Steve Cisler on Thu, 19 Sep 2002 17:36:14 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Re: USG exports surplus dotcommies

Ted Byfield's subject line is one way to look at what is happening with
the Peace Corps. The US exports old computers, out-dated pharmaceuticals,
and young tech workers who failed to find work after the bubble burst.

As a former volunteer in Togo (where the same dictator is in power as when
I was there in 1967!) the Peace Corps has always attracted people with
different motives.  Some wanted adventure, to escape the military service
(I was also a Viet era veteran), to live in another culture, and of course
to help others. The woman in the article who seeks a simpler life than an
Internet startup here in Silicon Valley will probably find Honduras much
more complex from a cultural and logistical standpoint than the Internet

I recently attended the 40th+1 anniversary of the Peace Corps in
Washington, DC.  Most of those attending were old-timers who served in the
60's and 70's.  A number of members of Congress are Peace Corps
Volunteers, and they spoke about the drive to expand the Peace Corps.  
While those present were enthusiastic about that, every one was insistent
that this program be kept separate from other three letter federal
agencies that are also working in the same countries, especially with the
anti-terrorism efforts conducted by the FBI, CIA, military, and probably
the Drug Enforcement Agency.  This is very difficult because all US Govt.
workers get lumped together, unless people really know you and why you are
living in a particular village or barrio.

One of the motivations for the expansion is based on the idea that PC
Volunteers can help people get to know the real America.

The final bill includes this language:

"There is a deep misunderstanding and misinformation about American values
in many parts of the world, particularly those with substantial Muslim
populations, and a greater Peace Corps presence in those places could
foster great understanding and tolerance of those countries."

The current foreign policies of the Bush regime will certainly make that
very difficult, should this expansion take place.

Steve Cisler
4415 Tilbury Drive
San Jose, Callifornia 95130
"Go on the country, not on the map."
-Axle in Tim Winton's "Dirt Music"

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