Humanitarianism Gone Awry?: An Interview with Rony Brauman on the Arche de Zoé Affair

Humanitarianism Gone Awry?: An Interview with Rony Brauman on the Arche de Zoé Affair

Six members of the French charitable association L'Arche de Zoé -- "Zoë's Ark" -- are presently being held prisoner in N'Djamena, the capital of Chad. They are charged by Chadian authorities with kidnapping. The six were arrested on Oct. 25 while preparing to "evacuate" from the country some 103 children who had allegedly been made orphans by the conflict in neighboring Darfur. As it turns out, however, the vast majority of the children were neither orphans nor from Darfur. Could a well-meaning humanitarian initiative have thus degenerated into simple crime? Rony Brauman, former president of the French NGO Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), says yes and places a large measure of the blame on the exaggerated claims of certain politicians and intellectuals concerning the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. He spoke with Christophe Boltanski of the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur.

John Rosenthal


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