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“It’s Being, Not Doing”

Hospitality and Hostility between Local Faith Actors and International Humanitarian Organizations in Refugee Response

Olivia J. Wilkinson

Local faith actors are deeply involved in assisting refugees around the world. Their place in refugee response, however, can be in parallel with and, at times, in disagreement with the efforts of international humanitarian organizations. Focusing on the interactions between local faith actors and refugees and local faith actors and international organizations, the lenses of hospitality and hostility are used to analyze the tensions between these types of actors. Through a review of the literature and interviews with 21 key informants, I show that processes of marginalization occur to the extent that local faith actors lose their positions of host to the dominance of the international humanitarian system, and feelings of hostility ensue. This demonstrates to international actors why they might be ill received and how they can approach partnerships with local faith actors in more diplomatic ways.

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“Pour Aider Nos Frères d’Espagne”

Humanitarian Aid, French Women, and Popular Mobilization during the Front Populaire

Laurence Brown

The Spanish Civil War stirred an array of humanitarian relief campaigns in France that placed women in the front lines of popular mobilization. As communists, socialists, liberals, antifascists, feminists and pacifists, French women invoked the iconography and language of sexual difference to construct pro-Republican aid appeals as an expression of gendered social concern above party politics. Through exploring the female leaderships, organization, and popular participation in different relief campaigns, this article emphasizes the extent to which Spanish aid efforts were dominated by tensions within the Front Populaire.

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Giving Aid Inside the Home

Humanitarian House Visits, Performative Refugeehood, and Social Control of Syrians in Jordan

Ann-Christin Wagner

Through a hospitality lens, the article looks at an Evangelical grassroots organization’s practice of house visits to Syrian refugees in Mafraq, Jordan. It begins by situating the hosting practices of European volunteers in the context of Mafraq’s multi-layered NGO environment and within the emerging literature on the role of transnational support networks in faith-based humanitarianism. A review of philosophical and anthropological literatures reveals how power dynamics and bordering practices shape the hospitality encounter. Its function as a scale-shifter between the local and the national makes “hospitality” well-suited for the study of displacement. Subsequent parts of the article explore volunteers’ acts of infringement on Syrians’ hospitality code that allow them to “contain” refugees’ demands for aid. The final section revisits Boltanski’s theory of a “politics of pity” in communicating distant suffering. The set-up of house visits forces refugees to perform “suffering” which provides the raw material for volunteers’ moving testimonies back home.

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Syrian Diasporans as Transnational Civil Society Actors

Perspectives from a Network for Refugee Assistance

Shawn Teresa Flanigan and Mounah Abdel-Samad

This article presents early qualitative data from an ongoing project that includes interviews with members of a Syrian diaspora network engaged in giving and receiving philanthropy. With the onset of the Syrian refugee crisis, the network began to provide education for displaced Syrian children in Lebanon in addition to its other activities. The purpose of the research project is to understand motivations and mechanisms of humanitarian assistance toward a conflict region, and also if and how the practice of philanthropy is tied to peacebuilding on the ground and individuals’ sense of political efficacy. This article gives particular attention to the civil society aspects of diasporan assistance, and how those engaged in humanitarian aid conceive of their influence on politics, policy, and peacebuilding.

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Ebola and Accusation

Gender Dimensions of Stigma in Sierra Leone’s Ebola Response

Olive Melissa Minor

As Response and Resilience Team Anthropologist for Oxfam GB, my role was to support an inclusive, community-led Ebola response through a better understanding of gender dynamics in the context of the outbreak. This case study identified stigma and blame of affected people as key factors in the ongoing epidemic. Despite social mobilisation efforts to address these attitudes, they remained ingrained in the Ebola response at multiple levels: in Government of Sierra Leone quarantine policies, in community by-laws and in everyday social interactions. Negative attitudes put pressure on the roles of men and women in ways that produced barriers to acting on Ebola prevention and treatment advice or creating an inclusive Ebola response. Our findings prompted several improvements in Ebola response activities that Oxfam Sierra Leone carried forward in their work, demonstrating the key role applied anthropology can play in creating a reflexive process to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian aid.

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Ken MacLean

This article examines current debates for and against Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) in Myanmar. The analysis, based on interviews with key local, national, and international actors involved in HMA, reveals why so many of them regard the mapping and removal of “nuisance” landmines as posing a security threat to the peace process. (Landmines deny people access to territory; when conflict ends, these landmines no longer serve a strategic purpose and thus become a dangerous nuisance.) These same debates also shed light on the growing role risk management approaches now take in Myanmar as a response to decades of authoritarian misrule by a succession of military regimes. The landmines, although buried in the ground, actively unsettle such good governance initiatives and the neoliberal development projects to which they are often linked, most often by reterritorializing military, humanitarian, political, and economic authority in overlapping and conflicting ways at multiple scales. The findings reveal why HMA actors resist labeling the crisis landmine contamination poses to civilians as a “crisis” that requires immediate humanitarian action.

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Performing humanitarian militarism

Public security and the military in Brazil

Stephanie Savell

This article investigates a case in which the Brazilian military, according to national press, “invaded” and “occupied” a Rio de Janeiro favela neighborhood under the auspices of a public security program. Rio’s “pacification” program aims to replace drug trafficking organizations’ control of favelas with Pacifying Police Units and counts on the occasional participation of the military. Based on research with military personnel and favela residents, I investigate the construction and consequences of the pairing of militarism with humanitarianism. I show how these logics are not opposed, as they might at first sound, but in practice, deeply aligned. Among other reasons, both state force and state caregiving are performances to justify military presence on the streets to audiences in and outside the favela. The visible spectacle of humanitarian militarism effaces abuses and makes light of the everyday fears and insecurities suffered by the urban poor.

