The Golden Fleece: Manipulation and Independence in Humanitarian Action

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9781565494886: The Golden Fleece: Manipulation and Independence in Humanitarian Action

The Golden Fleece delves into questions that are rarely asked and seldom answered. It examines the impact of manipulation on the effectiveness of humanitarian action. The tension between fundamental humanitarian values – the prioritization of life-saving over all other considerations – and political or economic agendas is not new. Relief work has long been subject to manipulation by governments, warlords, public opinion, disembodied realpolitik, and to the calculations of humanitarians themselves. As Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire notes in his Foreward, "the sacrosanct principles of neutrality and humanitarian space have been used and abused by many in ways which ultimately benefit killers rather than the victims of armed conflict."

This book takes a long view, starting with the origins of organized humanitarianism in the mid-19th century and zeroes in on the twenty-plus years since the end of the Cold War. It examines whether instrumentalization has achieved its desired objectives, whether political manipulation is greater today than before, and whether the recent dramatic growth of relief work has opened up humanitarian action to greater manipulation.

Humanitarianism has blossomed from a relatively marginal activity in the shadow of interstate wars to a central feature of international relations; it is now part of global governance, if not of government. It has also become a much-used fig leaf to camouflage global and local failures of governance that often result in further misery for those at the mercy of conflict and crisis.

The Golden Fleece asks whether saving lives is, by its very nature, prone to instrumentalization or whether humanitarianism can be transformed and made more immune to manipulation. Building on decades of experience at the frontlines of the world’s most devastating crises, the authors chronicle the successes and failures of a humanitarian enterprise that, despite its limitations, remains central to the survival of millions of vulnerable and dispossessed people around the world. They argue that the practical and moral resistance against intolerable suffering is an urgent, necessary and critical imperative. It is at the core of what it means to be human.

The Golden Fleece made the list of "Must-Read Books in Peace and Security for 2013" from International Peace Institute's Global Observatory blog. See following link: http://www.theglobalobservatory.org/reports/408-must-read-books-in-peace-and-security-for-2013.html

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About the Author:

Antonio Donini is Senior Researcher at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University.

Review:

"This book is a result of many years of careful and empirical study of humanitarian programming by Tufts University’s Feinstein International Center—a team that has made a very significant impact on humanitarian learning. Antonio Donini and his colleagues have done great service by analysing the dynamics of aid manipulation and this book is obligatory reading for all in security and humanitarian studies. But, having read it, please do not put it down and think that aid does more harm than good. The book does not set out to make this calculation, and it should never be assumed. Humanitarian action is a precious and growing part of globalization that needs to be respected and improved, and manipulated as little as possible. The work of neutral, contested and coopted agencies alike saves lives in the real world. A more principled approach can make this saving fairer."

"The book is an excellent resource on contemporary humanitarian debates and particularly useful as a teaching and learning resource in universities."

"The main thesis of the Golden Fleece focuses on the balance between humanitarian values (life-saving) and political-economic agendas and points out that achieving this balance has been an ongoing challenge in humanitarian aid since its beginnings. The key to ensuring that continuing challenges are met and successes continue requires a clear understanding that humanitarian aid does not have an endpoint but is a constantly unfolding process in which milestones mark the path paved by lessons learned."

"The Golden Fleece is a timely reminder of how the basic human rights and severe needs of victims of conflict and other crisis are being overshadowed by politicization of aid and manipulation of humanitarian values and interventions. In Afghanistan compassion, coupled with local coping mechanisms, played vital roles in enabling Afghan women and children in particular to survive bitter years of war and civil strife. This book is well worth reading to educate ourselves about the challenges that confront effective humanitarian interventions in violent and challenging environments."
Dr. Sima Samar, Chair, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission."

"Since the end of the Cold War international humanitarian assistance has massively increased. Does this herald a more humane and caring world? Or, alternatively, a world in which the will to help is subordinate to political calculation and Western moral superiority? Can humanitarianism exist outside such contingencies? The Golden Fleece directly interrogates these most pressing issues. With contributions from leading scholars and practitioners, this historically informed collection represents an outstanding contribution to the debate. It is essential reading for the specialist, student and general reader seeking a sure gateway into the current humanitarian field."

