� Pulling the Lever | Main | The World of Tomorrow �

October 19, 2004

Jump Start International

There is good news, of course, out of Iraq. Ever since the beginning of the conflict, I have been stunned at the lack of coverage of American humanitarian efforts. I wonder if there was ever a mainstream media story on Chief Wiggles. I've just discovered via Bill, a new American organization dedicated to assistin the Iraqi people.

JumpStart International was founded in September 2003 as a public charity dedicated to helping people help themselves. Founded in response to the aftermath of the 2003 war in Iraq, JumpStart has been funded by charitable individuals and organizations in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.

Jumpstart works on the principle that it is not possible nor desirable for charitable organizations to care for the world's poor and disadvantaged -- but it is possible and desirable for charitable organizations to help the world's poor and disadvantaged to rise up, take care and provide for themselves and other people throughout the world. Self-sufficiency is the only long-term answer.

JumpStart's efforts, then, are dedicated to these principles:

  • People are not interested in hand-outs. They want to earn a living and have the opportunity to advance on their own merits.
  • The path to peace is by ending oppression, repression, discrimination and racism. We support self-sufficiency and economic independence as a viable path out of many forms of oppression.
  • LWherever it occurs and whatever its rationale, military suppression is an economic disaster. It is much cheaper to give a man a hand up than to hold a man down.
  • The common purpose of life, of all religions and cultures, is in creating and building. We support projects which actively and concretely build or rebuild communities and peoples.
  • Planning is for patsies. Let's start yesterday.

Sean O'Sullivan is a man after my own heart. Tell everybody.

Posted by mbowen at October 19, 2004 07:29 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Jump Start International:

Iraq Report October 25/04 from Winds of Change.NET
loss of a Marine; Grayhawk sandbox stories; combat lifesavers; phasing out energy subsidies in Iraq; Iraq wants stolen OFF money; Sunni election boycott threatened; Secular democracy in Iraq?; UN won't train Iraq judges; Annan says it's inconceivable; ... [Read More]

Tracked on October 24, 2004 07:57 PM


This sounds great. But how can economic independence be built if every piece of the infrastructure is owned by foreigners?

Posted by: Lester Spence at October 19, 2004 07:48 AM

Sully understands that. His whole project is dedicated to clearing the buildings destroyed during the conflict. It's heavily manually intensive and created huge numbers of jobs. It is a special boost to the economy which is commensurate with the damage done buy war's destruction. There are no assets to take away since it's a non-profit venture. Iraqis get the benefit of the organization skills employed to mount the enterprise as well as the direct benefits of the project itself.

Posted by: cobb at October 19, 2004 07:55 AM

Chief Wiggles got his work aggregated with Spirit of America, which made sense because of the similar nature of the contributors and operating model.

Would work between SoA and JumpStart be useful?

Posted by: Chap at October 19, 2004 05:45 PM

I must say I got a special pleasure in bringing news of JumpStart to Cobb's blog.

I've known Cobb electronically for some years, first under his Bohab moniker. I've even met him once and had dinner with him. I like him, and I admire is mind, spirit, and his writing.

But I'm an unreconstructed leftist and will vote against Bush this time around, as I did in 2000. So I do feel a bit dismayed that Cobb seems to have gone over to what I can only think of as "the dark side."

Beyond all that, I think that JumpStart is a remarkable organization and that any sane person would take pleasure in hearing about their work. It's the kind of thing I admire. That Cobb also admires it mean that, whatever our real differences about this election, there is something deep and substantial upon which we agree.


BTW, Sean O'Sullivan was my boss when I was a tech writer at MapInfo, the software company he and three friends started. He's a good man. So I also take pleasure in being able to help publisize his good work.

It's rare that so many pleasures can be stroked through such a simple act.

Posted by: Bill Benzon at October 20, 2004 02:48 PM

Over here on the dark side, 'we' despair of government being able to accomplish, with flexibility and creativity, that which can be accomplished by individual initiative, top notch management skill and creative financing. What we do expect however is a military machine that is well-oiled, under disciplined civilian control and awe inspiringly ferocious.

In the cycle of life, the first can bloom in the ruins of the chaos generated by the second. And it is that continuity that is appreciated from this skeptical perspective. But it is also the recognition that the first type of group will never be invited by any dictator whose ways and means to power are through the suppression of people.

At the level of nations, the lesson of Saddam's fall is crystal. But it is the inability, even at this low level of conflict, for NGOs to operate independently of national armies that makes that lesson even more clear. When UN headquarters are bombed, when journalists are kidnapped and beheaded, when NGO leaders are assassinated, there are only the resources at the disposal of Western nations with initiative who can carry the day.

That O'Sullivan's blog is not up to date, and the last entry speaking of his destination as Faluja, is of concern to me. I hope we've kept him and his folks secure.

Posted by: Cobb at October 20, 2004 03:13 PM

I happen to have been Sean's roommate one summer at Rensselaer. Bright guy with the best of hearts. I saw the full article on his life and JumpStart in the alumni mag last month:

Incredible story. Came across this blog while looking for more info.

Posted by: Kevin at November 12, 2004 02:41 PM