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Totally Brax - N°4
Laure Stephan • Le Monde
Jean-Hervé Bradol • Crash-Médecins sans Frontières
Matthieu Rey • CNRS
Apart from the protagonists of the Syrian conflict, three categories of actors and observers have formed a more or less tacit alliance: humanitarians, researchers and journalists. We asked three personalities from their ranks, who were directly invested in these six years of war, to share the lessons learned and to look towards the future. An exciting long run interview that allows us to better understand the constraints of one and another and their indisputable complementarity.
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Dr Kamel Mohanna • Président de Amel Association International et coordinateur général du collectif des ONG libanaises et arabes
By hosting 1,500,000 Syrian refugees, Lebanon assumes its share of responsibility, maybe far beyond its capacities. Explaining the impact of this conflict on the “country of the cedar”, Kamel Mohanna also allows us to discover the action of Amel, the association he founded 38 years ago.
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Agnès Varraine-Leca • Photographe
When Agnès Varraine-Leca arrived in Lebanon, in January 2016, five years had passed since the beginning of the war in Syria. Half of the Syrian population had fled bombings and combats: 6,6 million Syrians were displaced inside the country and 4,6 million (i.e. half of Ireland’s population) had taken refuge in the neighbouring countries and all the way to Europe. In Lebanon, they represent a third of the population. For months and years most remain blocked in the country without any perspective of going back to Syria, living in increasingly precarious conditions. One year later, their situation hasn’t change. And as for seeing Syria again…
In this particularly interesting and detailed study, Eleanor Davey traces the rise of the “sans-frontiériste” movement in France in general and, in view of this NGO’s dominant role, of “Médecins sans frontières” (MSF – Doctors without Borders) in particular, in terms of the development of “third-worldism”, by analysing how it was transformed and displaced by “sans-frontiérisme”. This displacement and reconfiguration arose, according to the author, from “a profound transformation of the ideological and intellectual paradigms in France” (p. 6–7), which took place not after but during the Cold War (p. 9). The historical framework of the analysis goes from the outbreak of the Algerian conflict in 1954, birthplace of third-worldism, to the Armenian earthquake in 1988 when the Soviet regime authorised international humanitarian aid for the first time.
“While the booming humanitarian sector faces daunting challenges, humanitarian economics emerges as a new field of study and practice, one that encompasses the economics and political economy of war, natural disasters, terrorism and humanitarianism. Carbonnier’s book is the first to present humanitarian economics to a wide readership, defining its parameters, explaining its utility and convincing us why it matters. Among the issues he discusses are: how are emotions and altruism incorporated within a rational-choice framework? How do the economics of negotiations with combatants, and shed light on the role of aid in conflicts? What do catastrophe bonds and risk-linked securities hold for disaster response?
As more actors enter the humanitarian marketplace (including private firms), Carbonnier’s revealing portrayal is particularly timely, as is his critique of the transformative power of crises.”
Peter Harling, Alex Simon and Rosalie Berthier • Synaps
Shaped by their bureaucratic habits and destabilised by the unexpected complexity of the conflict, international organisations and NGOs alike neglected the local level. They thus deprived themselves of vital forces, capabilities and knowledge that the Syrian people and their civil society could mobilise to alleviate the suffering of the population. Six years on, whilst the conflict is far from reaching an end, it is about time for the international aid community to be helped by the Syrians themselves. This is a conclusion developed by three members of the nascent Synaps network and that is both well backed by facts and figures and quite instructive.
Diana Volonakis and Susana Borda Carulla • SieNi
At the end of 2016, Colombia – let’s hope so, definitely – turned its back on the conflict that opposed the government and the FARC for over 50 years. As often, restored peace unearths crucial problems. And in Colombia as elsewhere, water is one of those. To ward off the forecast that in 2025, almost 70 % of the population may not have access to water during drought, the SieNi association has set up an innovative project, placing children in the forefront of this vital combat.