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A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis

by

A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

Named by the Los Angeles Times Book Review as one of the ten best nonfiction books of 2002, A Bed for the Night reveals how humanitarian organizations trying to bring relief are often betrayed and misused, and have increasingly lost sight of their purpose. Drawing on firsthand reporting from hot war zones around the world--Bosnia, Rwanda, Congo, Kosovo, Sudan, and most recently Afghanistan--David Rieff shows us what humanitarian aid workers do in the field and the growing gap between their noble ambitions and their actual capabilities to alleviate suffering. Tracing the origins of major humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and CARE, he describes how many of them have moved from their founding principle of neutrality, which gave them access to victims, to encouraging the international community to take action to stop civil wars and ethnic cleansing. Rieff demonstrates how this advocacy has come at a high price. By overreaching, the humanitarian movement has allowed itself to be hijacked by the major powers, sometimes to become a fig leaf for actions that those powers take in their own national interests, as in Afghanistan, sometimes for their inaction, as in Bosnia and Rwanda. With the exception of cases of genocide, where the moral imperative to act overrides all other considerations, Rieff contends that if humanitarian organizations are to continue doing what they do best--alleviating suffering--they must remain independent.

Synopsis:

Timely and controversial, A Bed for the Night reveals how humanitarian organizations are often betrayed and misused, and have increasingly lost sight of their purpose. Drawing on firsthand reporting from war zones around the world, David Rieff shows us what aid workers do in the field and the growing gap between their noble ambitions and their actual capabilities for alleviating suffering. He describes how many humanitarian organizations have moved from their founding principle of neutrality, which gave them access to victims, to encouraging the international community to take action to stop civil wars and ethnic cleansing. By calling for intervention, humanitarian organizations risk being seen as taking sides in a conflict and thus jeopardizing their access to victims. And by overreaching, the humanitarian movement has allowed itself to be hijacked by the major powers. Rieff concludes that if humanitarian organizations are to do what they do best — alleviate suffering — they must reclaim their independence.

About the Author

David Rieff is the author of five previous books, including the acclaimed Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West. He continues to cover wars and humanitarian emergencies in many parts of the world. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction

SECTION ONE Designated Consciences

1 The Humanitarian Paradox

2 The Hazards of Charity

3 A Saving Idea

SECTION TWO Dreams and Realities

4 Bosnia

5 Rwanda

SECTION THREE The Death of a Good Idea

6 Kosovo

7 Afghanistan

8 Endgame or Rebirth?

Conclusion

A Note on Sources

A Note on Major Humanitarian Organizations

Humanitarian and International Organizations

Acknowledgments

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743252119
Author:
Rieff, David
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
International agencies
Subject:
Humanitarianism
Subject:
International relief
Subject:
War relief.
Subject:
International Relations - General
Subject:
General Current Events
Subject:
Public Policy - Social Services & Welfare
Subject:
Political Advocacy
Subject:
General Political Science
Subject:
Politics - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B102
Series Volume:
281.
Publication Date:
October 2003
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 17.71 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Human Rights
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
History and Social Science » Social Science » Disasters and Disaster Relief
History and Social Science » Sociology » Children and Family
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Travel » General

A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis Used Trade Paper
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Product details 400 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780743252119 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Timely and controversial, A Bed for the Night reveals how humanitarian organizations are often betrayed and misused, and have increasingly lost sight of their purpose. Drawing on firsthand reporting from war zones around the world, David Rieff shows us what aid workers do in the field and the growing gap between their noble ambitions and their actual capabilities for alleviating suffering. He describes how many humanitarian organizations have moved from their founding principle of neutrality, which gave them access to victims, to encouraging the international community to take action to stop civil wars and ethnic cleansing. By calling for intervention, humanitarian organizations risk being seen as taking sides in a conflict and thus jeopardizing their access to victims. And by overreaching, the humanitarian movement has allowed itself to be hijacked by the major powers. Rieff concludes that if humanitarian organizations are to do what they do best — alleviate suffering — they must reclaim their independence.
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