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Many aid workers keep online journals called web logs, or "blogs" for short. Blogs tend to be very personal, to present unabashedly biased opinions and to be much less formal than an organization's web site. Blogs are sometimes provocative, and some may make you feel uncomfortable -- you certainly won't agree with everything you read in blogs, including those produced by aid workers.
The AWN blog portal presents a range of aid worker-produced blogs from around the world. However, AWN is not responsible for the content of any of these blogs, and inclusion here on the AWN blog portal in no way endorses their content by AWN. If you disagree with what a blog has presented, by all means, write the blog author ("blogger") directly and let him or her know what you think.
If you would like to submit a blog by an aid, relief or development worker, please complete this form.
In the month since I left work I have to admit I haven't gotten out of the house very much. I am working to grow an online business, getting my Master's degree, healing. I've spent a lot of time thinking, praying, reading, journaling and just being still. It's a shift from the busyness that marked my life before.
I've realized I always felt a bit out of place at my job. I never quite fit, would find any reason to leave. And I've felt that way in offices for years. I hate being tethered to a desk, hate being around people all the time. Now existing in almost the total opposite of that, I've come to realize I can fall into isolation far too easily.
It comes in phases. I'm okay being at home alone all day, then wham - I feel out of sorts and off. I miss the interactions with my co-workers, and yet am one step removed now. It's hard for someone who is very introverted to set-up coffees and lunches, and it's not that I don't miss my friends, but the effort and desire to just stay where it's safe overwhelms me. But I cannot hide away, the need to reengage is an ever-present pressure.
This article by Sophia Dembling on Psychology Today really struck me. Below are bits and pieces, go here to read it in full.
Isolation can creep up on you. You’re doing fine, you’re doing fine, you’re doing fine, enjoying your solitude, getting stuff done, perhaps even preening a little over your self sufficiency. And then one day, you blink a few times, look around, and realize that the world outside has drifted very far away.
Well, that is to say, the world has stayed where it is but you’ve drifted so far into your own head that it’s like looking out through the wrong end of the telescope.
... You make no plans and eventually fall out of mind for people. Your social circle rolls on without you. You’re out of touch with what’s happening around town; all too often I hear about fun events the day after they happen. You fall into default mode: Sweat pants and staying home.
And the more isolated you become, the weirder you get. Conversation feels awkward. Getting together with people takes a level of commitment you can’t seem to muster. You intend to call friends but put it off and put it off and put it off. It’s so much easier to hang out with them on Facebook. You promise yourself you will do something fun today, but then find a million little things to do until another day has slipped by and you haven’t done anything more ambitious than go to the supermarket. You might start feeling depressed.
Friends, no matter how proudly introverted you are, isolation isn’t good for you. Solitude is great, until it’s not.
The only cure for isolation is discipline. The discipline to make yourself pick up the phone and call someone you like. Sometimes that means moving out of your comfort zone, connecting with someone who is still just a potential friend. (See First Leave the House: Strategies for Making New Friends.) You need discipline to plan an outing and follow through. You need discipline to say “yes” to the next invitation you receive, even if it’s not the greatest thing you can imagine doing. The point isn’t that you have to do something wonderful. The point is that you have to do something. Anything, as long as it involves other people. Preferably people with whom you can converse.
So what is the solution? How do you balance what feels so natural and yet only increases your isolation? I don't have any answers and really it's day by day. For years the ability to get up and go to work has been marked by the need to fulfill commitments. My desire to isolate always lost to the push to be responsible and the reality that I could not hide away. In many ways I am thankful for the other things I am committed to. Commitments that get me out of the house, positions of leadership that keep me from hiding away.
I would love any insights people have. Any tips or motivational tricks for cultivating discipline and doing the one thing you do not want to do.
The season of Advent is upon us. Advent is us waiting for the birth of Christ. It’s the time when we prepare for His arrival and our redemption.
This year I am reading through Baby Jesus Blog: An Advent Study. Each day brings a different perspective on waiting for a child to come. Whether it’s through childbearing, adoption, or being a friend of someone who is expecting, the process of waiting for a child can be exciting, tedious, joyous, hopeful and life-altering.
