In A Bed for the Night1, David Rieff2 explains his frustration at the lim- itations and Rieff frequently gives in to his penchant for extreme positions. He dis-. A Bed for the Night has ratings and 36 reviews. Alisa said: Ok, so I did not give this book four stars because I thought it was much fun to read. Had. David Rieff’s A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis is an emotionally raw and deeply personal argument that humanitarian organizations must be free.

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Tbe calling for intervention, humanitarian organizations risk being seen as taking sides in a conflict and thus jeopardizing their access to victims. But in the optimisic words of the author, “Given the choice between liberal imperialism and barbarism, I would take liberal imperialism every time,” and this book is for those who want to see international humanitarianism’s faults as a credo and keep going.

One does not have to have a simpleminded view of the press, or of the world for that matter, to see that this is an important advance. But the point has to be made: Dec 04, Laura-nassidesa Eschbaugh added it.

But he calls for a sense of what the limits of aid are, and, more importantly, for a consideration of what the costs of humanitarian intervention can be, even in the most necessary cases. But even in the United States, some semblance of normalcy returned within a matter of weeks. From his perspective, their mission was political — that is, to attack him. There is horror, but no context, and ridff as much mystification as information results from this new way of accessing the world’s tragedies.

President Bill Clinton’s idealized account of the mission was that the United States “came to Somalia to rescue innocent people in a burning house. Where Rieff excels is in managing to criticize the industry of humanitarian assistance on very real and practical grounds.

A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis

How could it have been otherwise? In reality, most of the world’s horrors never get any airtime at all.


Want to Read saving…. Rieff concludes that if humanitarian organizations are to do what they do best — alleviate suffering — they must reclaim their independence. In the world of Syria, these answers seem yet to fr found. On October 3,they responded to the attempt of American elite forces to seize two of Aidid’s lieutenants by shooting down two American helicopters, killing eighteen U.

Perhaps you are right. In this sense, Immanuel Kant’s dream of a world of states in which perpetual peace reigned, while hardly the norm anywhere else in the world, tue become part of the political DNA of the West.

A Bed for the Night | Book by David Rieff | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

He continues to cover wars and humanitarian emergencies in many parts of the world. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. By the end, you’re left understanding why he feels the industry needs such a critic.

The sight of the starving babies in that refugee camp in eastern Congo or that column of refugees trying to flee from Afghanistan into Pakistan seems genuinely intolerable, particularly when our viewer contrasts their ordeal to his or her own comfort.

More By and About This Author. What counts is that your habit of reading a newspaper and, above all, of watching the news on television means that you voluntarily expose yourself on a regular basis to at least some of the most horrible things taking place in the world. There is the davic, underpopulated commonwealth of peace and plenty that is North America, most of Europe, and Japan; there is the part made up of Latin America, the s Soviet Union, China, and India, in which wealth and poverty coexist and where the future is unclear; and finally, above all in sub-Saharan Africa and an area stretching from Algeria to Pakistan, there is a vast, teeming dystopia of davie and want whose future no decent and properly informed person should be able to contemplate fhe sadness, outrage, and fear.


“A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis” by David Rieff

They had not given up lives and jobs in the West to save the families of s Central Africa’s equivalent of the Nazi SS.

Even in Kosovo, which looks like the most altruistic of this wave of interventions — the British prime minister, Tony Blair, insisted at the time that NATO had intervened in defense of “its values, not its interests” — the reality was far more complicated. Return to Book Page. Rieff, a veteran journalist and author of several books Slaughterhouse: It could hardly be otherwise.

On that basis alone, it appears almost inevitable that there will be misreporting, even if inadvertent, on the journalist’s side and misunderstanding on the viewer’s. We know this in our daily lives. He will shake readers’ complacency about the relief work done by organizations like Oxfam, CARE and Doctors without Borders, crushing the belief that humanitarian aid is a panacea for all the world’s ills.

Feb 01, Mackenzie rated it liked it Shelves: Still, I wonder whether humanitarians can agree with the moral agenda behind his critique. Not only is the crisis in question difficult to understand, but the afflicted population is difficult to empathize with, as opposed to sympathize with — a more abstract and less compelling reaction. And given the abundance of horror bev the world, a more precise analogy would be going to funerals in the middle of an AIDS epidemic.

But reporters did film and report from the killing fields of Rwanda in real time, just as they are likely to be able to do from every field of atrocity the future has in store for us. And history is never the fairy tale of innocent victims, oppressive gunmen, and caring outsiders that the humanitarian narrative so often presents.