Tag Archives | Humanitarianism

A Tear for Africa: Abduction and Reduction

Photo: Nasa (PD)

From Maximilian Forte of Zero Anthropology, A photo and text essay examining the intersection of western hegemony and humanitarianism.

Helpless, pleading, wanting, needing, small, weak, staring at you, black–this is the anti-bogeyman invented by Western humanitarianism, what passes as morality in the ideology of empire (yet again). Past the time of a London Missionary Society, we now have the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the moral dogma of a white, western elite that projects its abusive notion of “protection” everywhere it is not wanted. Hence we have the “smug self-congratulation” marking Obama’s “Atrocity Prevention Board” and empowering the U.S. to undertake global police work. Part of a long history of casting wars as “humanitarian,” the “moral compass” of Western imperialism has an appropriately nautical sound in this commercial that declares the U.S. Navy to be “a force for global good” (nautical or extraterrestrial perhaps: the images are inspired by the opening of Star Wars, and the narration echoes Darth Vader).

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The Reality That ‘KONY 2012′ Missed

Ugandan ArmyVery compelling read from Jakob Schiller on WIRED’s Raw File below. (Also, worth reading this Washington Post article if you have not come across it):

The video calling for a national campaign to raise awareness about Joseph Kony, the International Criminal Court’s #1 most-wanted warlord, has been viewed more than 100 million times since it was published on March 5. The day of action it calls for is tomorrow, April 20. While most people agree that Kony should be brought to justice for his crimes against the Ugandan people and children, the video has come under criticism for oversimplifications that could actually do harm to the people it aims to help.

For photographer Glenna Gordon, the inaccuracies were particularly shocking because she had spent two years in Uganda as a stringer for the Associated Press and knew that the facts on the ground were much different than what was portrayed.

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U.S. Marines Dispatched to Five African Countries

AfricomVia Global Research:

The hidden agenda in Uganda, Central Africa and the Horn of Africa is the conquest of oil and strategic mineral resources. Going after Joseph Kony and protecting Ugandan children is a cynical smokescreen, a pretext for a “humanitarian intervention” in a region where US sponsored  “civil wars” (Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia) have in the course of the last 20 years resulted in more than eight million deaths:

“Through AFRICOM, the United States is seeking a foothold in the incredibly resource rich central African block in a further maneuver to aggregate regional hegemony over China. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s largest regions without an effectively functioning government. It contains vast deposits of diamonds, cobalt, copper, uranium, magnesium, and tin while producing over $1 billion in gold each year. It is entirely feasible that the US can considerably increase its presence in the DRC under the pretext of capturing Joseph Kony.” (Nile Bowie, Merchandising and Branding Support for US Military Intervention in Central Africa, Global research, March 14, 2012)

In a recent decision, the Pentagon confirms the sending in of Marine Special Forces to train Ugandan troops in the fight not only against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) but also against Al Shabab in Somalia.

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The Seven Worst International Aid Ideas

cluster111Matador Network on the “worst attempts at helping others since colonialism”. There’s the inexplicable — entrepreneur Jason Sadler’s 1 Million T-Shirts campaign, which involved producing and shipping a million t-shirts for donation to strife-affected (but presumably clothed) Africans for no apparent reason.

But the actual worst may be the United States’ scattering the hills of Afghanistan with food packets — intended for hungry Afghan children — identical in appearance to the cluster bombs also scattered by the U.S. through the same regions:

Each yellow BLU-97 bomblet is the size of a soda can and is capable of killing anyone within a 50 meter radius and severely injuring anyone within 100 meters from the detonation. A Humanitarian Daily Rations (HDR) package contains a 2,000 calorie meal.

It was inevitable that Afghans coming across the yellow packages in the field would confuse the two. Children in particular — with no English and little idea of what a BLU-97 is even if they did — would investigate the yellow containers and try to pick them up, with devastating consequences that an Air Force general described as “unfortunate.”

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Donors Pledge $4.3 Billion For Child Vaccinations In Poor Nations

PoliodropsA case of good humanitarians. Via Reuters:

International donors led by Britain and Bill Gates pledged $4.3 billion on Monday to buy vaccines to protect children in poor countries against potential killers such as diarrheal diseases and pneumonia.

“But every 20 seconds, a child still dies of a vaccine-preventable disease. There’s more work to be done.”

The funding should allow more than 250 million of the world’s poorest children to be vaccinated by 2015, helping to prevent more than four million premature deaths, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) said.

“Today is an important moment in our collective commitment to protecting children in developing countries from disease,” said Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who attended the pledging conference in London.

[Continues at Reuters]

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Cuban Medics in Haiti Put the World to Shame

Cuba In HaitiNina Lakhani writes in the Indepedent:

They are the real heroes of the Haitian earthquake disaster, the human catastrophe on America’s doorstep which Barack Obama pledged a monumental US humanitarian mission to alleviate. Except these heroes are from America’s arch-enemy Cuba, whose doctors and nurses have put US efforts to shame.

A medical brigade of 1,200 Cubans is operating all over earthquake-torn and cholera-infected Haiti, as part of Fidel Castro’s international medical mission which has won the socialist state many friends, but little international recognition.

Observers of the Haiti earthquake could be forgiven for thinking international aid agencies were alone in tackling the devastation that killed 250,000 people and left nearly 1.5 million homeless. In fact, Cuban healthcare workers have been in Haiti since 1998, so when the earthquake struck the 350-strong team jumped into action. And amid the fanfare and publicity surrounding the arrival of help from the US and the UK, hundreds more Cuban doctors, nurses and therapists arrived with barely a mention.

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