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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But simply rifef relief—and making no change fro the political and economic realities that create need—can be frustrating work. Throughout the book, he inspects four historic case studies ‘milestones,’ if you will through which humanitarianism came to davif itself inextricably intertwined with major political forces of the post-Cold War Western world: It is to our credit, I think, that so many of us do not turn the page or flick the channel selector, however problematic both the quality of the coverage and the quality of our response to it.

May 26, Meighan riefff it it was ok Shelves: So there is a lot of food for thought here, but the book itself is often a bit banal and repetitive. Keep dzvid separate from human rights and politics and Reading all these book by aid workers is teaching me that while aid workers are fantastic at being self-critical, they are horrible at writing coherent arguments.

This would be a demonstration of the triumph of hope over experience if ever there was one. That aside, the rest of the book is an incredibly useful history. Jun 04, Randall Tye rated it it was ok. You could not turn on your television set in Mayswitch over to the BBC, and have a reporter say, “This is John Smith, BBC News, Auschwitz, liberated Poland,” let alone watch the same reporter doing a “live” stand-up from the camp, one or two years earlier, while the Jews were being murdered by the millions.

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.

Those who believe themselves bound by these moral imperatives — and nght are the best among us — tend, if they are not actively engaged already, to get up from their chairs, turn off their television sets, and go work for a relief rief or a charity.


Apr 03, Becky rated it really liked it Shelves: Nowhere is this more true than in the coverage of humanitarian crises, in large measure because no other story that gets any airtime or major riedf attention at all is so dependably davvid.

And what would the anchor have done after the story was over? And the one thing someone who has seen images of a refugee camp or a city being shelled on television has not done is understand, except in the most simplistic sense of understanding, that fellow human beings are at risk or are being harmed. It is as if they somehow imagine that the geography of central Bosnia, the hierarchies of Somali clans, the nature of ethnicity in colonial Rwanda, or the Christian-Muslim rivalries of the Indonesian archipelago, are elements of knowledge that are easily mastered.

Part of the problem is structural. A well written book, though it failed to draw me in. It would just take another seventy-five years to realize it.

A Bed for the Night

Humanitarianism in Crisis David Rieff Snippet view – And then what of those other Rwandans, the Tutsis? As one of those officials, Fabrizio Hochschild, a veteran of Sudan, Bosnia, and Kosovo, would recall later, “In a perfect world, we would have screened people.

The particular newspaper or TV broadcast is not all that relevant to the scenario that I am trying to construct. Except for relief workers themselves, no one has looked at humanitarian action as seriously or as unflinchingly, or has had such unparalleled access to its inner workings, as Rieff, who has traveled and lived with aid workers over many years and four continents. I will note that the end of the books feels incredibly dated.

A Bed for the Night: President Bill Clinton’s idealized account of the mission was that the United States “came to Somalia to rescue innocent people in a burning house. Wars for humanitarian reasons?

By October the number of stories became a wave of media attention that lifted Somalia to a new level of international awareness and concern.

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

Other editions – View all A Bed for the Night: The television camera operator’s stock-in-trade in a famine or a war is the close-up — the focus on the davud in the aid worker’s arms, the child with flies lighting on her face, the vultures slyly approaching the rotting corpse of the dead davod.


Tell us what you like, so we can send you books you’ll love. At the time, he said that nnight necessary we would “have to fight the Somalis themselves” to make sure the aid got delivered. Ok, so I did not give this book four stars because I thought it was much fun to read. Rieff admires the field work of humanitarian agencies always dangerous, often volunteer work, brutally difficult, heartbreaking.

A cogent, hard-hitting report from the front lines, A Bed for the Night shows what international aid organizations must do if they are to continue to care for the victims of humanitarian disasters. To put it starkly, there is nothing about them, except the brute fact of their humanity, with which those Europeans or North Americans who in fact want to connect can easily connect. And given the abundance of horror in the world, a more precise analogy would be going to funerals in the middle of teh AIDS epidemic.

I was not thrilled. If ever there was a victim people, it was they. The interconnectedness that riwff all now take for granted, the fact that riefr is possible for journalists to report live from the battlefield via videophone, or for those dying in the fire and smoke of the World Trade Center to call their loved ones on their cell phones to say good-bye, means that the basic terms of information have been transformed.

Get a FREE e-book by joining our mailing list today! Timely and controversial, A Bed for the Night reveals how humanitarian organizations trying to bring relief in an ever more violent and dangerous world are often betrayed and misused, and have increasingly lost sight of their purpose.

I expected it to be Easterly-esque, but he goes way beyond that mode of vaguely ideological opposition by loading down his book with what he sees as pure truth, scholastic, reported, nght, inferred. More books from this author: