Tony Blair’s undeserved Save the Children award, update

This video from Britain says about itself:

26 November 2014

Should Save the Children charity have given Tony Blair its Global Legacy Award, ignoring his role in the Iraq war that slaughtered thousands of children and made millions more orphans? Former Blair advisor Matthew Doyle says yes. Stop the War‘s Chris Nineham says no. Broadcast on BBC radio.

From daily The Guardian in Britain, 26 November 2014:

More than 100,000 people have now signed an online petition against Blair’s award from the charity [Save the Children]’s US arm because of the former prime minister’s history of taking the UK to war in Iraq and his dealings with autocratic rulers.

Save the Children has also been criticised by hundreds of its own staff, who accused it of betraying its own values in an internal letter.

The row, revealed by the Guardian on Tuesday, escalated as the comedian Dom Joly tweeted that he was “‘pretty embarrassed” to be an ambassador for the charity if it was prepared to hand an award to Blair for his anti-poverty work.

“When @savechildrenUK gave an award to Tony Blair for his ‘anti-poverty work’ I can only assume they meant his own, personal poverty?” he added.

The row also reached the House of Commons when the Conservative backbencher Andrew Turner questioned whether Blair “should get a global legacy award from Save The Children for taking us to war unnecessarily in Iraq”. …

Save the Children UK’s chief executive, Justin Forsyth, worked for Blair on global poverty issues before being appointed to the charity, and Jonathan Powell, his former chief of staff and a former Brown aide, is on its board.

Save the Children’s director of global programmes, Fergus Drake, joined the charity in 2009 from Blair’s office in Rwanda, from where he advised president Paul Kagame.

Brendan Cox, the charity’s director of policy and advocacy, was a special adviser to Brown. …

Sir Alan Parker, who is the chairman of both Save the Children UK and the PR company Brunswick, is an associate of Blair’s, and helped to hire Forsyth as the charity’s chief executive in 2010.

Blair attend[ed] Parker’s wedding in 2008. …

The number of signatures to the internal letter, which describes giving the award to Blair as “morally reprehensible”, continued to grow, according to Save the Children insiders.

One staffer, currently in West Africa responding to the Ebola outbreak, said: “Some of the senior managers at regional level have signed it. There is also a very active email exchange of opinions and frustration among staff deployed in various corners of the world.”

Many feel the charity’s integrity and neutrality have been called into question.

“Unless the award is withdrawn immediately and public apologies made by those responsible for this awful decision, the credibility of Save the Children at global level is definitely going to sink.

“It is already happening. The organisation will not be considered as one who fights for children’s rights anymore, rather a logo that questionable leaders can use to raise their ‘charitable’ profile,” said an employee.

Some called for an internal inquiry and for those responsible for the decision to be held accountable.

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