But in the midst of the preparing for His arrival we need to ensure we are focusing on the right things. Are we just keeping busy or are we making a place for Jesus to come? Are we working to create a place where the broken, the stranger, the hungry will be welcome (as Sarah Jobe suggests)? Are we preparing for our hope and joy?
The reality is that while we prepare our home a certain level of openness and vulnerability is to be expected. We cannot only open our hearts to those treat us well or only do what we want, but also to those who might break our heart. To love, to prepare a place, is to welcome joy, pain, knowing, being known, growth, possibility, honesty - in whatever form that comes.
Lord, may we in this day open ourselves to Jesus—that we might let him steal our hearts, even—but that we would know in this unusual expectancy that He is not “ours.” Help us wait with reverence and fragility for a hope that is real. (Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove)
Don't you love fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies and send those I love bouquets of newly sharpened pencils, and drink pumpkin spice lattes and watch football and see the leaves change and wear sweaters again and just be still because somehow all of those things bring me peace and make me smile and make the world seem oddly better.
For information relating to the unfolding crisis in the Central African Republic, visit the Humanitarian Response: CAR portal.
How Safe is Going Home to Somalia? (IRIN, Nov. 2013) [text]
"Kenya Sci-fi Series Imagines European Immigrants Fleeing to Africa," The Guardian, 3 Dec. 2013 [text]
Livestock, Livelihoods, and Disaster Response in Sudan (Tufts University & Feinstein International Center, Nov. 2013) [access]
- Two part report.
Remittances as Informal Aid: Livelihoods and Migration in a Liberian Refugee Camp, New Issues in Refugee Research, no. 266 (UNHCR, Nov. 2013) [text]
Statement by UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres on the Death of Nelson Mandela (UNHCR, Dec. 2013) [text]
Statement by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, after Her Visit to Tunisia and Malta (11 - 20 November 2013) (OHCHR, Nov. 2013) [text via Refworld]
- See also related press release.
[Map credit: OCHA]
Tagged Publications and Web Sites/Tools.
The AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention) entered into force one year ago today. To commemorate, the African Union and IDMC have released this report "to take stock of the progress made in its ratification and implementation."
For additional commentary and resources, see:
- Celebrating the Kampala Convention on Internal Displacement as Conflict Escalates in the Central African Republic: A Bittersweet Anniversary (UpFront Blog, Dec. 2013) [text]
- The Kampala Convention: Progress and Prospects [access]
- Kampala Convention on Internal Displacement [access]
- Kampala Convention on Internal Displacement in Africa: One Year Later (UpFront Blog, Dec. 2013) [text]
Tagged Publications and Web Sites/Tools.
(ETD = Electronic Theses & Dissertations)
The Influence of Pro-migrant Groups within the Shaping Process of the EU Asylum and Migration Policy, Dissertation (University of Salford, 2013) [text]
Social Integration of Somali Refugees in Southern Finland: Young Males' Perspective, Bachelor Thesis (Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, Autumn 2013) [text]
Towards a Collective Responsibility to Protect Refugees: Redrawing Borders, Thesis (University Jaume I, Sept. 2013) [text]
Trust and Credibility: A Study of Norwegian Asylum Practice in Sexual Orientation Claims, Thesis (University of Bergen, June 2013) [text]
(ETD = Electronic Theses & Dissertations)
Exploring Ways of Including Human Rights Narratives of Refugees in Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding Processes through Storytelling: Narratives from Dukwi Refugee Camp, Dissertation (University of Manitoba, Nov. 2013) [text]
From Burma to Dallas: The Experience of Resettled Emerging Adult Karen Refugees, Thesis (Bowling Green State University, May 2013) [text]
Risk-informed Approaches to Cross-sector Vulnerability: The Response to Conflict IDPs in Bogota, Kabul, and Tbilisi, Thesis (Maastricht University, Aug. 2013) [text]
Stateless Stakeholders, Seen but not Heard? The Case of the Sama Dilaut in Sabah, Malaysia, Thesis (University of Sussex, 2012-13 [text]
- See also related blog post.
