Haiti and Beyond
Distributed for Seagull Books
Seeing the terrible and frightening scenes of death and distress in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, many of us immediately responded by seeking ways to send help and were reassured when governments around the world offered to do the same. Popular support of that sort of humanitarian assistance rests on the assumption that it is politically disinterested, purely philanthropic, and responds to the needs of the moment. However, in practice, argues Neil Middleton, it is no such thing.
In this work, Middleton shows how humanitarian assistance is driven by the international politics of those countries wealthy enough to mount aid programs. Though the assistance offered includes providing food, water, medical care, and shelter, the distribution of these needs often involves armed forces who provide security and assist with logistics. Using case studies from Somalia and Sudan, both of which have been devastated by internal wars, Middleton reveals that though circumstances differ in every country that receives aid, by accepting the assistance each country becomes similarly vulnerable to the donors’ international policies and interests. This surprising look at the intersection of global philanthropy and politics will interest concerned civilians and aid professionals alike.