It was Jan who, earlier last week at a press conference, threw an elbow at unnamed rich countries for being stingy about foreign assistance in general. For an encore yesterday, he went into the belly of the anti-UN beast, Fox News Sunday. Host Chris Wallace tried to grill Egeland, reading off of White House talking points that the US shouldnt be called stingy if government aid is low because private giving is high.
And Egeland calmly, if inelegantly, shredded that argument:
WALLACE: ...there are also studies that show that the average American private contribution is seven or eight times what the average contribution is among...German citizens or French citizens. So if people decide...that they would rather give money privately, and in fact there are some indications that it's more efficient to give it privately, what's the difference?
EGELAND: It's the very same thing to give privately or to give through the governments. I have [for] most of my life been in private organizations and administering private charity. I've seen in the Red Cross how effective that is. However, it's very important also to have the public, especially, the public sector contributing...for the neglected and forgotten emergencies that never get attention.
In eastern Congo, 1,000 people die every day because of us not having enough resources to feed, to reach the populations. The Congo doesn't get attention. We therefore also need the public sector...
Yes, Americans will respond when tragedy makes the headlines. But they cant respond to tragedies they dont hear about.