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Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Relief Insudtry in Africa, by Alex de Waal

Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997. . . . ISBN:0253211581.

An effective critique of the �humanitarian international� which, in the name of promoting humanitarian relief, actually often exacerbates the problems. The author, a co-director of the london-based African Rights organization, discusses the culture of humanitarian relief agencies, which, usually staffed by ill-trained, if idealistic volunteers, are impervious to change, often focus on the wrong issues, and are usually fiercely oppose working in cooperation with governmental instutions.

Perhaps de Waal�s most telling observation is that famine is largely a consequence of authoritarian regimes; Indeed, he points out that there has never been a famine in a country with responsive democratic instutions.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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