6. The Hunt for Moral ResponsibilityBrief Chronology of Rwandan Conflict Selected Chronology of United Nations' Security AgendaAcknowledgments Notes Index.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)
Why was the UN a bystander during the Rwandan genocide? Do its sins of omission leave it morally responsible for the hundreds of thousands of dead? Michael Barnett, who worked at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations from 1993 to 1994, covered Rwanda for much of the genocide. Based on his first-hand experiences, archival work, and interviews with many key participants, he reconstructs the history of the UN's involvement in Rwanda. In the weeks leading up to the genocide, the author documents, the UN was increasingly aware or had good reason to suspect that Rwanda was a site of crimes against humanity. Yet it failed to act. In Eyewitness to a Genocide, Barnett argues that its indifference was driven not by incompetence or cynicism but rather by reasoned choices cradled by moral considerations. Employing a novel approach to ethics in practice and in relationship to international organizations, Barnett offers an unsettling possibility: the UN culture recast the ethical commitments of well-intentioned individuals, arresting any duty to aid at the outset of the genocide. Barnett argues that the UN bears some moral responsibility for the genocide. Particularly disturbing is his observation that not only did the UN violate its moral responsibilities, but also that many in New York believed that they were "doing the right thing" as they did so. Barnett addresses the ways in which the Rwandan genocide raises a warning about this age of humanitarianism and concludes by asking whether it is possible to build moral institutions. (source: Nielsen Book Data)
Book — 1 online resource (xi, 296 pages) : illustrations. Digital: data file.
Co-dependence : humanitarianism and the world
The humanitarian big bang
Saving slaves, sinners, savages, and societies
Saving soldiers and civilians during war
The new international
Humanitarianism during wartime
It's a humanitarian's world
Armed for humanity
Politics and anti-politics, or, The new paternalism.
Empire of Humanity explores humanitarianism's remarkable growth from its humble origins in the early nineteenth century to its current prominence in global life. In contrast to most contemporary accounts of humanitarianism that concentrate on the last two decades, Michael Barnett ties the past to the present, connecting the antislavery and missionary movements of the nineteenth century to today's peacebuilding missions, the Cold War interventions in places like Biafra and Cambodia to post-Cold War humanitarian operations in regions such as the Great Lakes of Africa and the Balkans; and the creation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863 to the emergence of the major international humanitarian organizations of the twentieth century. Based on extensive archival work, close encounters with many of today's leading international agencies, and interviews with dozens of aid workers in the field and at headquarters, Empire of Humanity provides a history that is both global and intimate. Avoiding both romanticism and cynicism, Empire of Humanity explores humanitarianism's enduring themes, trends, and, most strikingly, ethical ambiguities. Humanitarianism hopes to change the world, but the world has left its mark on humanitarianism. Humanitarianism has undergone three distinct global ages-imperial, postcolonial, and liberal-each of which has shaped what humanitarianism can do and what it is. The world has produced not one humanitarianism, but instead varieties of humanitarianism. Furthermore, Barnett observes that the world of humanitarianism is divided between an emergency camp that wants to save lives and nothing else and an alchemist camp that wants to remove the causes of suffering. These camps offer different visions of what are the purpose and principles of humanitarianism, and, accordingly respond differently to the same global challenges and humanitarianism emergencies. Humanitarianism has developed a metropolis of global institutions of care, amounting to a global governance of humanity. This humanitarian governance, Barnett observes, is an empire of humanity: it exercises power over the very individuals it hopes to emancipate. Although many use humanitarianism as a symbol of moral progress, Barnett provocatively argues that humanitarianism has undergone its most impressive gains after moments of radical inhumanity, when the "international community" believes that it must atone for its sins and reduce the breach between what we do and who we think we are. Humanitarianism is not only about the needs of its beneficiaries; it also is about the needs of the compassionate.