Links & Contents I Liked 400
I wish I had more energy & the right mindset to celebrate my 400th #globaldev link review properly, but for the time being I am just grateful for all the great, critical, sometimes uplifting & inspiring content that my project encourages me to engage with every week-so a big THANK YOU to all the readers, writers, sharers & lurkers that will probably keep me motivated for a while!
My quotes of the week
If you look at American workplaces at the moment I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that antiracism was quite easy. The speed at which diversity training programs mushroomed in the aftermath of the anti-police uprisings of the past summer, along with specialist gurus leading them, could easily lead you to think that antiracism was a set of politics best practiced in the bowels of HR departments. No Black bodies left dying on streets, no police stations to burn, just a stack of Robin D’Angelo books and late afternoon management-led sensitivity training sessions. (Fuck Mindfulness Workshops)
Critics say allowing industrial projects to press on with full knowledge of how Indigenous people could be affected is exposing and exacerbating environmental racism. That’s what it’s called when governments and corporations disproportionately locate polluting industries and hazardous sites in Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities — particularly those that lack the economic, political or social clout to fight back. (‘I can feel your breath’: when COVID-19 and environmental racism collide)
Celebrating 400 Links I Like posts
My key learnings about #globaldev 20 years after I took my first undergrad course (Links & Contents I Liked 300)
Apolitical’s 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy.
The list honours and celebrates people of all genders working on gender policy and making the world more equitable, whether they exert their influence through policymaking, public service, research, philanthropy, advocacy, activism or however else.Apolitical with an fascinating list-I'm just a bit surprised that among all the diversity very few Western, let alone Eastern European women made it on the list (as opposed to USA or Canada for example)...
Nawal El Saadawi: Feminist firebrand who dared to write dangerously
The pioneering Egyptian doctor, feminist and writer spent decades sharing her own story and perspectives - in her novels, essays, autobiographies and eagerly attended talks.
Her brutal honesty and unwavering dedication to improving the political and sexual rights of women inspired generations.
But in daring to speak dangerously, she was also subjected to outrage, death threats and imprisonment.
"She was born with fighting spirit," Omnia Amin, her friend and translator, told the BBC in 2020.
"People like her are rare."
NGOs say FCDO gagging them on aid cuts
The British government is blocking some development organizations from talking publicly or with other organizations about the impact of the aid budget cuts on their programs, NGO leaders have claimed. Threats over remaining funding and closure costs have been used to keep some NGOs quiet, even as their budgets were slashed, NGO executives told Devex.Will Worley for DevEx; it is remarkable & scary how UK #globaldev structures have been unraveling before our eyes in such an amazingly short time...
Job Losses Loom in Kenya's Tea Industry as Workers Compete with Machines
“Before the introduction of the machines, in Bomet alone we used to have … over 50,000 employees! As we are talking now, I can tell you the number is around 5,000 to 7,000,” Momanyi said.Brenda Mulinya for Voice of America with an interesting case study of automation's impact on manual labor in Kenya.
Multinational companies in the tea belt have argued in court that the harvesting machines will help cut production costs by more than half, making their product more competitive in the world market.
When a migrant drowns, a whole community feels the loss
The deaths of people en route to Europe are often shrouded in ambiguity: A family doesn’t hear from a relative who has left for weeks, months, or years, and is left simply to presume the worst. Less frequently, as happened with Demba, a survivor or witness calls someone in the village to relay concrete news of a tragedy.Ottavia Spaggiari for the New Humanitarian with a powerful essay & reminder that there is a story behind every person who does not make the journey from Africa to Europe.
The bodies of those who perish are never returned. They disappear below the waves, disintegrate into the sand, or end up interred in distant cemeteries beneath a plaque bearing no name. Without a body, without definitive answers, there is nothing to make the deaths concrete.
The UN’s Humanitarian Aid Agency, Ready for a New Boss and Possibly a New Management Style
Numerous people — all women — spoke to PassBlue from New York City and elsewhere, on what they considered some of the work-environment problems. During Lowcock’s tenure, staff members said they had been scared of retaliation and even demotion for seeming to question him or appearing not loyal enough. Give and take under Lowcock seemed to grind to a halt, some staffers said, garnering him the reputation of instilling an “Anglo-Saxon” management style, as described in a Foreign Policy article last fall. It was a style similar to that of Patel’s approach in Dfid.Laura E. Kirkpatrick for PassBlue continues their excellent writing on UN leadership & organizational development(s).
UN Human Rights Council Outlines Sri Lanka Abuses, But Demurs on Action
Assuming she consented to having this photo taken, I hope she received help and was also paid for it. Also, we seriously need to unpack the way we’ve been socialized to glamorize the struggles of Africans and people living in other developing countries. It’s dehumanizing. https://t.co/4L4A9Nd5cp— Jordan Sumbu (@JordanSumbu) March 19, 2021
But with Sri Lanka fundamentally resistant to pursuing justice, and the U.N. Human Rights Council both unwilling and unable to impose an accountability process, the options were always quite limited. Read optimistically, the new resolution opens the possibility that the mandated 18 months of enhanced scrutiny and evidence-gathering will improve the chances that foreign countries might prosecute those most responsible under the principle of universal jurisdiction.Kate Cronin-Furman for Just Security on the realities & limitations of UN human rights work.
