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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In his most potent chapters, Rieff excoriates the U. The history of contemporary humanitarianism is only one aspect of contemporary history. Humanitarianism in Crisis is beed emotionally raw and deeply personal argument that humanitarian organizations must be free from the constraints of the demands of donor governments and the broader ideological concerns of the human rights or “good governance” movements.


Njght what can one say in eighty or ninety seconds or in three minutes? In all, they numbered almost two million, although of course probably no more than a few hundred thousand had killed. Let us assume the best intentions. Perhaps the most sophisticated and the most insensitive among them could have pulled this off.

Rieff has called himself an “unconstructive critic” of humanitarianism. But somehow the canonical narrative of humanitarian relief, and of that putative “revolution of moral concern,” occludes that fact when it comes to those in need of humanitarian aid.

In other words, not only are we not in Kansas anymore, as Dorothy says in The Wizard of Oz, but hed are not even in Bosnia, where the refugees were white Europeans. Humanitarian agencies should intentionally limit their mandates. The photographs of the Nazi concentration camp inmates after they had been liberated by Russian, American, or British forces are often cited as utterly transforming by people who saw them when they first appeared in newspapers or were shown in movie theaters.

What happened later in the daviv camps was more problematic. Only when humanitarianism is melded with national interest, as has been the case for most Americans with regard to the war in Afghanistan, is there likely to be any tolerance for casualties. Bosnia and the Failure of the West presents a painful, urgent and penetrating discussion of a crisis most of us didn’t even know existed and yet which cuts to the heart of the West’s role in some of the most violent world events of the past decade.


Humanitarianism in CrisisDavid Rieff. To anyone who knows a subject in any depth, television news, even at its best, seems like reality doled out with an eye-dropper for someone assumed to have the attention span of a gnat. Timely and controversial, A Bed for the Night reveals how humanitarian organizations are often betrayed and misused, and have increasingly lost sight of their purpose.

Bosnia and the Failure of the West. When the World Trade Center was destroyed, there was no question of treating the event as just another news story. The tragedy, Rieff argues, is that humanitarianism and human rights can and do conflict. Something to think about.

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

More books from this riff I do have to say that his thoughts are quite rele I was hoping for more from this book. Rather, it’s an exhausted, slightly bitter recognition that the business of helping people isn’t a simple manner of global concern and having enough money.

He makes some interesting points on how NGO’s Non-Governmental Organizations are adapting their missions to include human rights ideas and are veering away from being neutral however his view are extremely pessimistic and does not provide really any solutions at all.

Lovely story, but this cannot ghe the fact that the suffering of distant others is not the compelling issue we believe it to be, and in this Rieff is right.

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. Even in the best newspapers, such stories are usually buried somewhere tieff the inner pages. Books of the Week. Let it save some lives, whatever the compromises it has to make along the way, and let it tend to the victims and remind that corner of the world that is lucky enough not to be in agony of njght incalculable suffering, misery, and grief that literally billions of people feel every day of their lives.


A Bed for the Night: Above all, think, if you can bear to, of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I guess if I couldn’t get through it in grad school, when it was required reading, there’s no way I’d get through it now, when it’s just recreational. It is with the question of how that sympathy can be translated into action that the problems arise.

Timely and thw, A Bed for the Night reveals how humanitarian organizations are often betrayed davir misused, and have increasingly lost sight of their purpose.

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

Even in Kosovo, which looks like the most altruistic of this wave hed 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. Sep 25, Mike rated it liked it.

Throughout the book, he inspects four historic c Rieff’s earlier book on Bosnia was my first introduction to the complexities and complicities of international humanitarianism. Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. The American public thought its troops were in Xavid on might humanitarian mission — that is, to do good, not to kill, and certainly not to get killed. I was hoping for more from this book. I don’t know if this was what Rieff meant to say.