Whose Safety Matters? Exaltation, Risky Refugees, and Canadian Safe Country Practices, Thesis (University of Ottawa, Nov. 2013) [text]
Upcoming event & opportunity:
Researching Gender-based Violence: Methods and Meaning, London, 17-21 February 2014 [info]
- Payment deadline is 20 January 2014.
Constraints on Executive Power: Explaining Variation in the Acceptance of Asylum-Seekers and Refugees, London, 21 January 2014 [info]
- Focus is on the role of rape in women's asylum claims in the UK; free event, but registration required.
"Everyday Resilience: Narratives of Single Refugee Women with Children," Qualitative Social Work, vol. 12, no. 5 (2013) [eprint via QUT]
Gender Issues in Conflict and Humanitarian Action, Humanitarian Policy Note (Oxfam, Nov. 2013) [text]
Gender, Migration and Categorisation: Making Distinctions between Migrants in Western Countries, 1945-2010 (Amsterdam University Press, 2013 [open access text]
- See esp. chapter 4, "A Gender-blind Approach in Canadian Refugee Processes: Mexican Female Claimants in the New Refugee Narrative."
*A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action, Please (RI Blog, Dec. 2013) [text]
"Make it Work!: Training Manual for Sexual Health Promotion and Prevention of Sexual and Gender-based Violence in the European Reception & Asylum Sector," European Journal of Public Health, vol. 23, suppl. 1 (2013) [free full-text]
Oxfam Minimum Standards for Gender in Emergencies (Oxfam, Nov. 2013) [text]
Sexual and Gender-based Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Opportunities for Progress as M23 Disarms? (Africa in Focus Blog, Nov. 2013) [text]
Towards an International Convention against Violence against Women (IntLawGrrls, Dec. 2013) [text]
Trust Women Conference, London, 3-4 Dec. 2013 [info]
- Watch for livestream archive.
UNHCR: Recognize Rape as a Form of Persecution (Devex, Dec. 2013) [text]
Violence against Women and Girls in Emergencies, Humanitarian Policy Note (Oxfam, Nov. 2013) [text]
Tagged Publications and Events & Opportunities.
CMRS Winter Short Courses, Cairo [info]
- Two courses have January deadlines: 1) Addressing Global Trends: Psychosocial and Mental Health Interventions for Refugees Living the Urban Context, 26-30 January 2014; for tuition waivers, apply by 1 January 2014; all others, apply by 5 January 2014. 2) International Refugee Law, 2-6 February 2014; for tuition waivers, apply by 6 January 2014; all others, apply by 10 January 2014.
Job: Research Assistant, Migration Policy Centre [info]
- Apply by 6 January 2014.
15th Conference of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM), Bogotá, Colombia, 14–17 July 2014 [info]
- NOTE THE CHANGE IN VENUE (formerly Cartagena)! The deadline for panel/paper submissions has also been *extended* to 15 January 2014.
EDAL Conference 2014: Reflections on the Current Application of the EU Asylum Acquis, Dublin, 17-18 January 2014 [info]
- Registration is now open.
Seminar: Constraints on Executive Power: Explaining Variation in the Acceptance of Asylum-Seekers and Refugees, London, 21 January 2014 [info]
- Free event, but registration required.
Researching Country of Origin Information, Vienna/Online, Feb.-March 2014 [info]
- The e-training portion will take place from 17 February 2014-17 March 2014; the concluding face-to-face meeting in Vienna is scheduled for 20 March 2014. Apply by 31 January 2014.
CFP: Humanitarian Innovation Conference, Oxford, 19-20 July 2014 [info]
- Deadline for proposed submissions is 31 January 2014.
InterAction Forum 2014, Washington, DC, 10-13 June 2014 [info]
- Registration now open; early bird rates available through 31 January 2014.
Tagged Events & Opportunities.
