How much is known about the daily experiences of humanitarian workers in extreme situations such as major conflict or disaster? In their new book, “Humanitarian Aid, Genocide and Mass Killings: Médecins sans frontières, the Rwandan experience, 1982-97”, Marc Le Pape and Jean-Hervé Bradol set out to answer some of these questions. The book is also informed by Bradol’s experience of working for Médecins Sans Frontières in Rwanda during the genocide.
The articles and essays in this publication discuss the specific context in which famines arise and the responses mobilised to address them. MSF has been involved in a number of famine responses (Uganda 1980, Ethiopia 1984-1985, Somalia 1991-1993) and has contributed to many chronic and acute malnutrition operations (Niger, Sudan and Ethiopia in particular in the 2000s). As theses famines were systematically related to armed conflict, the political implications are particularly significant and consequently, feature as a common theme in most of the analyses.
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.