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.
In August 2017 in Rwanda, the presidential election resulted, unsurprisingly, in a “landslide victory” for the Rwandan Patriotic Front candidate, Paul Kagame, who secured 98.79% of the votes cast. No one in Rwanda however, delighted or disappointed with the result, supporter or opponent of Kagame, has forgotten the mass crimes that were committed during the conflict that spanned the 1990s, and particularly the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994. Several texts by members and associates of MSF-Crash published between 1994 and 2017 are gathered in this dossier.
Interview with Jean-Hervé Bradol and Marc Le Pape. The book is published by Manchester University Press and will be out in January 2017.
Throughout the 1990s, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was forced to face the challenges posed by the genocide of Rwandan Tutsis and a succession of major outbreaks of political violence in Rwanda and its neighbouring countries.
Rony Brauman focuses on the humanitarian environment and practices in war, in order to try to understand and analyze its political and ethical stakes. Starting with the creation of the Red Cross at the end of the XIXth century, he then focused on the contemporary postcolonial period, switching between various scales and reporting on contradictory points of view and issues.
How do Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) differ, and how are they alike?
To embark upon a study of this theme is to enter a field strewn with contradictory representations linked to a highly sensitive issue – the limits of our responsibility – that has generated endless disagreements and debates on our “identity” and the existence or nonexistence of a role for MSF “beyond care”.