Bulgaria as a receiving country:
Annual Monitoring Report on Refugee Status Determination Procedures in Bulgaria (Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, Nov. 2013) [text]
Bulgaria: Country Report (Asylum Information Database, April 2013) [access]
Country Factsheet: Bulgaria 2012 (European Migration Network, 2013) [text]
Syrian refugee situation:
Image credit: ©UNHCR/D.Kashavelov*"Bodies in the Black Sea? Bulgaria Steps up Efforts to Repel Refugees," Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Newsletter, no. 43 (Dec. 2013) [full-text]
"Bulgaria: A Nightmare for All," The Economist, 28 Nov. 2013 [text]
Bulgaria: ‘Inhuman Conditions’ Spark Protest at Refugee Camp (Amnesty International, Nov. 2013) [text]
Bulgaria Struggles to Cope with Syrian Influx at Dilapidated Camp (UNHCR, Nov. 2013) [text]
European Commission Grants €5.6 million in Emergency Funding to Bulgaria to Address the Increased Influx of Asylum Seekers (EUROPA, Nov. 2013) [text]
On the Fringes of Europe, No Warm Welcome for Refugees in Bulgaria (Livewire Blog, Nov. 2013) [text]
"Syrian Refugees Find Discomfort and Unrest in Bulgaria," Time Magazine, 16 Nov. 2013 [text]
Syrians Face Bleak Time in Bulgaria’s Broken Asylum System (IRIN, Oct. 2013) [text via ReliefWeb]
UNHCR Chief Urges Europe to Help Bulgaria Cope with Syrian Refugee Influx (UNHCR, Nov. 2013) [text]
The Children of Harmanli (UNHCR, Nov. 2013) [access]
- Follow link for photo gallery.
Syrian Refugees: Frustration in Bulgaria (UNHCR, Dec. 2013) [access]
- Follow link for video.
UNHCR has issued its 10th set of Guidelines on International Protection. The focus is on "Claims to Refugee Status related to Military Service within the Context of Article 1A (2) of the 1951 Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees."
Here's part of the introduction:
"Since the publication of the UNHCR Handbook there have been considerable developments both in the practice of States and in the restrictions placed on military service by international law. Given these developments, as well as divergences in jurisprudence, UNHCR issues these Guidelines with the aim to facilitate a consistent and principled application of the refugee definition in Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees in such cases. These Guidelines examine the position of individuals who seek international protection to avoid recruitment by, and service in, State armed forces, as well as forced recruitment by non-State armed groups."
These guidelines replace UNHCR's Position on Certain Types of Draft Evasion, from 1991. They also are intended to be read in conjunction with UNHCR's reissued Handbook and Guidelines on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.
Other documents relating to the evasion of military service can be found via my Delicious bookmark list.
The Court of Justice of the European Union Delivers Judgment in the Joined Cases of C-199/12, C-200/12 and C-201/12, X, Y and Z v Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel (European Database of Asylum Law, Nov. 2013) [text]
- See also related AIDA update, Economist article, and Lettres article below.
*In Search of Safety: LBGTI Asylum-Seekers and Refugees in Ireland (UNHCR, Dec. 2013) [text]
"In the Shadows: The Difficulties of Implementing Current Immigration Policies in Adjudicating Gender-Diverse Asylum Cases in Immigration Courts," LGBTQ Policy Journal, 14 Nov. 2012 [full-text]
Migration and Travel Information for Russian LGBTI Individuals and their Families (ORAM, Dec. 2013) [text]
'Otherwise I am Nowhere': Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Monitoring in Refugee Organisations (University of York, 2013?) [text via ORAM Blog]
"Statut de Réfugié et Appartenance à un Groupe Social (Directive 2004/83/CE): Une Victoire à la Pyrrhus pour les Personnes Homosexuelles," Lettres Actualités Droits-Libertés, 13 Nov. 2013 [text via Oppenheimer Chair]
Witnessing Justice: Transgender Woman Granted Asylum in Baltimore (Lifted Lamp, Nov. 2013) [text via ImmigrationProf Blog]
- Includes video telling the stories of three LGBT asylum-seekers assisted by Immigration Equality.
I have just visited Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. Denmark becomes my 62nd official country where I have spent a motionless night.
Here's my updated official list. (The unofficial list of other countries I have touched is below.)
Countries I have technically visited but which do not qualify with one motionless night:
Jennifer writes about lots of tiny babies, but today let me share the story of a 57 year old woman I'm caring for on Kijabe Hospital's Womens' ward. Mercy's her name.
She came in with some diffuse respiratory symptoms: cough and shortness of breath for several months. Let's call it a chronic cough. Should she have come earlier? Perhaps.
