Category Archives: Books

Everything you ever wanted to know about humanitarianism, but were afraid to ask…

Droit et pratique de l’action humanitaire Marina Eudes, Philippe Ryfman, Sandra Szurek (dir.) L.G.D.J, Collection Traités, octobre 2019 (published in French)

Publisher’s note
Humanitarian action, as one of the main international public policies deployed permanently on all continents, is currently providing aid to some 200  million beneficiaries.

The first UN-led World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 highlighted the challenges it now faces, as evidenced by the dimension taken with the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, the spread of NGOs’ humanitarian aid, the affirmation of State humanitarianism and the involvement of international organisations.

Humanitarian action is characterised by plurality, diversity and the dispersion of the norms on which it is based, or which it itself produces, notably as a specific professional and social order, with its own ethics, its own language, and as a genuine globalised economy.

Thus, scientific interest justifies apprehending humanitarian action as an autonomous object of analysis, based on a global vision that factors in all circumstances in which it unfolds.

The aim of this book unique amongst French scientific and academic literature is to present the widest and most complete panorama by combining – also uniquely the resources of the law with those of other disciplines, and by bringing together academics, researchers and renowned practitioners. The book hopes to offer food for thought on what the “humanitarian ecosystem” is, the questions raised by its choices and aims between emergency relief and sustainable development.

Students and researchers will appreciate this book, with its scope and insight into practices that had been lacking in their specialty. Practitioners will recognise this in-depth analysis as a useful tool for contemporary humanitarian action.

Edited by Sandra Szurek, Professor Emeritus of the University of Paris Nanterre, Associate Professor at the Institute of Higher International Studies (IHEI) of the University of Paris II Pantheon-Assas, Marina Eudes, Master HDR lecturer at the University of Paris Nanterre, member of CEDIN, Director of the International Criminal Organisations and Courts Diploma, Philippe Ryfman, Professor and Honorary Associate Researcher in the Department of Political Science at the Sorbonne, Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, lawyer and consultant.

Two brothers in pictures, a country’s heritage

Iran, rêves et dérives Reza et Manoocher Deghati Hoëbeke, octobre 2019 (published in French)

Publisher’s note

Reza and Manoocher Deghati, brothers and photojournalists who grew up in Iran in the 1950s and were forced into exile in the early 1980s, present their exclusive period archives for the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. In 1978, Reza and Manoocher Deghati covered the Islamic Revolution from its beginnings, and subsequently the hostage-taking at the American Embassy in Tehran. Their images were used extensively at the time in the international press: Newsweek, the Times, Lifeand Paris Match. The brothers were privileged witnesses to these events, ceaselessly documenting the riots, the violent repressions, but also the hopes of a changing Iranian society.

Their work gives a face to the Iranian people damaged by an Islamic Republic that has not kept the promise of much-anticipated peace.

Reza, a famous photojournalist, has travelled the world since leaving Iran in 1981. His images have been broadcast in the international media (National Geographic, Time Magazine, Newsweek, El País, Paris Match, Geo…), but also in the form of books, exhibitions and documentaries. He has been a photographer since his teens and was marked by his experience as a political prisoner when he was a student. The Iranian revolution revealed his skills as a photojournalist. From 1983, alongside this work, he began devoting himself to the informal visual education of young people and women around the world and created various associations. As a regular contributor to the National Geographic Society since 1991, and a senior fellow of the Ashoka Foundation, he has received numerous awards, including the World Press Photo, the Infinity Award, and the Knight’s Medal of the National Order of Merit.

A citizen of the world, Manoocher Deghatihas lived in more than 12 countries on 4 continents. He has been a photojournalist for international photo agencies and magazines such as Agence France Presse, Sipa, Black Star, Times, Newsweek. After studying film in Rome, he returned to Iran to witness the revolution. From 1987 to 1990, he was the head of the photo department for Agence France Presse in Central America. Returning to the Middle East in 1990, he covered similar political and social issues. Injured by an Israeli sniper in Ramallah, he was transferred to Paris where he remained for 18 months at the Invalides military hospital. In 2011, he created the new Middle East photography department for the Associated Press. He has received a number of awards including the World Press Photo award, and now works for major magazines such as National Geographic. He lives in Italy, where he also runs workshops.

Reza illustrated the 8thissue of the Humanitarian Alternatives magazine, and gave us an exclusive interview:

Memory of a without borders

Memories of Indians. The story of a doctor of the world, Pierre Micheletti, Foreword by Jean Furtos Éditions Parole, 2018 (published in French)

Publisher’s note

The shape our life has taken over the years only becomes clear when we look back on our past. The young French migrant leaving Algeria, the land of his birth, in 1962 and landing up in a tough neighbourhood in Blois, France, knew nothing then of what the future would hold. What invisible hand would guide him to build a life for himself? What would be the influence on his journey through life of the belief his grandmother had in him, or the mysterious order from his father “Comb your hair, you look like an Indian! or his friends in the neighbourhood in which he grew up, or his teachers?

