Comments on Picturing Humanitarianism
"In the camps in Zaire following the Rwandan genocide, humanitarian groups rushed to the scene in order to show the flag and impress funders back home. Working in an orphanage photographs well and brings in revenue, but building clean latrines and sanitation systems does not - even though it is equally if not more essential for saving lives. ... De Waal posits a Gresham's Law for humanitarianism: bad humanitarian action can crowd out good action because hmanitarian organizations are rewarded for being seen rather than for saving lives."
Barnett's essay is followed by an insightful reply/comment by Janice Stein "Humanitarianism as Political Fusion."