She underwent the standard work-up for her problem: complete blood count, chest X-ray, sputum examination - as well as a test which every patient get who is admitted to any hospital in Kenya: an HIV test. Bang - positive. Life-changer. I have not gone into the details of her lifetime partners with her, but in most of the cases we see at Kijabe, women are married and faithful to their husbands - while men are out and about and inadvertently bring the virus home to their wives. Don't mean to man-bash here, but those are the facts.
So, Mercy is very sick. She has several signs suggestive of tuberculosis. And she's dealing with a new diagnosis of HIV infection. That's a lot to deal with. She's got to be worried about the possibility that she might not live as long as she once expected to live. She is dealing with denial, anger, or fear - or all of the above.
So on Friday we were rounding and began to speak with her at the bedside. As if things couldn't get any worse…she told us that she received news that her two sons who are in their late 20s got into a serious fight the night before…and killed each other. My jaw dropped. This is beginning to sound a lot like the Book of Job. Debilitating and potentially terminal illness. Estrangement from her husband. Death of her children. Not much left except for her house to burn down.
I stood at her bedside with my two medical trainees - silent. What to say? I tried to think of what to say. I tried to express some words of consolation and encouragement. Everything I could think to say just seemed so trite. I really can't imagine being in her shoes. Try it. You have just been told you have AIDS and that your two sons killed each other last night. Unfathomable.
Well, I made an effort to console her in her sorrow. Then she looked up and said, "If you put God first, then everything else will be OK." No sobbing, fist-shaking, screaming. Only quiet confident words of faith. Very inspiring.
That's my prayer when I face disaster. No cowering, groveling, cringing. Lament yes. But hopefully, that howl melts with disturbing clarity into worship.
Maybe ten years ago, the project I worked for had a driver named Dima. Dima was a rockstar. He was exceptional in every way. Sure, he could pilot you unscathed through bad traffic and worse roads, but that was the least of his talents. Dima could jumpstart a car without cables.[i] Dima could courteously repel local police harassing our office for bribes. Dima could get our visas in record time, find the best rate to change money legally, and in a pinch, put on a suit and represent the project in coordination meetings.[ii] Dima could put together a powerpoint presentation and unclog the drain in the office kitchen.
And Dima could predict the weather. He always knew what kind of clothes we’d need the next day, if rain or snow or sleet was coming. Approximate temperature, cloud cover, the works. It was uncanny. He was almost always right.
One day, after discovering we were due for snow, I asked Dima what his secret was. Had he grown up on a farm? Did he have rheumatism? He grinned and told me. Yahoo Weather. He checked it every night so he could help the office make plans; he considered it to be part of his job as a driver.
People are people. We exoticize them to our peril – and their harm.
Dima was our driver. Orientalizing him didn’t do much harm. But what if he’d been a mom in a community we worked with? A doctor we were training? What damage would we have done by underestimating his computer skills?
[i] He’d put his own functioning battery into the dead car, start the dead car, and then hot swap the flat battery back in while the car was still running.
[ii] His title was “driver and program assistant” just for that reason.
Tired of seeing those squirrels hopping around naked? (via Neatoshop http://www.neatoshop.com/product/Squirrel-Underpants)
"Do you think one minute of silence is enough, or should it be a bit more for Mandela"
There was a time where “Coke was good for you” (HT Brian Gray)
This post first appeared on Views from the Center
At a recent book launch, I was on a panel on which we were asked whether we can show that aid is a good use of public money, if the problems it aims to tackle are complex. I replied with a half-remembered statistic, which (now that I have had a chance to look at the numbers) turns out to have been right. It was this:
If you add up all the aid that all OECD countries have given since they started counting it in 1960, and then assume that the only thing that this aid has achieved was the eradication of smallpox, then the whole thing would still be a bargain, costing less than half what the UK National Health Service spends on average to save a life.
Here are the numbers. According to the OECD, total aid since 1960 has been about $2.6 trillion in cash terms, which works out at about $4.7 trillion in 2013 prices (that is, taking account of inflation).
The story of the eradication of smallpox is told in one of the chapters of the CGD book, Millions Saved. As is documented there, though the eradication of smallpox was mainly financed by the affected countries, the effort succeeded because of the contribution of foreign aid (though I acknowledge that no one can say for certain what would have happened in the absence of aid).
