Links & Contents I Liked 443

Hi all,

In the first part of this week's review stories from the Gambia, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria & Niger. We are also celebrating the history of #globaldev feat Robert Chambers! And there is dust in Cairo, 10,000 World Bank policy papers & AI racism in Brazil as well!

My quotes of the week
Nothing about this approach was new. So-called farmer-managed natural regeneration had been practiced around the world in dryland systems for centuries. It was essentially how farmers in Niger had operated before colonialism. Rinaudo sought only to re-popularize and promote it—to convince farmers to capitalize on the deep roots their ancestors had left, both literally and figuratively, in the land.
(How farmers in Earth’s least developed country grew 200 million trees)

Move away from a Eurocentric, White savior view of humanitarian interventions.
View humanitarian functions as separate from the geopolitical hegemony of the Global North.
Move away from the pretense of “apolitical” humanitarianism. The attempt of depoliticizing humanitarianism is in itself a political position that accepts the status quo and delegitimizes any challenge to the current world order.
Link humanitarian aid with other social justice issues such as the action against racism, coloniality, and the effects of the climate crisis etc.
(Decolonising humanitarianism or humanitarian aid?)


Development news
Germany opens trial of Gambia death squad suspect
A Gambian man accused of belonging to a death squad appeared in court in Germany on Monday facing charges of crimes against humanity.
The suspect is also accused of murder and attempted murder as part of a group that assassinated opponents of dictator Yahya Jammeh.
DW on some interesting developments in Germany regarding transnational justice.

Tigray’s health system ‘totally collapsed’, say health workers
Tens of thousands of patients have been lost to the system. The regional health official noted that 46,000 diabetic patients were receiving treatment across Tigray before the war broke out, but only a small amount of insulin has been received through the Red Cross since June, and no oral antiglycemic drugs.
Another 64,000 patients were being treated for diseases related to hypertension during peacetime, while 58,000 people with HIV were also getting regular check-ups.
“Because of the communications blackout, we don’t know how many of these patients are still getting follow-ups,” the health official said. “We are trying to treat around 45 percent of HIV cases with limited resources. The rest, we don't know their whereabouts. Maybe they died.”
Power cuts have also caused interruptions to the oxygen supply at Ayder that have killed dozens of people since the start of the war. The health centre’s oxygen plant has caught fire twice in the last month because staff aren’t able to maintain it due to a lack of spare parts.
Fred Harter for the New Humanitarian with a report from one of the most urgent humanitarian crisis zones in the world.

Opinion: Locked out of classrooms, Afghan girls are taking drastic measures
Over the past 20 years, when Afghan women and girls were fighting for spaces in politics and public, we were told by members of the UN agencies, international human rights organizations and women leaders that there is an international law that protects you, there are UN Conventions, there are UN Security Council resolutions. But today I cannot say any of this to Heela's mother, who doesn't sleep at night with the fear that Heela might try again to end her life.
To global women leaders, feminists' movements, women and human rights activists internationally, I ask: are the rights of Afghan women not relevant anymore? The US government has certainly turned a blind eye to them. And if the international rhetoric, laws and UN Resolutions do not protect the rights of Afghan women and girls, can women in other parts of the world really trust these systems?
Wazhma Frogh for CNN asks tough questions on behalf of girls & women in Afghanistan.

The complex humanitarian emergency in Venezuela 
Since 2016, the ongoing political and socioeconomic crisis has resulted in political instability, economic decline, deterioration of state structures and services and increases in corruption, crime and violence, undermining people’s livelihoods, health and security. More than 6 million people have left the country, almost 5 million of whom have moved to other countries in the region. More than 1.8 million have sought refuge in Colombia.
The latest issue of the Humanitarian Practice Network's Humanitarian Exchange features a lot of interesting insights into Venezuela from a range of local experts.

Massacre in Tadamon: how two academics hunted down a Syrian war criminal
Annsar remembers well the moment she hit send on her friend request, and the excitement she felt when her prey accepted. After all this time, the bait had been set. Now she needed to reel him in. The first call was fleeting; Amjad was suspicious and ended the call quickly. But something in that initial conversation had whetted his curiosity. The hunter had become the hunted. Was it the thrill of talking to a strange woman, the need to interrogate someone who dared to approach him, or something else? Either way, when Amjad video-called three months later, Annsar pressed record, and “Anna” answered the call.
After all these years, there he was; stern at first, very much in character as a spy who controlled all his conversations and readily deployed stony silence as a weapon. He uttered few words, and when he did speak he mumbled, forcing his listener to strain to hear him. Anna Sh did all she could to disarm Amjad, grinning sheepishly, giggling and deferring to him as he peppered her with questions, all delivered on his terms. Gradually his frozen face begins to relax, and Anna won the floor.
Martin Chulov for the Guardian with a powerful long-read on another almost-forgotten crisis, international justice & the limits of academics' involvement in war crimes.