A few thoughts on Covid surveillance technology solutions in Africa
The central hypothesis of this is that the operational responses of nation-states are aligned with a policy of systematically using surveillance (biometric) and the tracing of infected persons (mHealth) as the preferred institutional response to emerging epidemics. However, this response has underestimated the capacity for the circulation of alternative interpretations of epidemics favoured by an abundance of content conveyed via social networks and smartphones. The direct access of the public to this content reinforces a widespread suspicion of local governments that are seen as corrupt and that accept servile compromises with the leaders of large pharmaceutical groups to the detriment of ‘African solutions’.p. awondo for UCL's Anthropology of Smartphones and Smart Ageing Blog with reflections on the difficult balance between digital health information systems & digital surveillance.
Indigenous Women Resist Indonesia’s Sweet Tooth Evictions
The destruction of Kampung Durian Selemak and the dispossession of its indigenous inhabitants were carried out with a very specific goal in mind. Following the evictions, PTPN II plans to convert the land into a sugarcane plantation—part of a government plan to satisfy Indonesia’s national sweet tooth.Tonggo Simangunsong for New Naratif on environmental pressure on indigenous peoples in Indonesia.
‘I can feel your breath’: when COVID-19 and environmental racism collide
Critics say allowing industrial projects to press on with full knowledge of how Indigenous people could be affected is exposing and exacerbating environmental racism. That’s what it’s called when governments and corporations disproportionately locate polluting industries and hazardous sites in Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities — particularly those that lack the economic, political or social clout to fight back.Raina Delisle for the Narwhal with a long-read essay from the frontlines of Canada's indigenous struggles.
Environmental racism has long exposed people to a wide range of health-harming pollutants that have been linked to serious illnesses, including cancer, lung disease and heart conditions. Those ailments, in turn, make people more vulnerable to COVID-19. Now, as industrial projects continue on during the pandemic, COVID-19 itself can be seen as yet another pollutant being circulated by industry. And experts warn we’ll see more pandemics if we continue to exploit our natural environment.
How publishers are engaging new audiences on messaging apps in the Global South
Newspapers and startups from Zimbabwe, Brazil and South Africa are using WhatsApp in innovative waysLaura Oliver for the Reuters Institute with an update on innovative media formats.
The costs and difficulties of distributing such a print product have always been an inhibiting factor. Other pan-African titles have typically been produced outside the continent, printed in Paris or London and flown into African capitals. Simon Allison, editor of The Continent and Mail & Guardian’s Africa editor, realised that messaging apps could be part of the answer: “Most of the people we know are getting their information from WhatsApp and yet there’s no major media house in our vicinity that is putting information there,” Allison says.
How coronavirus has affected humanitarian journalism
To get around travel bans, international newsrooms have increasingly worked with local reporters. This allowed media organisations to gain direct access to communities hit by different crises and keep the stories coming. Josephine Schmidt, the executive editor at The New Humanitarian, said that using local journalists nurtures much more inclusive reporting in terms of diversity of voices.Emily Cole for Journalism.co.uk is also looking into new & innovative ways to deliver (humanitarian) journalism.
‘Development’: A visual story of shifting power
For this first exhibit, called “‘Development’: a visual story of shifting power”, I collaborated with Colombian collage artist Hansel Obando. Together, we wanted to tell the story of ‘development’, from its origin to its current challenge, from its contradictions to its possible horizons. Our guiding principles were the twin notions of decolonization and intersectionality: moving away from the unequal power structures that reinforce legacies of colonialism, and advancing explicitly anti-racist and feminist agendas.Maria Faciolince for fp2p with a powerful visual on what #globaldev looks like...
Following these principles, through our collaboration we challenged each other to leave behind tired language and imagery. Collage, the medium that Hansel works with, can be seen as a metaphor for the practice of re-making and re-assembling our world. It allows us to clearly grasp what stories are – assemblages of fragments – and what storytelling is: a work of careful piecing together.
Book review – A House Without Windows
A House without Windows excels as a starting point for audiences unaware of the extent of the CAR’s humanitarian crisis today. It does not attempt to advance methods to remedy the many problems besetting the country, but this is not its intention. Ellison and Kassaï’s book seeks to raise awareness and drive attention. The ‘street kids’, local leaders, teachers and NGOs within the country coordinate welfare and support within the vacuum of central governance, highlighting how mobilising and organising make a vital difference, especially when hope seems difficult to come by.Kojo Apeagyei for Africa at LSE reviews an interesting graphic novel.