"As the humanitarian enterprise heads towards an increasingly uncertain future, it is imperative that all those involved at a policy and practical level better understand and learn from its highly chequered past. This sweeping volume applies the insights and experiences of veteran insiders of the aid industry to several historical and contemporary crises, and provides a sobering reminder that few of the challenges faced by aid agencies today are completely without precedent. The case studies show that these challenges are nevertheless magnified by the size and behavior of the industry itself, which must change if we are to avoid repeating shameful operations like that in response to the Haiti earthquake, so well described in this volume. It is only when we acknowledge and understand how humanitarian action is manipulated and instrumentalized at all levels of the system, including aid organizations themselves, that we can hope to minimize the harm caused to those who we profess to assist."

"By positioning today's humanitarianism in a remarkably comprehensive historical sweep and broad range of contexts, the authors push us to come to terms with many old, and some quite new, challenges to humanitarian principles. The depth of experience included here makes this a must read for newcomers-and for old hands-in the field."

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Book Description Kumarian Press, United States, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Golden Fleece delves into questions that are rarely asked and seldom answered. It examines the impact of manipulation on the effectiveness of humanitarian action. The tension between fundamental humanitarian values - the prioritisation of life-saving over all other considerations - and political or economic agendas is not new. Relief work has long been subject to manipulation by governments, warlords, public opinion, disembodied realpolitik, and to the calculations of humanitarians themselves. As Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire notes in his Preface, the sacrosanct principles of neutrality and humanitarian space have been used and abused by many in ways which ultimately benefit killers rather than the victims of armed conflict. This book takes a long view, starting with the origins of organised humanitarianism in the mid-19th century and zeroes in on the twenty-plus years since the end of the Cold War. It examines whether instrumentalisation has achieved its desired objectives, whether political manipulation is greater today than before, and whether the recent dramatic growth of relief work has opened up humanitarian action to greater manipulation. Humanitarianism has blossomed from a relatively marginal activity in the shadow of interstate wars to a central feature of international relations; it is now part of global governance, if not of government. It has also become a much-used fig leaf to camouflage global and local failures of governance that often result in further misery for those at the mercy of conflict and crisis. The Golden Fleece asks whether saving lives is, by its very nature, prone to instrumentalisation or whether humanitarianism can be transformed and made more immune to manipulation. Building on decades of experience at the frontlines of the world s most devastating crises, the authors chronicle the successes and failures of a humanitarian enterprise that, despite its limitations, remains central to the survival of millions of vulnerable and dispossessed people around the world. They argue that the practical and moral resistance against intolerable suffering is an urgent, necessary and critical imperative. It is at the core of what it means to be human. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781565494886

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Book Description Kumarian Press, United States, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Golden Fleece delves into questions that are rarely asked and seldom answered. It examines the impact of manipulation on the effectiveness of humanitarian action. The tension between fundamental humanitarian values - the prioritisation of life-saving over all other considerations - and political or economic agendas is not new. Relief work has long been subject to manipulation by governments, warlords, public opinion, disembodied realpolitik, and to the calculations of humanitarians themselves. As Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire notes in his Preface, the sacrosanct principles of neutrality and humanitarian space have been used and abused by many in ways which ultimately benefit killers rather than the victims of armed conflict. This book takes a long view, starting with the origins of organised humanitarianism in the mid-19th century and zeroes in on the twenty-plus years since the end of the Cold War. It examines whether instrumentalisation has achieved its desired objectives, whether political manipulation is greater today than before, and whether the recent dramatic growth of relief work has opened up humanitarian action to greater manipulation. Humanitarianism has blossomed from a relatively marginal activity in the shadow of interstate wars to a central feature of international relations; it is now part of global governance, if not of government. It has also become a much-used fig leaf to camouflage global and local failures of governance that often result in further misery for those at the mercy of conflict and crisis. The Golden Fleece asks whether saving lives is, by its very nature, prone to instrumentalisation or whether humanitarianism can be transformed and made more immune to manipulation. Building on decades of experience at the frontlines of the world s most devastating crises, the authors chronicle the successes and failures of a humanitarian enterprise that, despite its limitations, remains central to the survival of millions of vulnerable and dispossessed people around the world. They argue that the practical and moral resistance against intolerable suffering is an urgent, necessary and critical imperative. It is at the core of what it means to be human. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781565494886

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