November 1, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: A Brutal World? By RPCV K Rosenberg

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: October 26, 2003: Dayton Daily News reports on Peace Corps Safety and Security: What RPCVs say about this Series on other Message Boards: November 1, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: A Brutal World? By RPCV K Rosenberg

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Saturday, November 01, 2003 - 1:16 pm: Edit Post

A Brutal World? By RPCV K Rosenberg

A Brutal World? By RPCV K Rosenberg

A Brutal World? By K Rosenberg

Peace Corps Volunteers who have suffered robbery, assault, rape and worse deserve to have their story told. The Peace Corps owes its Volunteers the very best of its efforts to prepare them for their service and to keep them safe while they are in service. And if something happens, the Peace Corps owes families and friends full and transparent disclosure.

On these points, I fully agree.

I do take strong issue however with some overall themes and messages from your articles.

Foremost, six days into the voluminous piece, and I can barely recall any references to host country nationals as decent people. Men from anywhere-outside-the-United-States are portrayed as little more than predators lying in wait...and I can barely recall reading anything about women from the countries in which the Peace Corps serves.

Through its editorial angle, the Dayton Daily News is perpetuating the notion that we (as Americans) should venture outside the borders of our nation at our own peril: that we are safe only within the confines of the U.S.

More broadly, that the 42 years and 170,000 Volunteers that have embarked on their Peace Corps service have been little more than a waste of time, or as you have put it, a footnote to American Foreign Policy: unskilled, unwelcome and unsafe. It's too bad that this is / has become the editorial opinion of the Dayton Daily News.

The tone of most of the articles mirrors our nationís post 911 regression into isolationism. Requesting that Congress and the President investigate the Peace Corps while the nation under their leadership moves into an intractable and ill-conceived military situation in Iraq (where, by my calculations, seven months of the war is coming in with a bill higher than the 42 years of the Peace Corps worldwide and a roughly equal US mortality rate) seems like the ill-choosing of a jury.

As the son of Volunteers (and one who spent two childhood years in Kenya), a Peace Corps Gabon, Oyem-based Volunteer for three years, a trainer in Gabon and Cameroon, and since, an aid worker in Angola and Haiti, I feel the articles take a too narrow view of this institution that in its history has offered a sadly rare positive model of what the United States can be in the world: the source of compassion, brotherhood and good works.

Volunteers do deserve the best. They are making a sacrifice. The Peace Corps is obligated to do the best that it can for its Volunteers. Yet, Volunteers cannot be guaranteed safe passage, no matter what changes the Peace Corps makes. The mission they are undertaking is real life, not an adventure.

Your articles fail to note how much we as Volunteers have received from those we come to serve: the humanity, the patience, the caring and the love. According to the Dayton Daily News, the people we have come to serve are either a footnote or the villains in all of your articles.

The only conclusion of what should be done with the agency that can be reached -- unless I am missing something -- is that Peace Corps and its unskilled, unwanted and unsafe Volunteers should be scrapped. This conclusion does a disservice to all the 170,000 Volunteers, especially those that have made the ultimate sacrifice in their service.


Karl Rosenberg,

Kenya (70-72); Gabon (92-95, 97, 98); Cameroon (98)

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Story Source: Dayton Daily News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Investigative Journalism; COS - Kenya; COS - Gabon; COS Cameroon



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