Re-Envisioning Peacekeeping: The United Nations and the Mobilization of Ideology

By François Debrix | Go to book overview

5
A Taste of Their Own Medicine:
Medical Assistance and Humanitarianism
as Substitutes for UN Peacekeeping

L'action humanitaire ne fonctionne pas seulement comme une ambulance et ses adeptes comme des brancardiers. Il s'agit d'un regard, d'une méthode, d'une morale. (Humanitarian action does not only work like an ambulance, and its followers are not only like medics. It is first of all a gaze, a method, and a morality.)

—BERNARD KOUCHNER, “VIVE l'HUMANITAIRE D'ÉTAT”
(LONG live state humanitarianism)

“This emptying out of interiority to the benefit of its exterior signs, this exhaustion of the content by the form, ” which, according to Roland Barthes, is the very principle of triumphant classical art, is also at the basis of humanitarianism as a spectacle.

—RONY BRAUMAN, DEVANT LE MAL: RWANDA, un génocide en direct (FACED with evil:
RWANDA, witnessing live a genocide)

Over all [the] endeavours on the part of clinical thought … hovers the great myth of a pure Gaze that would be pure Language: a speaking eye [that] would scan the entire hospital field, taking in and gathering together each of the singular events that occurred within it; and as it saw, as it saw even more clearly, it would be turned into speech that states and teaches…. This speaking eye would be the servant of things and the master of truth.

—MICHEL FOUCAULT, THE BIRTH OF THE CLINIC

-171-

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