How farmers in Earth’s least developed country grew 200 million trees
Nothing about this approach was new. So-called farmer-managed natural regeneration had been practiced around the world in dryland systems for centuries. It was essentially how farmers in Niger had operated before colonialism. Rinaudo sought only to re-popularize and promote it—to convince farmers to capitalize on the deep roots their ancestors had left, both literally and figuratively, in the land.
(...)
To be clear, Niger remains a place where food insecurity is still among the world’s worst. Growing trees won’t be nearly enough to feed a country whose population is expanding at a lightning clip. But it certainly can help.
In 2005 and 2011, more droughts struck the country. Niger’s grain deficit hit half a million tons. Reij sent a team to examine food data over a several-year period. While many small holders faced ruin, densely populated districts that had resurrected trees actually still produced a multi-ton surplus.
Katarina Höije & Craig Welch for National Geographic with an excellent feature from Niger on pre-colonial knowledge & the chances + limitation of planting trees...
Digital Humanitarianism in a Kinetic War: Taking Stock of Ukraine
At the same time, in the context of the long-standing humanitarian struggle for accountability, where the role of aid organisations as intermediaries have been criticised, the promise of these digital solutions is that ordinary users – everywhere – will have access to more transparent, direct, and efficient financial transactions. As researchers we need to untangle how the promise of localization and even emancipation is ever more tightly interwoven with market logic. These changes might also reshape humanitarianism, from who funds aid, which type of aid is provided, to how aid is delivered. Not only a research agenda is then needed, but also new policies will have to be developed in the future to guide digital humanitarianism. Thus, in conclusion, we suggest that a useful approach is to understand Ukraine not as a terrain for experimental humanitarian technology but as constituting humanitarian-oriented digital transformation.
Rodrigo Mena & Kristin Bergtora Sandvik for Global Policy with a very comprehensive overview over digital tools for humanitarian action in Ukraine.

The legacy of Nigerian music star Orlando Julius must not be overlooked
Much forgotten in the discourse and performance of postcolonial Nigerian popular music, Julius is often blurred, conflicted, and sometimes subsumed with his namesake and older highlife crooner Orlando Owoh. Perhaps because literature on highlife music has sparingly touched on Julius’ work, his place in Nigerian music history remains somewhat fluid, maybe even fickle.
Garhe Osiebe & Austin Emielu for the Conversation remember a great musician.

Revolutionising and Recasting Development – Building forward from the work of Robert Chambers
Editors and contributors to the book Revolutionizing Development: Reflections on the work of Robert Chambers in a hybrid event to celebrate its re-launch in open access form and discuss its implications for the future of development and development studies.
IDS celebrates Robert Chambers' 90th birthday & I watch the livestream and felt a lot of positive vibes about the past, present & future of #globaldev studies :)!

Colin Fuller – Obituary
Colin Fuller retired from the University 24 years ago. That is time that could be forgotten – but, for many alumni hearing of Colin’s death will be the saddest news and each will have their own very happy and fond memories of Colin. On behalf of University colleagues (past and present) and DAS/IDPM alumni please do raise a glass (ideally with a good red wine in it) and say “Thank you Colin for your limitless energy, warm humour, and loud laughter…you will be missed”.
David Hulme & Jayne Hindle for Global Development Institute Blog; I didn't know Colin, but I wish I had met him.

A Geopolitics of Dust
Dust holds the promise of intimacy, as we wipe dust off surfaces we become attuned to the shape of a surface or the other, it takes shape through our touch. Dust is part of intimate and everyday encounters. We produce dust. We shed as many as 70 million microorganisms per hour making our home dust as diverse as a jungle, as our leftovers attach to other life and non-life forms (BBC 2017). Dust knows us, contains our registers, falls from us and comes back to haunt us after we have swept it away.
Aya Nassar for Disembodied Territories on dusty Cairo.

Ten Books to Help Understand the Conflicts in South Sudan and Ethiopia
My first memoir, A Road Called Down on Both Sides: Growing up in Ethiopia and America, weaves my story—of living in almost in the same house, during four of Ethiopia’s revolutions—with the story of Ethiopia, as they are woven in my heart. I later spent four years in Nairobi, traveling in and out of civil war-torn South Sudan for women’s development and peace work. In my second memoir, Today is Tomorrow, I tell that story.
Caroline Kurtz for Literary Hub with an overview of many excellent books, including her own memoirs!

