The perils of promoting durable protection in cities of the
Caroline Wanjiku Kihato and Loren B. Landau
Under the conditions of precarious potential offered by many ‘Southern cities’, the most effective forms of humanitarianism – those providing the safest and most durable forms of self-reliance – come from stealthily negotiating invisibility while expanding entitlements through horizontal solidarities. Promoting rights for displaced persons living among equally poor and vulnerable host populations requires tactical political alliances and solidarities with community-based organisations and local actors. Doing so means breaking from the visibilisation impulse. Instead
important in this debate has been the perceived erosion of
humanitarian independence and other humanitarian principles.
Generally, this debate rests on the fissure between those who define
humanitarianism narrowly and those who wish to broaden its scope and
applicability ( Jackson and
Walker 1999 ). Weiss (1999) offers a useful spectrum of
Over recent years, the relationship between humanitarians and the military has
become especially controversial. Concerns over inefficient and duplicated
assistance programs and the compromised security of relief workers have been
regularly highlighted. Many point to ongoing tensions and polarized positions
that seem to leave NGOs a stark choice between “neutrality” and co-option. Using
Afghanistan as a case study, this book analyses this apparent duality. It puts
forward five basic arguments. First, the history of the relationship extends
prior to the birth of modern humanitarianism. Second, inter-organizational
friction is common between groups and it does not always have a detrimental
impact. Third, working with the military does not necessarily create more
dangerous situations for NGOs. Fourth, humanitarian principles are not a fixed
set of propositions, but evolve according to temporal and situational context.
Finally, humanitarians are generally not co-opted, but rather willingly take
part in political-military endeavors. In all, it is suggested that NGOs tend to
change their policies and actions depending on the context. The book thus
transcends the simple “for” or “against” arguments, leading to a more refined
understanding of the relationship between NGOs and the military.
Humanitarianism and war in
On 4 June 2004, five staff
members of the international NGO, Médecins Sans
Frontières (MSF), were murdered in northwest Afghanistan.
Within a month, the organization had withdrawn after more than two
decades of providing assistance to the country. According to a
This book is the fruit of twenty years’ reflection on Islamic charities, both in practical terms and as a key to understand the crisis in contemporary Islam. On the one hand Islam is undervalued as a global moral and political force whose admirable qualities are exemplified in its strong tradition of charitable giving. On the other hand, it suffers from a crisis of authority that cannot be blamed entirely on the history of colonialism and stigmatization to which Muslims have undoubtedly been subjected – most recently, as a result of the "war on terror". The book consists of seventeen previously published chapters, with a general Introduction and new prefatory material for each chapter. The first nine chapters review the current situation of Islamic charities from many different viewpoints – theological, historical, diplomatic, legal, sociological and ethnographic – with first-hand data from the United States, Britain, Israel–Palestine, Mali and Indonesia. Chapters 10 to 17 expand the coverage to explore the potential for a twenty-first century "Islamic humanism" that would be devised by Muslims in the light of the human sciences and institutionalized throughout the Muslim world. This means addressing contentious topics such as religious toleration and the meaning of jihad. The intended readership includes academics and students at all levels, professionals concerned with aid and development, and all who have an interest in the future of Islam.
). The president
said that ‘the new zakat committees are like a pool of
water’ and that one drop of ink would pollute the whole pool.
The drop of ink was anybody with links to Hamas.
The following chapter will compare many different types
of purity seeking. It is itself an attempt to clarify the muddy no
man’s land between religion and humanitarianism. I assume as
, over time, three drivers – technology,
strategy and ethics – were important in bringing
humanitarians and the military together. Thus, rather than being
“new,” the relationship between humanitarians and the
military can be traced to the origins of humanitarianism itself. Chapter 3 reviewed the disparate body of
literature on security, international development and
development of Islamic charities in Indonesia, colonized by the
Dutch, and in Jordan, under strong British influence during and
after the period of the British Mandate for Transjordan
Since the turn of the century,
much has been published in English on Islamic philanthropy and
humanitarianism, but almost exclusively concentrated on the Middle
Bioprecarity in the context of humanitarian surgical missions
, where the medical procedures required to extend life have unknown future implications, and vulnerability for others, where recovery from surgery is prolonged or undermined by unstable, ill-equipped health systems.
In developing my argument, I also take my cue from a long line of critical anthropologists who write about humanitarianism’s unintended, paradoxical effects. Many anchor their analyses in Giorgio Agamben’s ( 1998 ) concept of bare life, life that has been reduced to its naked and bare form in places of exclusion. While critical of aspects of Agamben
chapter 4, ‘the child’ is bound to heteronormative futurity, and with this hope, and thus is made into the
ultimate vulnerable subject. But this relies equally on who can be a
child and, subsequently, who can be innocent, vulnerable and a subject
of empathy and protection (Crawley 2011). It makes us ask which
bodies are maintained by the dominant value of childhood, and how
this might structure questions of mobility, borders and belonging more
Global regimes of humanitarianism rely upon the codification of childhood as