A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector

the process, we made the decision to focus on a single case study (of humanitarian intervention in Somalia since the 1990s) and to focus our activities on a workshop format. This approach, we felt, would concentrate our discussions and make tangible the lessons learnt more effectively than attempting to find answers to such far-reaching questions in a global context. Somalia was selected because of its pivotal role in redefining humanitarian aid in the post-Cold War era. The crisis in the region altered understandings of humanitarian intervention as a tool of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction

of studies on humanitarian space ( Collinson and Elhawary, 2012 ) and humanitarian negotiations, particularly in Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia ( Jackson, 2014 ; Jackson and Giustozzi, 2012 ). In 2014, Larissa Fast published Aid in Danger ( Fast, 2014 ), a timely book reminding humanitarian organisations of their responsibility to work on internal vulnerabilities, such as individual behaviour or organisational lapses. Fast’s main intention was to challenge what she dubbed ‘humanitarian exceptionalism

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

, 20 , 18 – 44 . Kiser , M. ( 2013 ), ‘ How Somali Pirates and Terrorists Made Bank off Two Western Hostages ’, Vocativ , 10 : 24 ED, http://goo.gl/n7q5CE (accessed 28 June 2019) . Lapan , H. E. and Sandler , T. ( 1988 ), ‘ To Bargain or Not to Bargain: That Is the Question ’, American Economic Review , 78 : 2 , 16 – 21 . Leslie , B. ( 2011 ), ‘ In Harm’s Way ’, Canadian Insurance Risk Manager , available at www.citopbroker.com/your-business/in-harms-way-2958 (accessed 28 June 2019) . McLean , D. ( 2016 ), ‘ The Shadowy Theatre of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

, Rwanda and the entire Great Lakes region of Africa became particularly high-risk areas for aid workers. It was during the intervention in Somalia in 1992 that the interface between security, operational procedures and humanitarian principles became central for MdM. The political and security climate at the time confined NGOs to urban centres across Somalia, while the looting of humanitarian convoys by armed men on the main roads made regular aid delivery to the IDP (internally displaced person) camps difficult. Was armed protection necessary to ensure access to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

to see that the (post)colonial run-up to genocide was a story of too much intervention, even in the name of democracy. During my doctoral research, I rediscovered the case of Somaliland. A self-declared independent republic in the north-western corner of Somalia, Somaliland had declined US and UN interventions at the beginning of the 1990s, apart from specific assistance (the clean-up of landmines, for example). Instead, it took care of its peace-building process internally and with its diaspora. Over the years, even though the international

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction

multinational military task force into Somalia, with the stated aim of protecting relief operations. These humanitarian wars, and others that followed during the 1990s, were waged not only to respond to a perceived evil but also to define good and evil and the limits of acceptable behaviour ( Fiori, 2018 ). Other Western governments also now looked to humanitarian agencies as allies in the liberal transformation of the developing world. During the Cold War, humanitarian NGOs had generally been limited to operating in countries under Western tutelage, but

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles

Tutsi genocide. The mass killings in Bosnia and Rwanda – coming on the heels of the Somali and Liberian civil wars – created a landscape of widespread violence, ‘anarchic conflicts’ in which not even humanitarian workers or journalists were safe. People stressed the contrast with earlier conflicts, which were kept in check by the superpowers, making the combatants accessible, at least in theory, to humanitarian efforts. ‘Civilians are not simply the victims of conflicts, they are the very target of conflicts; this is a significant change, at least with regard to the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

scale of human suffering remains prodigious and that for as much good as they do, humanitarians frequently do little in terms of a net reduction in suffering and misery (think Haiti, Syria, Somalia, DRC, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, South Sudan). Much suffering – private violence, civil and gang wars, state predation, poverty, insecurity – is untouched by humanitarian intervention of any kind, yet this is everyday reality for billions of people. One function of the entire humanitarian enterprise might be to obscure root causes and allow those who, en

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)

to offend brutally the opinion of moral people in their own or other countries’. 2 The four interventions were successful in stopping the ‘effusion of blood’. They were not merely better than nothing (as in the case of Somalia today), too late (Rwanda) or leading to inordinate destruction, refugees and civilian deaths (Kosovo/Serbia). The insurgents themselves sought foreign armed intervention to save them. With the exception of the Cubans

in Humanitarian intervention in the long nineteenth century
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Colonial body into postcolonial narrative

demonstrates in his (now tragically prescient) novel of Somali identity Maps (1986), within the symbolic make-up of the male nationalist, pride of place is held by a great mother ideal, a multimammia figure.15 The hero Askar’s entry into manhood coincides with his discovery of himself as national son to Mother Somalia: something which began with the pain of a rite had ended in the joy of a greater self-discovery, one in which he held on to the milky breast of a common mother that belonged to him as much as anyone else. A generous mother, a manybreasted mother, a many

in Stories of women