In this world we have two kinds of people, priveledged and oppressed. Those of privilege have the means to help others and those oppressed tend to be the people that are victimized and experience the most suffering. Some of us see our blessing as priveleged people and see the need for change in the world and seek to do what we can or think we can to change it. We call our selves humaitarians beacuse we are concerned with seeking to “promote human welfare. ” This sounds like a very great thing however, humanitarianism can get ugly and tainted when the motives that we have to help the oppressed are hidden within our own corruption and greed.
According to Costas Dozinas humanitarianism “refers to the efforts by orginizations and governments to alleviate mass suffering after natural catastrophes and to aid populations caught in war or civil strife. ” The birth of the humanitarianism movement started in the 19th century. In the beggining there were no distinctions made between “good and bad wars, just and unjust causes or, even, between agressors and innocents” (Dozinas 4) Early efforts remained strictly for the service of the oppressed population.
The first aknowledged event of the “humaitarian movement” was the creation of the International Committee of the Red Cross by Jean-Henri Duant. Such orginizations including Ngo’s formed at this time kept there ideaologys and motives for there work unifiliated politically and very neutral on the sides of war as well as natural disaters. In contarst to how the humanitarian movment started, The “roots of the new humaitarianism lie in the growing western involvement in the internal affairs of the developing world and the use of economic sanctions and force for humanitarian purposes. For example before the Iraq war orginiazations were being offered grants and money so the they would agree with and show “attatchment to American moral values and concern for civilians. ” This domineering attditude can esaily effect the inittial motives of humanitarians and sway their means of implementation. This relationship that politics, goverments and humanitarians intermix in causes difficulties and dillemas. It hinders the process by which work can be done and inturn makes “simpler” tasks very hard This is obviously not only seen in military and goverment interventions but also in NGO’s and missionarys.
Missonarys consider themselves humaitarians but a major aspect of their work is to convert and influence the people that they come in contact with. Historically “humaitarians also thoght that christianity or whatever religon they belived in was superior, That the Africans should also adapt these religons as well, so they could develop into a higher culture. ” Westernes held the belief that these people were uncivilized and therby converting and interfering with these African cultures, they were “civilizing the lower class of people in Africa. ” In this way the whole stand point for doing humaitarian work becomes negative.
The motive is to change a people and culture instead of a motive purley to help. This has effected several places around the world and leads to the loss of and extinction of traditional cultures. Collectivley this is what human rights and humairainism for the large part has turned into. As Upendra Baxi puts it, “human rights movements organize themselves in the image of markets turning human rights and human suffering into commodities. ” Baxi’s statement sounds very harsh but it definetly holds some truth. It seems a though there is a circumstance and a price through which the opressed are advantageously helped by good doers.
It seems as if Humanitarianism is also portrayed as the “redemtive practice of our age”, however this is very misleading. This portrayal causes so many people of privelage, especially in universitiys and colleges across the world that want to be active in humanitarian work. It is a great thing but aspiring humnitarians must no what they are getting into, as part of the system and for themselves personally. They want to experience living in a new culture meeting new people traveling etc.. but you must also understand what motivates you and shapes your behavior.
Dozinas puts it that its like “Human rights are entitlement to be free from evil. ” I believe by this he means that some people conclude that beacuse they have pirty and are hellping oppressed people that they are in a sense superior. ” The massive pity engineered by humanitarian campaighns supports wetern supperiority, increases distintiation and breeds didain. ” ( Dozinas 4) In his argument Dozina goes on to say that huma rights campaigner or humanitarian as rescuer cand become deeply egotistical beacuse he is the one that keeps the world together and also that recieve full recognition for his goodeness.
It is a great thing to be recognized however this shouldnt be the intent for doing humaitarian work. “developing countries have enough burdens, without being asked to help you find meaning in your life. ” goes on to say that if you may have unresolved personal problems you should deal with them before you leave to work. People get dissalusioned that they will somehow fix there problems when they are doing humaitarian type of work but he warns that they will mostlikley get worse. The greatest thing that we as humanitarians can do is be aware.
Nick goes on to say that what most important is that “you undestand what motivates you and hoe it shapes your behavior”. This logic makes sence and would most likley produce a honest action whisch would in return culminate good work. It is concived by people in the field as well as historians that motives and ethics are skewed. It appears as if only few acts of humanitarinism are puley noble acts. Perhas we need more good samairitan actors in the field. Refering to the theaching of the good samaritan beacuse the whole point was to do good and not expext something back in returen and in the case of some not taking anything in repayment.
Andreas concludes that “inaction was higher and could be higher also in the future than the cost of humanitarian action. ” Humanitarinism is absolutely neccesary “The legitimacy of humanitarian intervention therefore derives from its altruistic nature, namely the concern with defending human rights. Therefore, both from a humanitarian and legal perspective, political interests should not be a driving force for intervention. ” People must Krieg, Andreas. Motivations for Humanitarian intervention: Theoretical and Emperical Considerations