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The Spoils of Humanitarianism

Karl Maier: Feeding off Famine, 19 February 1998

Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa 
by Alex deWaal.
James Currey/Indiana, 238 pp., £40, October 1997, 0 85255 811 2
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The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity 
by Michael Maren.
Free Press, 302 pp., $25, January 1997, 0 684 82800 6
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... public support. The serious and well-documented failures of the ‘humanitarian international’, Alex deWaal’s memorable phrase for the global relief industry, are quickly forgotten. Massive amounts of food aid have gone to an utterly discredited regime in the absence of any real knowledge of the needs of the ...

Philanthropic Imperialism

Stephen W. Smith, 22 April 2021

... of Berber and Arab descent – living on the bend of the Niger River wrote an open letter to de Gaulle, addressing him as ‘Your Majesty the President’. They declared their ‘outright refusal’ to become part of ‘an autonomous or federalist system in Black Africa or North Africa … Our interests and aspirations would in no case be legitimately ...

In a Faraway Pond

David Runciman: The NGO, 29 November 2007

Non-Governmental Politics 
edited by Michel Feher.
Zone, 693 pp., £24.95, May 2007, 978 1 890951 74 0
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... impetus for regulation is frequently self-imposed, as in the case of the splendidly named Comité de la Charte de Déontologie des Organisations Sociales et Humanitaires Faisant Appel à la Générosité Publique, to which most such French organisations now belong. In order to gain the trust of those on whom they depend for ...

Why Chad isn’t Darfur and Darfur isn’t Rwanda

Jérôme Tubiana: Chad’s Wars, 17 December 2009

... The same misunderstandings, the same simplifications of the situation in Darfur – criticised by Alex deWaal and Mahmood Mamdani in this paper – have been repeated in relation to Chad.* They include the wayward comparisons with Rwanda which underpin the description by the campaigning NGO Save Darfur, among ...

Who Are They?

Jenny Turner: The Institute of Ideas, 8 July 2010

... to keep the troops happy’. According to Sullivan, Furedi – who at that time went by the nom de guerre of ‘Frank Richards’ – joined the International Socialists (later to become the Socialist Workers Party) in the early 1970s, but was expelled in 1973 for running a ‘secret faction’ with David Yaffe, then and now the leader of the Revolutionary ...

The Habit of War

Jeremy Harding: Eritrea, 20 July 2006

I Didn’t Do It for You: How the World Used and Abused a Small African Nation 
by Michela Wrong.
Harper Perennial, 432 pp., £8.99, January 2005, 0 00 715095 4
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Unfinished Business: Ethiopia and Eritrea at War 
edited by Dominique Jacquin-Berdal and Martin Plaut.
Red Sea, 320 pp., $29.95, April 2005, 1 56902 217 8
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Battling Terrorism in the Horn of Africa 
edited by Robert Rotberg.
Brookings, 210 pp., £11.99, December 2005, 0 8157 7571 7
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... Eritrea’s tragic undoing. Where the blame lies is difficult to say. This much is obvious from Alex deWaal’s definitive essay at the core of Islamism and Its Enemies in the Horn of Africa (2004). If the Eritreans came briefly to see themselves as masters of their own destiny, they remained prey to upheavals in ...

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