From young boy to the man he is today, Pierre Micheletti takes us with him on his path from family to the world. From country practitioner to humanitarian doctor, he makes a reality of his eagerness to see new places, meet new people. In so doing, he allows us to accompany him along the routes he followed. We feel as if we are actually rubbing shoulders with the peoples and the notable characters that marked his personal story and that of the world. From Danielle Mitterrand to Fidel Castro, from Tibet to Guiana, from the campesinos of Colombia to the Palestinians of Gaza, from his grandmother to his father, he tells the tale of a life as fascinating as a novel, with all its discoveries and questionings, and with a strong sense that globalisation’s only true value is a spirit of fraternity.

Pierre Micheletti joined Médecins du Monde in 1987, and was president of the organization from 2006 to 2009. He has taught in Grenoble at the Institute for Political Studies since 2009, where he co-directs the Masters course in “The policies and practices of international organisations”, and at the faculty of medicine where he leads the diploma course in “Health, solidarity and deprivation”. He has been vice-president of the charity Action against Hunger since 2015.

Translated from the French by Fay Guerry.

Social commitment for dummies

Social commitment for dummies, Francis Charhon, with Marjolaine Koch, First, 2018 (published in French)

Editor’s note

The term “commitment” strikes a particular chord nowadays: there is a human need, sometimes a vital one, to feel needed. In a society in search of meaning where young people, generations Y and Z, the “millennials”, feel more and more they want to act for the common good, but increasingly question how best to do this, this is a subject that called for methodical treatment.

Francis Charhon is an intensive-care anaesthetist, and was appointed president of Médecins Sans Frontières in 1980 before becoming its executive director. In 1986 he set up the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and International Health and later became executive director of the Fondation de France, thereby encountering all aspects of commitment. He is also a member of the steering council of Humanitarian Alternatives.

Translated from the French by Fay Guerry.

Mosul in the time of the Islamic State

The Islamic State of Mosul. The story of a totalitarian enterprise Hélène Sallon La Découverte, 2018 (published in French)

Editor’s note

With the series of terrorist attacks in Europe, repeated military defeats in Syria and in Iraq, the police and newspapers endlessly on the trail of Jihadist groups, the Islamic State group is never long out of the spotlight, although the true nature of the caliphate that Daesh sought to impose worldwide remains unclear. The liberation of Mosul has finally made it possible to reveal the facts about the Islamic State’s political and social plan, a project unparalleled in terms of scope and objectives.

The hitherto unpublished testimonies collected by Hélène Sallon from the inhabitants of Mosul portray its terrifying reality, very few accounts of which – and practically no pictures – have reached us. This exceptional book describes the “new, Jihadist social order” which the Islamic State tried to impose on the whole of society, and under which schoolchildren are taught to count by multiplying tonnes of explosives, and women considered insufficiently covered have their flesh clipped by brigades of women armed with iron-toothed pliers.

In this account which is as far from the sensationalist testimonies of Jihadists and their victims as it is from the dry, disembodied analyses of researchers, Hélène Sallon gives body and substance to the caliphate, a major cause of concern and speculation.

Hélène Sallon has been a journalist at Le Monde since 2010, and on the Middle East desk since 2014. An Arabic-speaker, she covered the battle of Mosul in Iraq from mid October 2016 to mid July 2017, spending more than four months in the field, following the Iraqi forces’offensive against the Jihadists and investigating their reign in Mosul.

Translated from the French by Fay Guerry.

Syria by Rey

The history of Syria. 19th-21st centuries Matthieu Rey Fayard, 2018 (published in French)

Editor’s note

By cross-referencing press records, dissertations and declassified material, Matthieu Rey explains the foundations of contemporary Syria and its turbulent history. He encourages us to follow the still uncertain future development of a political community grouping diverse populations, men and women settling and organising their existence within a certain territory.

He tells of the revival of the countryside around the towns and cities to the detriment of the nomads, of the migrations of the Druze from Lebanon to Syria, of the mountain people to the plains and of those from the countryside to the towns, but he also gives a political account, interspersed with the revolutions and wars destined to give rise to a State whose history was revealed through the revolutionary crisis. Since 2011, Syria, the private preserve of the Assad family, has been at the heart of dramatic international events, torn apart by civil war.

Is its history not in the end that of hopes, clashes, trials, expectations, struggles and violence, and of projects shared by groups of people trying to create conditions in which to live together, in which everyone has a place?

Matthieu Rey is head of research at the CNRS and a research fellow at the Collège de France, studying the question of the construction of the State in the Arab and Persian Orient.

Translated from the French by Fay Guerry.