Fact, advocacy, parody

history & humanitarianism

Benjamin Thomas White recently published a blog on the surprising ‘fact’ the average stay in a refugee camp is 17 years. Once surprising because of how very long it was, it is now surprising because, despite being frequently repeated, it turns out not to be true. In the first instance, the data it relies upon is from 2003. If the simple passage of time then doesn’t lead you to think a recount might be necessary, then perhaps the UN’s claim that the global refugee population is now at its highest since the Second World War will. Secondly, the figure didn’t include Palestinian refugees. Thirdly, it wasn’t about camps. And finally, as UNHCR’s own documents stated, it was always a very crude estimate. (You can get the full details on Ben’s blog.)

In discussions after the blog, Jeff Crisp – formerly of UNHCR – drew our attention to a report he…

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Heroes: The White Helmets

Amazing and brave heroes – the Syrian White Helmets

HumanKind

the white helmets syria

We all know the big charities and NGO’s of today’s development and humanitarian scene. When I say UNICEF, Oxfam, Save the children, Red Cross and International Rescue Committee, you probably all know what these organizations are and what they aim to do. All these organizations have their pro’s and con’s ranging from discussions about overpaid executives, expensive headquarters and inefficient use of funds. But let’s be honest. There will never be big NGO’s without con’s. Try and solve the problems of the world and you are bound to step on someone’s  toes.

These are the big, well-known charities, but there are millions and millions of non-profit, charitable organizations around the world. In the ‘Heroes’ section we would like to introduce the smaller, not so well-known, but amazing organizations to you. By doing so, we hope to offer these small organizations a platform to share their work and to help you…

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Readings from the ‘Book of Gaza’

Wish I was in London for this!

Arabic Literature (in English)

If you’re on London May 27, then you’ll want to find your way to SOAS, where Nayrouz Qarmout will read from the short-story collection The Book of Gaza:

Gaza cover artwork_HR (2) copy

If you’re not in London, then stage your own May 27 reading, silent or otherwise.

The ten-story collection is edited by Atef Abu Saif, who is shortlisted for this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). Tomorrow evening, we will  find out whether Abu Saif’s A Suspended Life is the 2015 IPAF winner. Even if not, you will surely be hearing much more about Abu Saif, as he recently released a must-read memoir, The Drone Eats With Me, and was the winner of a recent London residency. He also has the most compelling short story in The Book of Gaza, which is a varied, interesting collection that ranges over four decades of Gazan literary production.

Four of the writers included in the collection are young women: Najlaa Ataallah…

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