Our digital lives
How AI reinforces racism in Brazil
The issue is particularly acute in Brazil where, until recently, there was a pervasive idea that the country was an ethnically diverse society free of discrimination, a so-called “racial democracy.” But, over the years, anti-racist activists have argued that institutional racism has repressed Black people in Brazil too. As a result, Brazil’s Black population experiences greater rates of poverty and police brutality. Silva told Rest of World that Brazil’s idealized, color-blind approach to government erases people of color and the repression they face.
Silva believes that algorithmic racism works in much the same way. “We were told that the internet erases identity, but the opposite is true,” Silva told Rest of World. By not overtly addressing implicitly encoded racism, predominantly white Brazilian lawmakers and global developers unwittingly fail to account for racism in Brazil’s society and technology’s algorithms.
Alex González Ormerod for Rest of World on a new book on AI's implications on Brazil.

Publications
Decolonising humanitarianism or humanitarian aid?
To ensure that humanitarian engagement moves from the position of willing complicity to active solidarity, we see the following as moral imperatives:Move away from a Eurocentric, White savior view of humanitarian interventions.
View humanitarian functions as separate from the geopolitical hegemony of the Global North.
Move away from the pretense of “apolitical” humanitarianism. The attempt of depoliticizing humanitarianism is in itself a political position that accepts the status quo and delegitimizes any challenge to the current world order.
Link humanitarian aid with other social justice issues such as the action against racism, coloniality, and the effects of the climate crisis etc.
Move away from making decisions on behalf of people to following their lead and providing technical assistance and resources when they need it.
Prioritize Indigenous humanitarian actors in all countries who shoulder the burden of assistance. The international community should be working for them, not vice versa.
Tammam Aloudat & Themrise Khan with a new open access article in PLOS Global Public Health.

A World Bank Research milestone – Policy Research Working Paper No. 10,000
It took 34 years since 1988 for the PRWP series to publish its first 10,000 working papers. After a slightly slower pace at the beginning, since 2000 the PRWP has published around 350 papers year. At this rate, PRWP No. 20,000 will be published somewhere around 2050.
Aart Kraay for the World Bank looks at interesting trends of publishing 10k policy papers, many of which have not been downloaded once...on the other hand more than 152k downloads for 'The Role of Education Quality for Economic Growth'...

What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 233, 19 May 2017)

Revolution and Authoritarianism in North Africa (book review)
I thoroughly enjoyed Revolution and Authoritarianism in North Africa.
It provides plenty of food for thought and discussion and will certainly make a very good introductory text for students before they start discussing the countries, societies and revolutionary dynamics in more detail. Volpi’s book also makes a very important contribution to the emerging debate on how ‘we’, particularly in academia, need to continue with nuanced and careful analysis as mediatized events gain momentum and sound bites replace complex reflections.
Especially the political science and international relations community also needs to admit how limited their power of prediction really is when contested spaces are re-negotiated.
Me, reviewing an interesting book.

The Trouble with Medical "Voluntourism"
When help harms, it pulls scarce expertise away from patients and puts mothers and babies at risk. Such interference causes sometimes permanent damage and increases patients’ chances of sepsis and death.
Ultimately, patients and local health systems need foreigners’ good intentions to be re-directed towards the people on the ground, already doing the meaningful work in the long term. Putting the safety and needs of local health systems and patients first will ensure help doesn’t harm.
Noelle Sullivan for Scientific American with a post on the 'classic' topic of volunteering and voluntourism that is still as relevant as it was in 2017...

My travels in Uganda, like life, were not as perfect as the pictures
I went to a new country, believing that the majority of people in the world were trustworthy, with good intentions. I left, defeated, carrying new "street-smart" skills I had to learn to prevent myself from being exploited.
I was cheated nearly everywhere in the city due to my lack of knowledge about market prices. Boda drivers overcharged me, fruit-market ladies cheated me and the property manager conned me. But that was just money.
I posted beautiful pictures of my trip to the islands, with an incredible jungle trek and a beautiful sunset. But I didn't show you how my friend and I were left stranded on a ferry port after the bus took our money and left. I didn't show you the tears I shed while trying to negotiate with a boda driver to take us to the city. I didn't show you the pain of the motorcycle digging into my lower back as we tried to fit three people and two luggage bags on an hour-long ride along a dusty, dry road.
Facebook is a fraud.
No wait, scratch that. I am a fraud.
Justina Li for the Globe And Mail with her post from Uganda that is probably also still accurate for some expats experiencing 'Africa' for the first time...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dear white middle class British women: Please don't send used bras (or anything, really) to Africa

Links & Contents I Liked 444

Links & Contents I Liked 445

Are personal #globaldev blogs a thing of the past?