22 November 2010

I facepalm more by 9 AM than most people facepalm all day...

Photo from Camilla Fuhr's "In the Sandbox"
By the time I had my second cup of coffee, I'd had enough facepalm for the week. 

According to multiple sources (New York Times, Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN) Mark Sedwill, the former British Ambassador to Afghanistan and the NATO's ranking civilian advisor to Afghanistan has reported that children in Kabul are safer than in London, Glasgow, or New York.

I first received the link from exasperated Afghanitan experts somewhere around 8:30 this morning.  Camilla Fuhr, a freelance journalist who has traveled extensively with NATO troops in Afghanistan, summed it up best with three characters in her Twitter feed, "WTF".  Camilla's response beat out Kabul-based blogger Una Moore's "Um, no" and Michael Yon's "Things that make you go 'hmmmm'". 
Children may be safer growing up in Kabul than they are in London, Glasgow or New York, a Nato official has said.  Mark Sedwill said the Afghan capital, as a "city of villages", was better for youngsters than many Western cities, despite dangers posed by the conflict.  The senior civilian representative told CBBC's Newsround: "Most children can go about their lives in safety."
Don't believe the press?  Listen for yourself.  (Thanks, Ian)

Sedwill's comments are even more bizarre when comparing them to statements later in his speech, such as:
In Kabul and the other big cities actually there are very few of these bombs. The children are probably safer here than they would be in London, New York or Glasgow or many other cities.
So, aside from the trivial matter of bombs, then, Kabul is completely safe.  Thanks for clearing that up.  We should also exclude other trivial matters as high child mortality rates (largely due to preventable diseases), gun battles, and the occasional Taliban who decides to throw sulfuric acid in the faces of girls attending school.  That's just in Kabul alone, mind you.  This is what happens when we surround ourselves with concrete walls and build a Baghdad-style Green Zone in Kabul.  Public diplomacy FAIL.

(By the way, some cool dude said this was a bad idea about two years ago)


Deskibel said...

I'm really surprised that it got taken out of context. That interview was for Children's BBC's Newsround. The headlining story was probably about Harry Potter.

It's not exactly an NATO official statement.. just kids' TV.

Eric C said...

I'll lump this in with the commenter on this week's Intelligence Squared show who claimed Washington DC was more dangerous than Afghanistan.

Yeah, if 1 in 5 children doesn't live to the age of five, and the avg. life expectancy is 44, it isn't safer. Obviously. We've got a post on this coming thanks for the heads up.