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#10 Links Expat Aid Workers Like

April 27, 2012

Here at SEAWL we often spend hours looking for the right e-card/ironic poster thingy to send or share on Facebook with our EAW friends. Luckily, we’ve found a site that has all our EAW-type greeting card needs taken care of!  (HT @wrongingrights).

Speaking of Wronging Rights, be sure to download their new e-book Beyond Kony 2012.

This week’s choice for brutally honest, soul-baring link, is @quinnzim writing about the ‘aid bitchslap’ — the strange, ugly and enlightening time of moving from idealism to realism:

“Some things I have become clear on as a result of Haiti:

  1. Good intentions aren’t enough. 
  2. Rose-colored glasses are bullshit. 
  3. The white savior industrial complex is real, demonstrated daily by feel good aid programs that probably don’t work, or feel good causes like Kony 2012 that generate plenty of buzz but don’t add up to much when people are actually supposed to do something.
  4. You can’t help people who don’t want to help themselves.
  5. True altruism is an incredibly rare thing. (See #3)
  6. Little victories must be celebrated if you want to protect yourself from the crippling effects of the larger failure.”

Also see the Reddit discussions on Quinn’s post

@TexasinAfrica gets irritated at media coverage of Africa. “Mainstream news outlets frequently run stories under headlines like “Land of Mangoes and Joseph Kony,” [are you kidding me?!] seemingly without thinking how condescending and racist such framing sounds.” Binyavanga Wainaina agrees.

Swedes and Blackface and FGC and Racism and Gender, oh my. Too much to unpack here. @Hayibo explains that it’s because Europeans are just savages, duh. Johan Palme tries to gain a cross-cultural, cross-gender and cross-sector understanding of it by actually talking to the key people involved, though it seems like there’s a lot of folks at cross-purposes and living in parallel universes.

As if blackface wasn’t bad enough in the Swedish Golliwog Cake incident, Foreign Policy gives us blackbody on the ‘Nekkid Burqa Woman‘ (HT @naheedmustafa’s piece) cover of their ‘sex’ issue featuring @monaeltahawy’sWhy do they hate us.” This wins FP the prize on the Orientalism is Alive tumblr for ‘orientalist image of the week,’ and, along with the Eltahawy piece, generates some major discussion, for example, here and here.

On a lighter note we have The African Man vs the Hollywood Stereotype by the makers of Alex Explains Commando

Oh, wait, it’s not lighter at all, according to Elliott Ross who writes,

“Lydia Polgreen was right last week when she tweeted about Afua Hirsch’s take on lazy Western reporting in/of Africa in the Guardian. (All the big print beasts seem to be bringing out new versions of this kind of post/op-ed every day, which is welcome, though some of the more recent critiques have simply rehashed a lot of not especially original arguments, and even headlines.)

To quote Polgreen: ‘What is more insulting than the idea of “positive news” from Africa? As if the continent was a dull witted child in need of encouragement.'”

Just more attempts by foreigners to re-create a brand for Africa and Africans?

Last week’s 52 reasons why you shouldn’t date an aidworker spawns 52 reasons you should date an aid worker. (We hope that participants/beneficiaries of aid worker dating were consulted in the process of establishing these lists.)

And finally, Spencer Ackerman hates on Beltway Culture HT @brettkeller

Time for a holiday.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2012 9:50 am

    love how you highlight that there should have been participation in the 52 reasons to/or not to date an aid worker. I for one did 15 years of research on the subject (yup, that is how long the hubs and I have been at it…) so I KNOW it was all a mistake, but might need another 15 to prove it.

    PS also love the photo


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