OFF THE CUFF is a participative blog run by the Crash. Its purpose is to expose the diversity of experiences and opinions that exist among humanitarian aid practitioners. Online comments as well as direct contributions are more than welcome.
Views expressed on this blog are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Médecins Sans Frontières
Using Niger as an example, this text seeks to explore the dilemmas involved in medical responses to child malnutrition when such malnutrition is endemic (strong, permanent presence) and gives rise to seasonal peaks (epidemics) each year.
Should military forces be dispatched to a foreign country to save its population from massacre, famine, epidemics, or oppression? Debated in the 1990s as the "right or duty to intervene", the application of military might to rescue populations in danger is today debated as the "responsibility to protect".
Was the flotilla boarded by the Israeli army on a "humanitarian" or "political" mission? Is there a "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza or not? The answers to the questions everyone has been asking over the last few days say nothing about the situation itself but do tell us something about the already well-known opinions of those giving them.
On March 3, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen sent a direct appeal to the humanitarian community. Acknowledging the limits of military force in the stabilization and reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, he wants to create a closer partnership with the NGOs.
Emotions generated by the brutal and murderous character of a natural disaster are not calmed by the feeling that the victims bear a certain responsibility for the origins of the drama.
The article written by Christian Troubé, "The end of humanitarianism without borders?", published by Grotius.fr, and based on a description of humanitarianism of ‘yesteryear', strikes a cord with many of today's humanitarian figures.