That’s the title of a superb humanitarian blog, equal parts angst, cynicism, and idealism.
Somewhere in the offices of almost any humanitarian aid agency–typically on a manager’s wall, or in the entryway, or perhaps displayed prominently in meeting spaces, or on rare occasion tucked into a discrete binder–you will find a map. The map may represent the country where the agency is working or may also be a district, region, or provincial map, depending on the size and location of the office. The map will be marked somehow–perhaps pushpins for each of the villages or communities where the agency is working, often color-coded by project, or with areas shaded to show “coverage” of the agency’s work. The more shading, the better.
A panel discussion in a windowless room; the air is stultifying. Passionate and well-meaning experts dissect violence for us: they explain why girls with disabilities are more likely to be raped, or why older women’s experiences of violence often escape our humanitarian radars. Hearing the concepts and the interventions and the services splayed so clinically, always by PowerPoint, I cannot help but feel disconnected from the pain. Perhaps that is the point — are we numbing ourselves?
As Tyler Cowen would say, it is “self-recommending”.