Dear Brian/Western Union,
Thank you for your message, and thank you for liking my blog.
While I appreciate your 50% offer that I will no doubt call to collect as soon as we have the first batch of donations to be sent to the Red Cross in Jos, I am writing to express a profound disappointment at your polite response. And while as a private organization you reserve the right of refusal to any proposal that doesn’t bring immediate financial returns or perhaps a photo opportunity with the likes of Wyclef Jean 🙁 , let this be an expression of my consumer’s right of anger and disgust at your nonchalance and insensitivity to a humanitarian cause in a crisis ridden area of a country where you have at least one hundred and forty million potential customers/money receivers.
Listen to it again: a hundred and forty million people live in that country, and over half a million people alone in the region of the country where your help is now urgently needed. Do you care if that number falls into a new category of disenchanted customers who think that Western Union is just another private moneybag organization that cares about people only in times of peace, prosperity and security but desert them in their time of need? Forget the pens and air fresheners that we currently get on receiving money from abroad. I don’t care for those. RIGHT NOW, the people of Jos need support, and as small a step as it is, allowing people to be able to send money to them free of charge from abroad even for a limited period of time already solves half of the problem.
Did you see the pictures of the dead and the wounded women and children from the January and the March crises, or should I send them to you? Believe me, they are not pretty. If you have ever appreciated the value of life, you should be moved for humanity’s sake. More so Nigeria, and the city of Jos, are some of the places in the world where you have agencies and where you have made profit for several years. I myself have received money transfers while I lived in Jos in 2005, so here we are, not pleading as much as calling you to live up to expectation of a socially conscious organization responding to a community of loyal customers in times of need. Believe me, this will be your pleasure as much as the people which you help. And what’s more, you would be doing something right.
As per your concern with language, it is as much a humanitarian crisis as it is a man-made one. I agree, but who are you to judge when people are most in need? Is the child loss in Haiti or Chile from a shifting earth and collapsing rubble any less painful than a child loss in Jos from a sharpened machete and fire? Did your agencies in Jos Plateau not close down for days on account of the massacres? Can you, by lexical classification of causes of disasters thus, measure the pain and the need of the people who have lost houses, limbs, relatives and properties, and to whom every hand of help stretched forward at this moment is another great step towards recovery? CAN YOU QUANTIFY LOSS, OR PAIN, IN WORDS SUCH AS HUMAN OR NATURAL? In my first letters to you, I tried to avoid putting the responsibility of response on your conscience because, indeed, it is a man-made disaster – a result of hate and intolerance for which some misguided compatriots are complicit. But so was the genocide in Rwanda as well as the Jewish holocaust in Europe. I put it on you now because I would hate to think that, if given the chance to help wounded survivors of either crisis in 1994 or in 1944, you would have turned your back as you now do with a polite email response and a one-off discount. The world, I thought, has moved on from days of a blind eye, insensitivity, and a thick-skinned shrug of “Well, let them deal with it. They’ll come back and patronize us again sooner or later.” Am I wrong?
I therefore thank you for your 50% one-off provision which – as I said – I will be calling to redeem. But until you respond more favourably, we will keep writing messages on your Facebook wall and sending you tweets every morning to you to make money transfer free for a limited time to Jos. Sorry Brian, but we just won’t let you off this easily. Western Union is too big a name in this business to bail out on 510,000 people (the current population of Jos) when they need you. And this little effort on your part will not kill you. I promise.
One day when you come over to Nigeria, I might take you on a little trip in Jos to see the sites 😉 but until then, let me await your response with my last remaining optimism.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]To Western Union,