Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Open Letter to the U.S. Government

Dear U.S. Government,

I was quite distressed to learn that in addition to the unfortunate passing of Victoria DeLong, three “obviously, they’re not government employees” (according to Assistant Secretary Philip J. Crowley) also died in Haiti.

I don’t know anything about these people, in part because you haven’t released their identities. I hope this is because you still are contacting family members, but when this task is complete—if it isn’t already—then I urge you to let us learn more about the three “dependents” (Crowley again).

I don't know who these people were, but I feel a slight connection. They've been through what I'm going through, and some day, I'll experience what they've experienced as an American expatriate.

You shared the identity of Ms. DeLong, and The Washington Post wrote a wonderful article detailing her life as a foreign service officer.

It would be nice to share with the American public that while the FSOs are doing their jobs representing the United States in foreign countries, many of them do so with their families. Instead, you strung together this beautiful bit of prose: “Yeah, they’re part of the official – they were there in an official status as accompanying family members in Haiti…But they’re not – obviously, they’re not U.S. employees.”

Suddenly EF’M doesn’t seem so tongue-in-cheek. (This is Crowley below, and so far, I don't like him very much.)

Let’s be clear, Crowley, while we do not receive paychecks from the government, we are (or will be, as the case pertains to me) representing the United States as well.

In fact, the day after your impersonal references to the additional paperwork that travels with your FSOs, Hillary Clinton said, “We know that when we send someone to serve in a post overseas, the family serves, whether the family accompanies the officer or stays behind. We know that there is a family that is involved in most cases.”

Let’s up those are not just words, and a good place to start would be to tell the stories of the three Americans who died serving their country in Haiti.

I guess I misread one of Clinton's remarks, and the State Department did identify the three EFMs as Andrew Wyllie's wife Laurence and his two young sons Evan and Baptiste. The way the statement was worded, I thought he was employed with the United Nations, and while tragically losing his family, I worried there still were three more EFMs the government had not identified. Here is an article from The Newport Daily Express and another that shares some about the family. Regardless, I still was upset with Crowley's choice of words, which is why I decided to leave this post up.

No comments:

Post a Comment