Thursday, October 22, 2009

Komen responds. Again.

I received the following additional response from the Komen PR department:

Thank you for contacting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We have new information from our founder, Nancy Goodman Brinker, on this situation.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Pleased to Announce Egyptian Events to Welcome All Advocates, Including those from Israel

Statement from Nancy Goodman Brinker, Founder, Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Breast cancer advocates from the United States and across the Middle East are meeting in Egypt from October 21-27 for breast cancer awareness events. There have been reports that some of the invited participants would not be allowed to attend these events. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has now received confirmation that all advocates, regardless of their country of origin, are invited to fully participate in events to bring breast cancer to the forefront of public discussion in the Middle East.

After we received the initial report on the situation, we launched a diplomatic effort to ensure they would be able to participate. I am pleased to report that our efforts led to confirmation that all advocates would be welcome to participate in the events.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure remains steadfast in our mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever.

Again, technically, it's a good response. Assuming you need to carefully balance many political considerations. In my opinion, it is embarrassingly weak.

This was my reply:

Thank you for the note however this is hardly helpful as (1) the conference has already started and (2) getting from Israel to Egypt isn’t the easiest thing to do at the last minute.

The statement is weak and ineffective. Saying “some of the invited participants would not be allowed to attend” is offensive to those who were shut out because of religion and/or nationality. It is weak. The organization should be making a much stronger statement along the lines of “breast cancer is blind to religion, race and nationality and any effort to deny experts and advocates the right to participate on those grounds is deplorable.”

Instead of effectively handling the situation, the Susan G. Komen organization has clearly shown the Jewish community that it supports racism and anti-Semitism. This is not a fringe-group opinion.

What the organization needs to do right away is reach out to the Jewish community and assure them that (1) it deplores the actions of Egyptian officials, (2) it regrets not taking a stronger and more effective stand, and (3) it will ensure this does not happen again and, if it does, the Komen name and participation will be immediately pulled from any such event.

Thank you.

It will be interesting to see if they get around to doing the right thing.

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