Thursday, January 12, 2006

Burn those little orange UNICEF boxes. Burn them!

Okay, perhaps I go a little over the top when the orange UNICEF boxes come home in my kid's backpacks. They are sent home every year right before Halloween. My children have to sit through a propaganda session about the glories of UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) and then they're sent forth, little faces glowing, to collect money for the children.

Instead, we roast the boxes on marshmallow sticks over our chimea, a nifty Mexican clay grill. I love our chimea and never more than when I can give my children a valuable lesson in propaganda versus truth, a lesson in what "feels good" as opposed to "what is right."

The UNICEF organization is such a great idea. Helping the world's children, who could be against that? Yet the UN, the organization that runs UNICEF, killed a lot of Iraqi kids while they were taking kickbacks from Saddam Hussein in the UN's Oil for Food program. Then there is the horrible child-rapes that UN workers have regularly engaged in. The story is here, but don't go read it if you want to feel good. It makes you feel horrible.

I don't describe the UN scandals to my kids. We cheerfully roast those orange boxes into ash while I explain that the UN people take their money and spend most of it on parties and limos and balloons and cakes, and then only give a tiny little bit to the poor kids who need the money so badly. So we give our charity money to Christian organizations like Covenant House in New York, who take in homeless kids and give them warmth, shelter, food and hope. If you want to donate some small amount the website is here. (This place and these stories will make you feel good.)

I write this today because the UN Oil for Food scandals seem to be breaking into the mainstream. No matter what, my long-suffering kids will have to sit through another UNICEF propaganda piece next year. But in our family they'll come home, smiles on their faces, knowing that they get to light a fire!


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