Somalia photography: 'I want it to be normal for women to take photos'
The photographers feel that for too long, Westerners have dominated the narrative on Somalia, presenting it as the world's most dangerous country, torn apart by war, disease and famine.Mary Harper for the BBC on Fardowsa Hussein's photographic art.
They say they want to take control of Somalia's story, to present a fuller, fairer portrayal of life in the country.
The damage aid workers can do - with just their words
Like every discipline, humanitarianism has developed its own language and imagery that reflects not only the means to communicate among its practitioners, but also its conception of the world and how it understands, and hence behaves, in it.Tammam Aloudat for the National News with great reflections on the power of humanitarian non-language.
This language of humanitarianism is hardly static. It evolves with the changing contexts in which humanitarian action takes place, the pressures of donors and benefactors and the social and cultural norms of the societies – usually in the West – where those organisations are based and where western narratives are most important.
Despite the evolution, however, the abstractions, jargon, and acronyms so common to humanitarian-speak still aim for, and manage to achieve, several things.
First, it defines the field of action, humanitarianism, and draws its parameters, principles, and tactics; second, it justifies and moralises the act itself and asserts the legitimacy of its existence and consequences; and third, it sustains the power, worldview, and future of those who control the narrative.
Fuck Mindfulness Workshops
If you look at American workplaces at the moment I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that antiracism was quite easy. The speed at which diversity training programs mushroomed in the aftermath of the anti-police uprisings of the past summer, along with specialist gurus leading them, could easily lead you to think that antiracism was a set of politics best practiced in the bowels of HR departments. No Black bodies left dying on streets, no police stations to burn, just a stack of Robin D’Angelo books and late afternoon management-led sensitivity training sessions.Tithi Bhattacharya for Spectre Journal.
It is time we recognize 2 dangerous trends in this business of corporate diversity. First, that the language of diversity, masquerading as anti-racism, has become completely unmoored from social meaning; and second, because it is so, women and people of color are now hired as purveyors of violence to shield the system from criticism.
Our digital lives
Read the Pentagon’s 20-Page Report on Its Own Meme
The FOIA’d report on the creation of the bear mentions the CyberScoop article. “The article, while a bit tongue in cheek, is mostly accurate and does highlight the core purposes for the malware disclosures.”Matthew Gault for Vice in case you are having bad day with your organization's digital communication department...
Cyber Command’s response to the report contained a detailed explanation of why it’s making bad memes. According to Cyber Command, they “impose costs on adversaries by disclosing their malware,” and the graphics “are used and included to increase engagement and resonate with the Cybersecurity industry.” Though it did admit that “the graphics may not be shaping adversary behavior.
The Data Journalism Handbook
The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice provides a rich and panoramic introduction to data journalism, combining both critical reflection and practical insight. It offers a diverse collection of perspectives on how data journalism is done around the world and the broader consequences of datafication in the news, serving as both a textbook and a sourcebook for this emerging field.Liliana Bounegru & Jonathan Gray with a new book from Amsterdam University Press that is also available as free Ebook.
Decolonising global health in 2021: a roadmap to move from rhetoric to reform
Although its aims have not been formally defined, we see ‘decolonising global health’ as a movement that fights against ingrained systems of dominance and power in the work to improve the health of populations, whether this occurs between countries, including between previously colonising and plundered nations, and within countries, for example the privileging of what Connell calls research-based knowledge formation over the lived experience of people themselves.Mishal Khan, Seye Abimbola, Tammam Aloudat, Emanuele Capobianco, Sarah Hawkes & Afifah Rahman-Shepherd for BMJ Global Health.
What we were reading 4 years ago
Twitter really does help academics! For 14 days, four random articles a day from leading heart journals were summarized in tweets by journal editors (with a total of 52k followers).— Ethan Mollick (@emollick) March 25, 2021
A year later, those articles had 4.4x more cites & 9.1x higher altmetric scores than the control. pic.twitter.com/lAF6IJxR9t
(Link review 189, 1 July 2016)
New research article on ritualized conference spaces & the evolution of peace research professionalism in Germany
The article takes a qualitative-historical approach to investigate how discussions, gatherings and discourses of peace research in Germany have been transformed over time into ritualized events. Over time, traditional ideas of open and inclusive debates within a social movement have been replaced with the rituals of the academic conference industry.Me, with an overview over one of my academic articles.
No orphanages, or just ‘good’ ones? Books and controversies from Cambodia’s Australian orphanage doyennes
There’s no doubt that learning and engaging with changing thinking about the ‘right way’ to do development and to develop best practice is important for any organisation – and it throws up big challenges, particularly when trying to maintain a fundraising base while shifting gear. But times are changing, albeit slowly. Hopefully the Australian public will start to get the message that there are better ways to ‘save’ the children of Cambodia than to support orphanages.Ashlee Betteridge for the DevPolicy Blog wrote this before Australia became the first country that made orphanage tourism illegal (sort of...).