These days most of us do not remember how terrible smallpox was: it has killed more people in history than all wars put together. Since the last death from smallpox in 1978, somewhere between 60 million and 120 million premature deaths have been averted by its eradication.
If you divide the total amount of money we have spent on all aid from all donors to all developing countries put together by the minimum number of deaths averted only by the eradication of smallpox you get:
$4,700,000 million in aid / 60 million deaths averted = $78,300 per death from smallpox averted
The UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) uses a cost-effectiveness threshold of roughly £100,000 per death averted. A treatment which costs less than £100K (or $160K in USD) to avert a death is regarded as good value for money. Some British newspapers – including papers which are hostile to foreign aid – argue that these cost-effectiveness thresholds are too low. The Daily Mail, which calls NICE a “rationing body”, says that we should be willing to spend more that this to prolong life or improve its quality. Perhaps we should: the threshold used in America is far higher, and in other public policy contexts we use much higher figures than this for the value of a human life.
So even if we make the absurdly conservative assumption that the only thing achieved by the totality of all foreign aid has been the eradication of smallpox, and that this saved only 60 million lives (which is the lower end of the range), then the cost per death averted has been less than half the cost which we say is good value for money to avert a death in the UK National Health Service, a threshold that is often regarded as too low. Unless you want to argue that we should value a British life at more than twice the life of an African, then we can conclude that foreign aid has been, on average, good value for money.
(The smallpox programme itself – which cost about $1.5 billion – was ridiculously good value for money, at just $25 per death averted.)
Of course, the eradication of smallpox is not in reality the only success to which foreign aid has contributed. As well as ending deaths by smallpox, aid has contributed to reductions in deaths caused by malaria, diarrhoea, and diseases, together averting about 10 million deaths a year (roughly equivalent in deaths averted to eradicating smallpox six times over). The Green Revolution in agriculture may have averted a billion deaths from hunger. Millions of children have gone school, and families been given access to clean drinking water and electricity. Farmers have been given access to irrigation, seeds and fertilizers, and entrepreneurs have been given small loans. Governments have been helped to collect tax and organise elections. Millions more women have access to family planning. And there is evidence – including this award-winning paper – that aid has, on average, helped to increase economic growth and rising incomes. But it turns out we don’t need to include any of those benefits in our calculation to know that aid has been good value for money.
This is not a call for complacency. Some aid programmes fail, and some of those failures are avoidable. We can continue to improve the value for money of aid, and we have an obligation both to taxpayers and to the people we are trying to help to do so. We should be conscious of the opportunity costs of using aid in the way we do, rather than in some other way which might help people more. I am proud to work for an organisation which devotes quite a bit of time and effort to finding positive ways to help to make aid better, as well as arguing for other policy changes to accelerate development. The conversation about how to improve aid is important: but please let’s start with the recognition that aid is already fantastically good value for money.
only 30% [of EU citizens] see education as a priority [for development] ... There is still a lot of awareness raising we need to be doing in the education sector. (says Global Partnership for Education staff member)I'm trying to keep the snark to a minimum these days but this was too tempting. Personally I think it is appalling that the EU public doesn't see improving the welfare of economists and consultants as the top continent-wide priority, and there is a lot of awareness raising to be done to help citizens appreciate just how under-appreciated economists are.
More constructively, call me crazy but maybe just maybe it should be developing country citizens who are setting the development priorities rather than EU citizens?
And finally, "raising awareness" is actually already on the development #bannedlist so just stop it. If you want to sell or market your product or idea that is fine, but would you ever say that Coca-Cola are sensitizing people or raising awareness about their great taste? Exactly. What you are talking about is advertising or marketing. And to go out on a bit of a limb - isn't it possible that the very language of "sensitization" and "awareness raising" actually helps to reinforce the unhelpful narrative of expert foreigners with all the answers showing up to tell the ignorant locals what is what - and thereby contributing to the general lack of attention paid to the opinions of the poor? Wooooah, I might have betrayed a bit of exposure to SOASian critical theory there. But language matters. "if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought ... Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." Mr. Orwell, 1946