I have chosen to publish this letter which in truth is a comment left by a former operator Intersis (so he signs) on the article “Mission di Rai1: l’ONG Intersos avrebbe compiuto un illecito” . The former aid worker seems to have done his service in those lands where today are showing the episodes of Mission that in Italy, perhaps, we will see in December and it would seem that he has much to say about it. Then invite the parties to dialogue in order to improve the format so that, in his opinion, (we‘re sure), it may not be effective for NGOs and a much more serious might not be for the refugees are the background of their own daily life and the respect of thousands of aid workers who carry out their job every day with dedication and sacrifice.
Opportunity to all
The mobilization of media that is in progress now in Italy for the closure of a program somewhat questionable proposed by RAI, UNHCR and INTERSOS, does inflame a debate ethical / political on cooperation and humanitarian emergencies. In a summer Italian politics still immersed in discussing the problems of Berlusconi, this complaint offers the possibility to launch a debate so unexpected a few days ago, but rather necessary for Italy and the nonprofit sector.
Intersos is, for who not from the sector, a humanitarian organization that works in emergency situations and is at the forefront for over 20 years. Founded by Nino Sergi, a former trade union CGIL, in reply to the devastation created by the war in Somalia in 1992, Intersos has become over the years one of the most important and influential humanitarian actors both in Italy and abroad. Is attested precisely the partnership consolidated with UNHCR for years, its largest lender in emergency projects on the ground from Afghanistan to South Sudan, Mauritania to Yemen through the Congo, Haiti, Iraq and Pakistan. The NGO plays an important role in countries where are working closely with the local population and in constant collaboration with the authorities and governments. All this is made possible thanks to the professionalism, commitment and skills of its employees in the field. There are hundreds of staff members Intersos among expats and locals and thousands of Italians in our country as well as abroad, operating in contexts of poverty, conflict or post-conflict. They are daily engaged for the respect of human rights in the fight against illegality, sharing in the sufferings and privations of every kind, in cooperation to develop fair and equitable. People that do not appear in newspapers, television programs or advertising are not VIP, princes and valleys, but ordinary people: mothers, young graduates, fathers, priests and nuns, professionals and volunteers, who each day with determination and passion to contribute to the promotion the principles of solidarity and respect for fundamental human rights.
The words of Marco Rotelli, Intersos general secretary: “The cause it seemed more important than the risks of such an operation” should lead us to a double reflection.
On the one side the operational difficulties of Italian NGOs in the field of cooperation and humanitarian aid regarding access to the funds and on the other, a need to draw up an ethical code for information and communication shared by NGOs and actors Nonprofit .The deep economic crisis, the lack of commitment of Italy in this area and the lack of private donations, forces it seems Intersos to a sometimes Machiavellian modus operandi according to which “… the end justifies the means“. My opinion is that this is not only detrimental to the dignity of refugees – involved and not consulted – but justifies a form of communication based on a macabre voyeurism for the purpose of fundraising end in itself and not raising the awareness of Italian TV viewers on extreme conditions and of these vulnerable populations.
The serious risk of involvement of VIP and TV personalities recruited by the Italian scene, is to bring less value to the professionalism and commitment of workers, organizations and the whole sector. The episode “0” South Sudan has demonstrated and documented not only on Grand Hotel, but also on Novella 2000 and more, not just the newspapers involved in the humanitarian field. Do not hide ourselves behind fig leaves when they say that Michele Cucuzza is not the testimonial of the organization, photographed in the aforesaid services with the shirt of Intersos.
The debate in August of 2012 was warm inside the collaborators Intersos during those days of shooting carried out in the base of Yambio, South Sudan. The disapproval was unanimous for the characteristics and the protagonists of this service and the dynamics by which took place on the field (perhaps better not forget to further inflame the discussion). Of course nothing has been donethe Head Office of Rome had decided regardless of the opinion of his colleagues than in the country live there and work there every day very closely with the local population and in support of an country that independent still has very little. To think back to this format “The Mission”, scheduled for next December, it should be an act of maturity on the part of Intersos, one of the Italian actors present in emergency situations in the world.
I believe for this appropriate and urgent proposal launched by African Voices to open a constructive discussion, a round table that includes the NGO world and add, the political world. Schedule a communication campaign in a RAI palimpsest, which is not only a spot of charity, it is a necessity that operators and Italian organizations involved in the development cooperation and humanitarian emergencies requires a loud voice. We not turn this event into a war among the poor, but we exploit the interest that has been created because in Italy we can start talking about this sector and its potential for economic and cultural growth internally and externally, as witnessed by Lapo Pistilli in his interview a few months ago on La7 (Italian opinion political).
Open a real process of change that will lead to the reorganization of the General Management for Development Cooperation, DGCS, within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we recognize the role that thousands of aid workers held daily in the fight against poverty and in conflict zones. It ‘now time to take consider this sector not more as a burden or an act of charity on the part of Italian politics.
A former Intersos operator