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Humanitarian Aid, New Colonialism?

January 28, 1997

Humanitarian military interventions have grown rapidly since the end of the Cold War. Whether in Haiti, Somalia, Liberia, or more recently in Bosnia and Rwanda, the images of starving children or entire communities held hostages to corrupt military gangs are increasingly being used to justify US or UN military adventures.

At the same time, the humanitarian aid business has never received as much attention and money. But whose interests do agencies like CARE, Feed the Children and Catholic Relief Services really serve? And are humanitarian interventions a mask for a new type of colonialism?


MICHAEL MAREN, formerly an aid worker in Somalia and more recently a journalist and author. He just published a new book, The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity.