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A few (sour) views on the NYT’s celebration of Sean Penn, Haiti relief worker

Sean Penn

For those of you who read the NYTimes magazine story about Sean Penn’s relief work in Haiti, here are a few thoughts on this high-profile DIY foreign aid operation from Tom Murphy at A View From The Cave:

It is good to hear Penn admit that he had no idea what he was doing for the first six months. However, that means that he could have been making things worse (emphasis on could)…. He was never going to work as a part of a traditional NGO and the article makes it seem that he would not have been effective if he had done so.

The NYTimes magazine claims that Penn’s operation is widely recognized as “one of the most efficient aid outfits working in Haiti today.” The article quotes a few key supporters, but I was left wondering if this was a characterization shared by the rest of the international relief community — or just the writer’s assessment.

I thought this little throw-away sentence interesting:

Penn sometimes carries a Glock, but the fire extinguisher, he claims, is a far more efficient tool for crowd control.

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