Humanitarian Videos Discussion
I’m working on a political science question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
Post a two-paragraph reflection on Canvas your initial reactions to the themes of the videos in relation to “the humanitarian misunderstanding,” focusing on the following: What did you learn from the videos? Do you think there is a “humanitarian misunderstanding”? What were your observations about the actors/interviewees/singers in each video? What were your emotional reactions to each? Were they similar or different, and how?
Here are some examples from other classmates.
rom reading the article on “humanitarian misunderstanding” I think there is a sense of “calculated philanthropy” associated with this song. there is a senses of the singers are doing their humanitarian act for the year by doing the song. There is also a point Kemedjio brings up and that is the negative portrayal of post colonial countries and how they “cannot govern themselves”. This drought was not caused by humans. New humanitarianism would educate the people that the drought is “a fatality, a result of implacable droughts in a dry continent”. There are better ways to go about helping a country when they are dealing with a natural disaster. I honestly do not think these singers were doing this song to be malicious. I think the song in 1984 was just a lack of knowledge on the singer’s part. I do not think it is appropriate to sing about a tragedy especially when every 20 minutes a person is dies.
The song in 2014 was ignorant. The singers did not listen to the negative backlash on the song in 1984 or in the humanitarian community. All of these singers have a platform they should use to inform. They could have avoided all of the negative press if they just tried to inform the rest of the world like new humanitarianism proposes.
There is definitely a “humanitarian misunderstanding” ; it is evident in the “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of”…. Band-Aid 2014’s “Crumbs from Your Table”* article by Dr. Lynch. I learned a-lot from the articles and the videos. The Radi-Aid video was good to see again. It is such a comical way to view humanitarianism. Especially when the song lyrics sang “how the tables have turned”. The BBC video was hard to watch.
Upon watching this week’s videos, I learned from Professor Kemedijio’s lecture that humanitarianism is a human response to suffering seeking to provide help to distant strangers in the global trie. Humanitarianism is a human response to human suffering, however, I believe that as Professor Kemedijio’s lecture and supplementary videos show, the phenomenon is often riddled with misunderstanding. For example, Professor Kemedijio utilizes the example of slave traders providing welfare to the enslaved as an example of a “calculated philanthropy,” an act based on the perceived boost to productivity and profitability. Within a similar light, the 1984 Band-Aid Video exhibits a similar theme behind the action of these singers/actors. The video documenting their fundraising is extremely lighthearted and filled with footage of them enjoying themselves while raising funds to help those suffering. I couldn’t help to feel off-put by this relief effort, could these singers not have leveraged their own funds and influence to directly help those suffering rather than putting out a song to raise funds. This seems to be a humanitarian misunderstanding in which humanitarianism has been misconstrued to be an act of calculated philanthropy casting the actors in a positive light, giving them good publicity while doing some good for the suffering.
Another theme from Professor Kemedijio’s lecture that the videos highlight is the phenomenon of dependency which has tainted humanitarianism. Professor Kemedijio’s lecture makes use of one of the most famous photos from the abolition movement in the United Kingdom where upon asking for equity the Black man is still presented as kneeling. This kneeling Professor Kemedijio argues is a symbol of the encounter between a giver and a receiver. This notion of a giver and receiver was prevalent in the BBC’s coverage on the famine in Ethiopia. This particular news report is riddled with “aid pornography” with countless shots of humans suffering without their consent to be seen by the world. When aid arrives within this report there are scenes of panic and excitement, with Western officials being framed as a voice of reason and knowledge. This report scarcely elicits input from the impacted population but rather focuses on the suffering and subsequent relief efforts, solidifying the image of a giver and a receiver. This video made me feel ill, not because of the images of suffering but rather because of the exploitation of these suffering people for news footage. Furthermore, the footage and news report does little to address the systemic causes of the suffering, a key feature of the humanitarian misunderstanding as mentioned by Professor Kemedijio’s blog post. The final video was much more lighthearted the Radi-Aid video suggesting that Africans pull together their heaters to send to Norwegians in desperate need during the winter. This video pokes fun at the White Savior Industrial Complex and flips the script on them, stating that this time Africa will come to help Europe. This video is very fun and the satire is instantly evident, criticizing the aid that so often is framed as saving Africa. This video was the first that elicited a lighthearted response from me, compared to the others which instead made me upset and frankly disgusted. All of these videos however go to show the phenomenon that is the Humanitarian Misunderstanding, working to supplement Professor Kemedijio’s argument.