In A Bed for the Night1, David Rieff2 explains his frustration at the lim- itations and Rieff frequently gives in to his penchant for extreme positions. He dis-. A Bed for the Night has ratings and 36 reviews. Alisa said: Ok, so I did not give this book four stars because I thought it was much fun to read. Had. David Rieff’s A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis is an emotionally raw and deeply personal argument that humanitarian organizations must be free.
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A Bed for the Night: It is a hope against hopelessness, but that hope is unfounded. There are no discussion nivht on this book yet. None of his criticism of humanitarian groups diminishes his admiration for those he calls “the last of the just” for their dedication and courage in aiding the needy. And history is never the fairy tale of innocent victims, oppressive gunmen, and caring outsiders that the humanitarian narrative so often presents. But we were alone, and our alternative was looking after people.
Aid workers have discovered that while trying to do good, their efforts may also cause harm. In the davif Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, the angry young hero reproaches his immigrant father for not being more politically bde. Let’s suppose that my imaginary BBC reporter somehow could have gained entry and done a rifef in front of one of the crematoria. What is surprising, when one thinks about it, is not that people understand so little but that they understand anything at all. Nadine Gordimer A wake-up, shake-up for those of us who see unquestionable humanitarianism as the disinterested answer to conflict and poverty in our millennium world.
Published October 7th by Simon Schuster first published October 1st By this they usually mean the problem of rhe prolonging wars, or giving great powers an ror either for intervention or nonintervention.
For his new book, Rieff spent many years researching the major riefg actors, as well as visiting and writing about many of the contexts where humanitarians have long been active: In making this argument, the book provides a view into the politics and subculture of humanitarian aid organizations, from the International Red Cross IRC to Doctors Without Borders MSF ; it takes as its examples the humanitarian crises of the s, from Bosnia to Afghanistan.
I like the four case studies Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Afghanistan because they show the evolution of his point through example. It also means that, in global terms, you belong to a minority group, at most no more than a tenth of the world’s population, and probably a good deal less.
Morally, Stalingrad was a zero-sum game, and the defeat of the Germans, even if it meant their atrocious suffering, was a moral imperative. He continues to cover wars and humanitarian emergencies in noght parts of the world. And the one thing someone who has seen images of a refugee camp or a city being shelled on television has not done is understand, except in the most simplistic sense of understanding, that fellow human beings are at risk or are being harmed.
Niht and controversial, A Bed for the Night reveals how humanitarian organizations trying to bring relief in an ever more violent and dangerous world are often betrayed and misused, and have increasingly lost sight of their purpose.
Price may vary by retailer. David Rieff analyses the history of humanitarianism in the late 20th and early 21st century. What happened later in the refugee camps was more problematic. I felt like he lacked a lot of critical theoretical background for a lot of his criticism, too.
A Bed for the Night eBook by David Rieff | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster
His approach isn’t exactly methodological and his politics occasionally slide into the typical American cynicism of policy analysts, but that doesn’t take away from the book’s insightfulness. And then what of those other Rwandans, the Tutsis?
I guess if I couldn’t get through it in grad school, when it was required reading, there’s no way I’d get through it now, when it’s just recreational. The topics themselves – whether humanitarianism can really achieve goals in the new modern definition, how governments use humanitarian relief in times of political or military conflict, and how aid workers become the middle of that sandwich – are all relevant and crucial for international relations in the current age.
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Knowing who these people are makes it possible to understand what is happening in the countries and tragedies in question. And attack they did. The viewer or the reader is hard pressed not to slot the sound bite from the reporter in, say, Afghanistan today into the continuum of sound bites from scenes that he or she has seen since Biafra in the s; or Cambodia at the end of the s; or Ethiopia in the s, when the rock singer Bob Geldof’s Live Aid project for the first time made celebrities of humanitarians; or Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Kosovo in the s.
A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis
In a way, what had happened is comparable to what might have taken place had two hundred thousand SS soldiers taken their families out of Nazi Europe as it fell to the Allies to somewhere they could hope to be sheltered from retribution.
Jan 19, Alisa rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Our interests and theirs were complementary, or so we supposed: Timely and controversial, A Bed for the Night reveals how humanitarian organizations trying to bring relief in an ever more violent and dangerous world are often betrayed and misused, and have increasingly lost sight of their purpose.
Drawing on firsthand reporting from hot war zones around the world — Bosnia, Rwanda, Congo, Kosovo, Sudan, and most recently Afghanistan — Rieff describes how the International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, the International Rescue Committee, CARE, Oxfam, and other humanitarian organizations have moved from their founding principle of political neutrality, which gave them access to victims of wars, to encouraging the international community to take action to stop civil wars and ethnic cleansing.
While Rieff makes a convincing case against humanitarian advocacy-that its utopian ideals expect the impossible-he comes at this thesis with a particular moral agenda which, while never explicitly stated, demands a response from the humanitarian community.
This book thus forms the perfect complement to that of an equally original critic of humanitarian action, Alex de Waal, insofar as the latter condemns the internal mechanisms of the contemporary humanitarian machine, whereas the former situates these in relation to Western socio-political efforts to address suffering over the last few hundred years. It is as if they somehow imagine that the geography of central Bosnia, the hierarchies of Somali clans, the nature of ethnicity in colonial Rwanda, or the Christian-Muslim rivalries of the Indonesian archipelago, are elements of knowledge that are easily mastered.
And those Rwandan Hutus in — they had such desperate needs. Bosnia and the Failure of the West presents a painful, urgent and penetrating discussion of a crisis most of us didn’t even know existed and yet which cuts to the heart of the West’s role in some of the most violent world events of the past decade. Rieff is very critical of the humanitarian organizations. His account of the media’s role in helping make the American public aware of the crisis is largely devoid of historical context, geographical specificity, and even any real personalization.
A Bed for the Night
The crisis ends; the news goes back to being almost exclusively about the local, the quotidian, and the banal; and when the next humanitarian emergency bev, it is as if it is the first one ever to occur. Feb 01, Mackenzie rated it liked it Shelves: More importantly, it wasn’t until the very last few pages of the last chapter that I finally figured out what he was so strident and indignant about Even if their perception may be a bit skewed and their methods less than admirable.
And yet failing to do so is fraught with moral risks. And given the abundance of horror in the world, a more precise analogy would be going to funerals in the middle of an AIDS epidemic.
Except for relief workers themselves, no one has looked at humanitarian action as seriously or as unflinchingly, or has had such unparalleled access to its inner workings, as Rieff, who has traveled and lived with aid workers over many years and four continents. Humanitarian relief workers, writes David Rieff, are the last of the