic roof” because “as we noted in the field hospital”, “some bullets do penetrate.” I blame Alanis Morisette for this sentence.
  • If you’re driving, park the car and go inside a store, house, or structure of some kind. This is especially true if you are (quoting again) “Fuel carrying truck drivers”, in which case you “should leave them and ran a way till shooting end.” Way, way away.

Finally, if you can,

“Only celebrate using none fire killing or harming games.” You have to admit, you rarely see “killing or harming” modifying “games.”



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