Seeing the terrible and frightening scenes of death and distress in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, many of us immediately responded by seeking ways to send help and were reassured when governments around the world offered to do the same. Popular support of that sort of humanitarian assistance rests on the assumption that it is politically disinterested, purely philanthropic, and responds to the needs of the moment. However, in practice, argues Neil Middleton, it is no such thing.
In this work,Middleton shows how humanitarian assistance is driven by the international politics of those countries wealthy enough to mount aid programs. Though the assistance offered includes providing food, water, medical care, and shelter, the distribution of these needs often involves armed forces who provide security and assist with logistics. Using case studies from Somalia and Sudan, both of which have been devastated by internal wars, Middleton reveals that though circumstances differ in every country that receives aid, by accepting the assistance each country becomes similarly vulnerable to the donors’ international policies and interests. This surprising look at the intersection of global philanthropy and politics will interest concerned civilians and aid professionals alike.
About the Author
Neil Middleton has traveled with coalitions of scholars and officials to assess programs of humanitarian assistance in such countries as Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Sudan, and Somalia. He is the author or coauthor of many books, including, most recently, Negotiating Poverty: New Directions, Renewed Debate, and Rio Plus Ten:Politics,Poverty and the Environment.
Table of Contents
Setting the Scene
The Emergence of Humanitarianism
How Many Refugees and Where Are They From?
12 January 2010: Earthquake in Haiti
Somalia: Chronic Disaster and the Anarchy of Aid
Sudan: The High Price of Oil
What is to be Done?