“Love Army” is on its way to winning its bet. In two days, the initiative launched by several stars, including Omar Sy and “influencer” Jérôme Jarre collected an impressive amount of nearly 1.5 million dollars in donations to help the Rohingya. This campaign on social networks, made in record time, aims to provide humanitarian aid to refugees and raise awareness of the situation of this persecuted Muslim minority in Burma.
“This is the strike force on social networks. Although we, this mobilization is very fast, with such a significant fundraising, we are shocked,” said Françoise Sivignon, president of Doctors of the World, who was interviewed in Europe 1. If his initiative in the “Love Army” is welcomed, it will not fail to be questioned, especially in the delivery of local food and basic necessities.
—Omar Sy (@OmarSy) November 27, 2017
- How can they provide assistance?
In their message, posted on the Gofundme.com crowdfunding platform, “Love Army” assured that they want to donate “100% of donations” to Rohinghya refugees to meet the most urgent needs like food, drinking water and basic needs. Organizers added to work with “local volunteers”, without going through traditional humanitarian NGOs. “At first, we retweeted their first message who did not receive a response to our request. What we observed was that they did not want to call NGOs. They want to keep a direct distribution system, ”Françoise Sivignon said.
This system of aid delivery, other than “classic” circuits, asked the president of Doctors of the World. “I was there a month ago, the situation is very complicated from a health and organizational point of view. We hope they are successful, but they have to find distribution professionals. I don’t have any. ideas on how they can use these donations ”, asked François Sivignon. We tried to get details from several members of the “Love Army”, including Omar Sy, Jérôme Jarre and DJ Snake, with no response from them.
Jérôme Jarre was not yet on his first attempt. The star net was able to raise two million dollars for Somalia, and then brought in several hundred tons of food thanks to a cargo plane chartered by Turkish Airlines. An article on Slate.fr, titled “The Marketing of Innocence” criticized the lack of professionalism in the initiative, to which Jérôme Jarre himself responded. “We haven’t” sent rice to Somalia. “We know that food aid is sent through Turkish Airlines and it is distributed to locals. But there is not much information on delivery”, Françoise Sivignon explained.
- Are NGOs on site?
The “Love Army”, however, did not come to virgin territory. In Bangladesh, a country bordering Burma where more than 620,000 Rohingya have fled in just three months, NGOs are in the majority. “It’s a state full of NGOs from all over the world, mostly North American and European. It’s a country that is accustomed to welcoming NGOs,” said Olivier Guillard, director of Asian research at Iris (Institute of International and Strategic Relations) and connoisseur of Burma.
“In crisis situations, coordination is needed between local authorities and NGOs, who have cared for people for many years and know the land, as well as international NGOs,” Françoise Sivignon said. “These are the movements we need to include in our reflections, to figure out how to coordinate with them. We look at them with kindness, but we wonder how they can be involved in the humanitarian sector.”
- Why appeal to Erdogan?
The “Love Army” message, however, was shattered by a direct appeal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “We are asking for the help of the President of Turkey,” Jérôme Jarre wrote on Tuesday morning, with the hashtag #ErdoganHelpRohingya. A few hours later, the head of state responded to him on Twitter. “Dear Jérôme Jarre, we have never refused a request for help. We will support the efforts” of the Love Army. The president of Turkey is indeed a staunch defender of this Muslim minority. In August, he denounced a “genocide”, adding “those who close their eyes under the cover of democracy are its comrades”.
dear @Jerome Jarre,
We never turn down requests for help – wherever people are in need.
– Recep Tayyip Erdogan (@RT_Erdoğan) November 28, 2017
Except that Erdogan, who has been criticized for his authoritarian turn, is engaged in a fierce struggle against part of the Kurdish minority. “An appeal was made by Erdogan and that raises questions. The fundamental rights of the people are not respected and opponents are imprisoned in Turkey. The appeal of such a controversial head of state is problematic. Neutrality vis-à-vis -vis to distribute this aid “, thought Françoise Sivignon. However, the initiative was welcomed by the president of Doctors of the World. “It’s always good to focus on this crisis”.