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
on moral intent to a newly ‘scientific’ humanitarianism.
It also saw those in Britain who protested the rights and duties of
humanity yoke their own emancipatory, liberationist and democratic
struggles to an image of the downtrodden but fiercely independent
Boers. This was no more apparent than in the articulation of a
radical feminine critique which saw concern for suffering humanity
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.
Scholars and practitioners alike have identified interventions on behalf of Armenians as watersheds in the history of humanitarianism. This volume reassesses these claims, critically examining a range of interventions by governments, international and diasporic organisations and individuals that aimed to bring ‘aid to Armenia’. Drawing on perspectives from a range of disciplines, the chapters trace the history of these interventions from the 1890s to the present, paying particular attention to the aftermaths of the Genocide and the upheavals of the post-Soviet period. Geographically, they connect diverse spaces, including the Caucasus, Russia and the Middle East, Europe, North America and South America, and Australia, revealing shifting transnational networks of aid and intervention. These chapters are followed by reflections by leading scholars in the fields of refugee history and Armenian history, Professor Peter Gatrell and Professor Ronald Grigor Suny, respectively.
Recognising humanitarianism: Armenia and the Aurora Prize
In April 2016, one year after the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity was inaugurated in Yerevan, capital of the Republic of Armenia. Initiated by Armenian-American and Russian philanthropists Vartan Gregorian, Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan, the prize recognises ‘any individual or group that commits an extraordinary act of humanity’. 1 The first prize was awarded to Marguerite Barankitse for her long-term engagement in saving, sheltering and educating
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
, 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
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 challenges of compassion and the Australian humanitarian campaigns for Armenian relief, 1900–30
response to this, new methods of fundraising developed, which were premised on experiencing the refugee ordeal as much as possible and so promoting empathy through enduring and witnessing suffering that was as authentic as possible. Third, genuine efforts were made to change the Australian immigration policy towards Armenians through arguments of economics but also compassion – which were steadfastly resisted by government. Fourth, one of the striking narratives throughout the 1920s was the emergence of a form of exotic humanitarianism through eyewitness travel
The Smith College Relief Unit, Near East Relief and visions of Armenian reconstruction, 1919–21
women, with particular skills (doctors, nurses, engineers), others members of organisations like the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). 5 These ‘adventurous spirits’ were mostly young and college-educated, and seizing the opportunity to travel the world, as well as do some good in it. The sheer variety of backgrounds, professions, affiliations and worldviews among the relief workers on board the Leviathan represented a microcosm of the shifts underway within humanitarianism at this time. These relief workers – the Smith women included – were among those who