mysophobia 潔癖

Nastiness Diagnosis. Anthropology. Religion. Gender. Justice. A Personal Notepad For the General Public.

About Those Good Intentions

Frustrated with what they perceive as their inability to change the politics of their own nation, some feel that they might make more of an impact in a different nation (Mathers, 2010, p. 169). Yet this assumes that other societies are less complex, easier to change and even receptive to outsiders bringing about change for them. If one feels that Africa is oppressed, then why assume that is to Africa that one must go, rather than work at home to change the policies of one’s country, for example, supporting debt forgiveness, challenging unjust trade and aid policies, reining in your corporations, or pushing for the demilitarization of the foreign relations of one’s own country? It is important not to assume that others are simply waiting for a stranger to come and lead them, like a Hollywood tale of the usual white messiah who is always the hero of other people’s stories.
What other agendas are facilitated by military intervention, such that the “cure” can end up being worse than the “illness”? How is war consistent with the defense of human rights? How do you avoid the risk of prolonging, widening and further militarizing a local political conflict by intervening militarily?

ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY


The following, the final in our series of extracts, comes from my chapter, “Imperial Abduction Lore and Humanitarian Seduction,” which serves as the introduction to Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Imperial Humanitarianism (Montreal: Alert Press, 2014), pp. 1-34.

This section was primarily addressed to students as readers, and any constructive feedback would be appreciated.


There are many valid and unimpeachable reasons why students might be considering humanitarian work and/or working for a NGO. There is no gainsaying that many students have genuine, sincere, and heartfelt reasons for coming to the aid of others: those who come from privileged backgrounds might feel the need to “give back”; those who come from backgrounds of struggle might be determined to lessen the burden of disadvantage on others like them. Having read chapters such as the ones in this volume, or several others, and having been asked to question their…

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This entry was posted on October 13, 2014 by in 【Anti-Orientalism 】 and tagged , .
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