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Fact of the Week

Fact of the Week

The White House and Red Cross have together trumpeted the supposed success of their Fund for Afghan Children. (See our previous comments on the Fund, here.) The first shipment of goods included 1,658 jackets, 1,500 tents, and 10,000 gift parcels that included such vital foods as nuts, raisins, fig bars and Starburst candy. The Red Cross and the White House justified all the sweets by explaining that they are an important part of the daily breaking of the Ramadan fast.

But the 9 December shipment comes with only one week left in Ramadan. And the Starburst candy that plays such a big role in the parcel is a gelatin candy made with beef by-products. No devout Muslim would eat it, because it is not halal.

By contrast, UNICEF has concentrated on providing immunizations, nutritional supplements, medicine, and clean water to Afghan children. UNICEF collected $4 million in its annual Hallowe'en appeal in the United States: all of this money is going to these programs in Afghanistan. Already, UNICEF has coordinated 25 airlifts and 50 convoys of supplies into Afghanistan, all without the benefit of a Presidential press conference.

Sources: White House press release, 8 December 2001;
Red Cross press release, 3 December 2001;
UNICEF website.

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