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Yolanda Spies and Patrick Dzimiri

The Responsibility to Protect is a new human security paradigm that re-conceptualizes state sovereignty as a responsibility rather than a right. Its seminal endorsement by the 2005 World Summit has however not consolidated the intellectual parameters of the norm. Neither has it succeeded in galvanizing R2P's doctrinal development; hence the January 2009 appeal by the UN secretary-general for the international community to operationalize R2P at the doctrinal level, in addition to at institutional and policy levels. R2P represents a critical stage in the debate on intervention for human protection purposes, but its key concepts require more exploration. Africa is a uniquely placed stakeholder in R2P on account of its disproportionate share of humanitarian crises and because Africans have played key roles in conceptualizing the norm. The continent should therefore not just offer an arena for, but indeed take the lead in, the conceptual journey that R2P's doctrinal development requires.

Spanish La responsabilidad de proteger es un nuevo paradigma de seguridad humana que reconceptualiza la soberanía del Estado como una responsabilidad en lugar de un derecho. Pese al respaldo inicial que obtuvo en la Cumbre Mundial de 2005, los parámetros intelectuales de esta norma no se han consolidado. En esta cumbre tampoco se logró fortalecer el desarrollo de la doctrina del R2P (Responsibility to Protect), por lo que se produjo un llamado en enero de 2009 por parte del secretario general de la ONU para poner en práctica el nivel de la doctrina del R2P, además de los niveles institucional y político. La R2P representa una etapa crítica en el debate sobre la intervención con fines de protección humana, pero sus conceptos clave requieren más profundización. África tiene una posición única en la R2P dada su parte desproporcionada en las crisis humanitarias y porque los africanos han tenido un papel clave en la conceptualización de la norma. Por ello, el continente debería no sólo ofrecer un espacio, sino de hecho tomar la delantera en el trazado conceptual que requiere el desarrollo de la doctrina de la R2P.

French Le «devoir de protection» est un nouveau paradigme de la sécurité humaine qui redéfinit la souveraineté de l'État comme une responsabilité plutôt que comme un droit. Cependant, lors du Sommet Mondial de 2005 les paramètres du concept n'ont pas été consolidés. Ce sommet n'a pas non plus réussi à activer le développement doctrinal du devoir de protection (en anglais «Responsibility to Protect» ou «R2P»), d'où l'appel lancé en janvier 2009 par le Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies à la communauté internationale pour qu'elle rende le «devoir de protection» opérationnel à un niveau doctrinal en plus des niveaux institutionnel et politique. Le devoir de protection représente un moment critique du débat sur les interventions ayant pour but la protection humaine, mais ses concepts méritent une analyse encore plus approfondie. En matière de devoir de protection, l'Afrique est une partie prenante incomparable, du fait de sa part disproportionnée de crises humanitaires, mais aussi parce que les Africains ont joué un rôle clé dans la conceptualisation de ce e norme-là. Dans ces conditions, le continent africain ne devrait-il pas, non seulement offrir le terrain d'étude, mais aussi prendre la tête dans le cheminement conceptuel que le développement doctrinal du devoir de protection exige ?

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Michael McGuire

In 1917 French and foreign agents reconstructed sections of Picardy destroyed by Operation Alberich, a “scorched-earth” program implemented by departing Germans. The region’s unanticipated maltreatment led French Third Army forces to evaluate and assist Picardy’s devastated homesteads and refugee-residents. Under General Georges Humbert, the Third Army implemented juxtaposing reconstruction policies in Picardy. Along with inhabitants, bureaucrats, and German prisoners of war, the Third Army initiated “a regime of temporary aid” that repaired property and provisioned civilians. Humbert’s subordinates also evacuated residents judged too ill, infirm, treacherous, or indolent for massive reconstruction projects. When extemporized statist programs proved insufficient for Picardy’s civilians, French ministries invited American and British humanitarians to inaugurate complementary and supplementary rehabilitation schemes designed to revive rural society and commerce. The conflicting confluence of these individuals’ consensual, coercive, patriotic, and philanthropic cultures de guerre within Picardy helped residents “demobilize” as refugees and “remobilize” for continued participation in World War I.

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Humanitarian Ideals between the Wars

(Re)Constructing Switzerland through Travel Writing

Sara Steinert Borella

Swiss authors and travelers Ella Maillart and Annemarie Schwarzenbach set off to drive from Switzerland to Afghanistan in a Ford roadster in late 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Their subsequent texts reveal as much about cultural norms prevalent in Switzerland in the late 1930s as they do about the actual journey to Afghanistan. This article explores Ella Maillart's The Cruel Way (1947) and Annemarie Schwarzenbach's All the Roads Are Open (2011) as constructions of the humanitarian principles that the Swiss have come to call their own. Both travel narratives call into question the national value of neutrality while echoing the language of emerging political and legal human rights discourses. The travel narratives of Maillart and Schwarzenbach thus contribute to the development of a literary discourse of human rights that will later become the standard narrative for Switzerland during and following World War II.