Via US Embassy Uganda/Flickr (reader submitted):
Here’s our imagined conversation on this one:
U.S. official in white shirt: I’m going to pin this U.S. Flag on you.
Karamajong girl: Why?
U.S. official in white shirt: Because it’ll look good on you.
Karamajong girl: Okay, if you must. Is this something my sister and I can eat later?
U.S. official in white shirt: Um, no, this is an American flag pin, a decoration for your dress.
Karamajong girl: A decoration for my dress, yipee… but I have no shoes…
We really hate/hate this photo of a tiny barefoot girl carrying a baby on her back, tolerating a U.S. official pinning a U.S. flag on her. Is this supposed to be an example of our people to people diplomacy in Africa? What are we doing pinning American flags on kids?
We have seen tons of photos posted by our embassies on Flickr and FB but this is one of the few that makes us really want to puke.
Your blog makes me want to puke.
George dahling, go ahead and puke, just not on my blogmat, after all no one is holding a gun to your head and forced you to visit.
Get over it. Where is the rest of the world? I guarantee the US does more for foreign countries than any other country in the world.
Oh, I’m over it because — are you sure about your guarantee? According to the latest ranking of countries that give the most foreign aid, the United States give 0.19 % of GDP to foreign aid, the last on the list of 21 countries. Sweden, ranked #1 give 0.99 % of GDP to aid. In fact the American public polled not long ago thought that we give 20% to foreign aid (and folks are always up in arms about foreign aid), when in fact we give less than half of one percent of our GDP to aid.
That said, I did not mean to imply that this official should have provided these kids eggs, shoes or something; I’m sure there are plenty of NGOs in Africa who have this job. But if all that she is able to give is a flag pin, they could have left the camera alone. I cannot, for the life of me understand the intent of this photo. Why take it? Why post it? How is this instructive about our foreign policy in Africa? It’s up there with slum tour pics. That’s what I don’t get.
Why any PAO in their right mind would a) take this photo, and then b) submit it as some kind of positive message about US activities anywhere just boggles my mind.
Boggles, true. It’s almost as if they’re taking a photo for a personal album, but they’re not. PAO folks are almost always mindful of what they say, that they not be understood, that they convey the intended message, but for some reason, some do not apply the same mindfulness when it comes to official photographs.
*American flag pin Made in China
Would not be surprised if the pin is Made in China. A lot of US flags are made in China, a $3.5 million business.