Showing posts from May, 2021

Links & Contents I Liked 408

Hi all, Our teaching term is slowly coming to an end and I feel a little bit like this melon vendor in Afghanistan surrounded by student essays & theses ;). I will not post a review next week because of our thesis examinations, but in the mean time enjoy the latest issue featuring Namibia, Canada, UN stuff, Uganda, cli-fi, stories from Myanmar & plenty of open access books! My quotes of the week The knocking is always faint at first. Most people probably wouldn’t be able to hear it, but she knows it’s coming and her heart is ready. It beats in time with the hand behind the door, filling her ears with blood that pounds like an orchestra in her head. The louder the knocking, the louder the musicians. The door always opens after the key is turned to unlock it. There are four, then there are five standing at the step to the door. They look hungry, as if they could eat her. They shake their shiny handcuffs at her. She remembers what is coming next. Her arms are pulled behi

The Good American (book review)

Imagine if I told you a story about a high school drop-out without any formal credentials who moved into a career with more humanitarian front line work and foreign policy impact than entire NGOs have-chances are that you think that the pandemic got the better of me or that I am talking about the humanitarian Jurassic period of the first half of the 20th century perhaps… But in fact, it is the real story of The Good American-The Epic Life of Bob Gersony, The U.S. Government’s Greatest Humanitarian . I have reviewed a fair share of aid worker memoirs and (auto)biographies during my blogging and Robert Kaplan is a real master in weaving together the life story of Bob Gersony with broader narratives of American foreign policy from the 1970s well into the 2010s with a focus on key humanitarian responses and the institutional politics behind it. It is difficult not to be taken in by the “American dream” that Gersony has built throughout his career: the son of Jewish immigrants who stumbles

Links & Contents I Liked 407

Hi all, From the UK, Germany & Sweden we are venturing further afield to the DRC, Myanmar/India, Brunei Durassalam & even Australia! We are also continuing debates on sexual abuse in the aid sector, what is means to be a humanitarian, better research practices & being good travellers! Enjoy! My quotes of the week UK civil servants were given five to seven working days to prepare 30% cuts in the overseas aid budget last summer, including a £730m cut to bilateral aid that it later emerged was unnecessary. (UK civil servants given just days to prepare £2.9bn aid cuts in 2020) There's a lot of cost to being a humanitarian. You pay for it in terms of your mental health, your physical health, broken relationships, missed occasions with family and loved ones. I have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of my early experiences in difficult, brutal civil wars. But the way I deal with that is through something very joyous actually. I choose to be inte

Links & Contents I Liked 406

Hi all, I think this week's highlight is the 'new reports' section with so many great new readings to discover! There're also links to old men, Sean Penn & peacebuilding done right, but also mining in Kyrgyztan, contractors in Afghanistan & much more! Enjoy! My quotes of the week Reflect on your identity and motivations for working in the sector, and what privileges and ‘baggage’ you bring to your work. Remain humble. Shift access and power to those who don’t have it, in whatever ways you can. Organise and connect to networks and groups that support this agenda. (Time to Decolonise Aid) humanitarian country missions are not required to understand the contexts they work in. They are required to implement. Understanding is a bonus. From a managers’ point of view, having a staff member whose job was to ask difficult questions about the mission was at best a curiosity, at worst a threat. (Not a priority: the lack of contextual understanding in humanitarian missio