Category Archives: Issue 19 – March 2022

Towards a renewed humanitarian approach to peace negotiations

I. Lizzola

Irène Lizzola • PhD candidate in Political Science, Sciences Po Bordeaux (France)

The involvement of humanitarians in political processes is a subject almost as old as the existence of non-governmental organisations itself. The author proposes to draw a renewed path, between ethics of responsibility and ethics of conviction. Continue reading

Acceptance under stress: old recipes for new problems?

P. Daudin

Pascal Daudin • Co-founder of Anthropos Deep Security

In some ultra-violent and politically complex contexts in which humanitarians operate, the approach of gaining the acceptance of both the population and the various forces involved has its limits. For the author, it is necessary to rethink the way this work is done and, if necessary, to know how to pass the baton to other actors. Continue reading

Ethics and research in humanitarian settings

M. Bouchon

C. Laval

Magali Bouchon et Christian Laval • Médecins du Monde – France

Looking back on the seventh Scientific Day organised by Doctors of the World – France, the two authors discuss the ethical issues involved in research carried out in humanitarian contexts. From Niger to Nigeria to France, they point out the need to take better account of the views of the populations involved, explain the procedures and report the results. Continue reading

Lebanon: healthcare takes to the road

D. Bizet

Didier Bizet was for many years an art director working in advertising agencies in France and overseas. In 2015, he decided to focus on photography full time. He is naturally drawn to the countries of the former Soviet Bloc “where the melancholy of time meekly submits to the camera”. Between fine art and documentary, photography is a way for him to learn about his surroundings: “It gives me a way in and sometimes answers to my own questions about different societies. It’s not only enjoyable – it’s also necessary for my life experience. The world around me is changing, being modernised and developed, always surprising me. I seek out the curiosities of our modern society in order to understand them.” Right from the outset, he embarked on a long-term project, taking him all over the sprawling transcontinental country of Russia over the course of nine journeys, in search of the melancholic side of life. His work featured in numerous magazines, and in 2018 his book Itinéraire d’une mélancolie was published by Juillet. He continued to return to Russia and Crimea, working on subjects such as the Moscow Metro where he spent six hours a day for two weeks: “The Moscow metro system is a different world; for me, it represents all the complexity of Russia’s history and encapsulates its fragility.” In 2019, he spent time in Ekaterinburg where he documented one of the largest pilgrimages in Russia during which every year between 60,000 and 100,000 pilgrims visit the grave of the last tsar, Nicholas II of Russia. This work appeared in the pages of Le Figaro Magazine. Still in the East, Didier Bizet twice visited the shores of the shrinking Aral Sea in Kazakhstan to document the – temporary – return of the water to the Small Aral Sea. This series was picked up by multiple publications, including the French, Finnish and Russian editions of GEO magazine and the German magazine Stern. Didier Bizet is a graduate of the Beaux-Arts de Paris and has a degree in art history. In 2020, he received a Sony Award for his much-published series Baby Boom, which was then screened at the International Festival of Photojournalism 2020 in Perpignan. That same year, he founded his publishing house Revelatœr, which now has five titles in its catalogue. Continue reading

“Infuriating doves of peace”: an interview with Plantu and Reza

Regards croisés
Plantu & Reza
Gallimard, 2021
Published in French

The renowned photographer Reza and Le Monde’s iconic cartoonist Plantu have just published a book in which they revisit eighty or so of their respective photos and cartoons. The publication, which covers a vast range of historical events and global issues – from the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 to the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 by way of the environment, climate change and the situation of women and children around the world –, is a work of both remembrance and creativity. Each coupling of one photo and one cartoon takes us back to past events while generating a new and singular work of art calling to mind the style of certain collage artists. The reader’s appetite is also whet by an excellent foreword by art critic Pierre Bongiovanni, in which he offers his own take on this original work. We met Plantu and Reza to find out more about this project which prompted an engaging and lively interview – also condensed below in writing. Continue reading

Children as agents in crises: re-assessing adult-child power dynamics in humanitarian action

S. L. Stoffel

K. Kreyscher

Sofie Lilli Stoffel • Research associate at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin (Germany)

Kirstin Kreyscher • PhD candidate at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University (Australia)

The humanitarian sector is not spared from the adultcentrism governing our societies. Taking this notion and its practical implications as a starting point, the two authors deconstruct this doxa and explore what might be achieved if children’s voices and expertise were taken into account. Continue reading

The humanity of humanitarianism

L’ultime frontière
Giselda Gargano
Éditions Les Nouveaux Auteurs, 2021
Published in French

Humanitarian action may well conjure up a romantic world of adventure, but plotting it into fiction is not an easy task, for it’s often not as exotic as it seems, and good writing is not created from noble intentions. In her debut novel, Giselda Gargano has avoided these pitfalls. From her background as an ex-staff member of the communications department of a humanitarian organisation, she has built an enriching story, both ambitious and sensitive in scope, in which the concepts of “boundaries” and “conflicts”, serving as the underlying thread, are understood not only in a traditional sense but in a more intimate one as well. As the story unfolds through very human perspectives, it takes a close-up look at the boundaries that one may or may not cross, along with the clashes of perspectives and egos. Continue reading

Management of the suffering child: a medical and operational challenge

E. Rahmouni

O. Guillard

Elba Rahmouni and Olivier Guillard • Médecins Sans Frontières

This article presents a troubling example of the effects of adultcentrism. While the treatment of pain in adults and children in rich countries has made remarkable progress, its application to children in fragile countries is severely lagging. It is a credit to the authors’ that they raise this issue in light of their NGO’s work. But it is a concern that should be of interest to many others in the sector. Continue reading

The resilient child: an alternative approach to suffering child icons

S. Nakueira

Sophie Nakueira • Senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Germany)

Can the image of the resilient child permanently counterbalance that of the suffering child? This is the hope the author shares with us, based on her fieldwork in Uganda. To support her argument, she refers to the experiences of NGOs and international organisations that have not only changed their image policy but also enabled children to emerge from their situation as victims. Continue reading

Critical perspectives on child protection in the Democratic Republic of Congo

C. Maubert

Camille Maubert • PhD candidate in international development at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland)

In light of a violence prevention programme for children and young people, the author challenges the traditional notions of victimhood and vulnerability. Agentivity and capacity for initiative are valued in order to remove children from categories that can, ironically, turn them into “bad victims”. Continue reading