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Humanitarian Issues - Famine and Ideology
November 21, 2008
This article is part of the Fall 2008 issue of the MSF Alert newsletter.
“Famine we see on our TV screens from time to time is all the more intolerable because it seems a vestige of a long-ago age. But this is far from the case. During the 20th century famine caused as many deaths as did conflicts between nations. How many of us, indeed, are aware that one famine in Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus alone killed as many peasants as all the combatants killed during World War I?”
—From the chapter “Famine and Ideology” in From Ethiopia to Chechnya: Reflections on Humanitarian Action, 1988-1999, by François Jean
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) recently published From Ethiopia to Chechnya: Reflections on Humanitarian Action, 1988-1999, a collection of essays by François Jean (1956-1999) translated by Richard Swanson.
Jean contributed enormously in the field and at headquarters to the evolution and direction of MSF for nearly two decades. After joining MSF in 1982 to establish medical and surgical projects in war-torn Lebanon, he went on to oversee emergency medical interventions in a variety of countries, including Chad, Pakistan, Sudan, and Chechnya.
Throughout his time with MSF, Jean wrote prolifically about the difficulties and challenges faced by humanitarian aid workers in a shifting political landscape.
Tags: Humanitarian Issues