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A transformed Humanitarian concept from the Grassroots Public to Political Globalization
Photo by Jesse Schoff on Unsplash

Humanitarianism is a heated sentiment in the merit of human existence. It is the state of harmony where human beings exercise compassion by providing physical and moral assistance to their fellow humans.

A humanitarian strives to improve the circumstances of tenderness for ethical, altruistic, and logical explanations.

Traditionally, humanity has been the function of the grassroots or collective consciousness on a limited scale with purely geographic boundaries. But for almost half a century, the role of humanitarianism has been taking the form of a much larger scale with more diverse forms of borders and boundaries. The process of benevolence today is much more sophisticated and vaster so that it has taken a political image on the global stage. Furthermore, there are many more prominent players in the so-called” New Humanitarianism.”

Today humanitarianism and socioeconomic crisis are merely dictated by international and international political attitudes. Hence, the “New Humanitarianism” depicts a government-led switch from humanitarian relief as a right to a new system, which is crafted by consequentialist ethics.

The New humanitarians dismiss the yore’s political naivety and believe in perpetual validation of humanitarian aid’s long-term political consequence. They are apt to recognize humanitarian relief used as a tool to accomplish human rights while assuring their political objectives.

The recent Semantic Shift in the Humanitarian Concept

Humanitarianism stands as an everyday practice doctrine where people must promote human welfare. It is founded on a belief that all human existences warrant respect and stature and should be dealt with accordingly. Humanism rejects the notion of the “us vs. them” mentality that characterizes ethnocentrism and tribalism. But the new definition reflects anything but that!

For instance, for the past decades, the Syrian conflict in Mideast has drawn overwhelming media attention in the sociopolitical stage. Still, the major international players are always overlooking disputes such as the genocides happening in Yemen over hotties and Myanmar in east Asia. Global sanguinity about Myanmar’s fledgling democratization and the peace process has shifted many Western donors towards the ‘normalization’ of aid ties with the former pariah state. However, these transitions are not discerned as an improvement by community-based health groups, which operate under para-state governance systems in the boundaries. Instead, these institutions’ fellows often describe the arising ‘development’ paradigm in Myanmar as doing more harm than good. The latter discrepancies are the epitome of political meddling in the prevailing humanitarian efforts and the role of politics, government, and collective approach to who gets proper humanitarian aid, how, and under what condition.

Such a semantic shift also underscores the role of corporations and corporate-backed philanthropists in the political realm.

The Classical vs. resilience humanitarianism

Classical humanitarianism is grounded in the notion of exceptionalism. Resilient humanitarianism, on the other hand, dawns on the hypothesis, assuming crisis as the new normalcy. The two paradigms produce incongruent portrayals about world dilemmas, local establishments, and; the humanitarian relief recipients. The ‘classical Dunantist paradigm has been corresponded and partly surpassed by a radically varied architype, i.e., the ‘resilience paradigm.

Classical humanitarianism focuses on the aid, the resilience counterpart concentrates on local response capacities. Although both of the latter scenarios have powerful reasoning that dictates a particular way of seeing the landscape of the crisis, i.e., the humanitarian strategy, none less they result in different bodies of practice. The resilience paradigm lays on the idea that people, communities, and societies can alter tragic life events and disasters. Hence, in resilience, disaster, rather than being a total and immobilizing upheaval, can become an event in which people seek continuity by using their resources to adapt. As elaborated above, classic humanitarianism is framed around the idea of a strict separation between predicament and normality.

The New Humanitarianism is the next further Collective Action

The concept of “humanitarian” assistance as being pure and nonpolitical is utter fiction. Just as the United States and many other countries have established that clearly within their chronology of track records. Particularly with regards to U.S. policies, humanitarianism has always been about national security interests. Since the 1950s, the idea of international philanthropy has always been the subject of a big controversy. Some believe that the root causes of human rebelliousness rest in poverty, disempowerment, and inherited inequality. Hence aid could alter the distribution of rights. Despite the argument, the modern-day corporate-led globalist initiatives, which was initially meant to be a classic humanitarian system, has turned into a Neo-Feudal movement. Only with a minor semantic drift, the humanitarian cause of action has lost the argument to those who sponsored a combination of military action with aid instituted in reverence for traditionally emerged political authorities, technical and opposed to redistribution of wealth and resources. The new humanitarianism and its resilience version have been adapted by the Politicians and recently by the non-Governmental entities (primarily by corporate entities) as the new collective norm, only this time at the terms of a different group of people’s substitute wits.

Global Introduction of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) as a Fundamental Player in the New Humanitarianism

By the culmination of the Cold War and the upsurge of globalism, the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) role has become increasingly prominent, particularly in world politics. Of course, the humanitarian systems’ original mission is to stay politically neutral amidst increasing global tension. Due to their work’s nature, they often struggle to remain effective amid complex political, military, and social dynamics. Therefore, some corporations have decided to join the various administrations’ political campaigns rather than staying passive. The latter entities are a few and typically are those with large scale operations such as insurance companies, financial institutions, Big Data industries, and social media.

Despite the emergence of Humanitarian actors on the global stage, they have become subject to a progressively more rigorous critical analysis, with many thinkers questioning the effectiveness of their efforts. Indeed, aid operations in Darfur, Afghanistan, Serbia, Somalia, and Rwanda have been accused of provoking local insecurities.

New humanitarianism’, a covered code for militarized interventionism

The issue of protecting commoners and helpless crowds from the aggression, violation, and abuse of war has been the emphasis of debate for quite some time. Over the last few decades, there has been a reiterated approach for philanthropic intervention to protect civilian members of the society from the threats of armed dispute.

Without proceeding into the extreme, It is the dominant percept that with the involvement of IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks founded by the united nations in 1995), emerged in response to the crisis of the Rwandan genocide, since the field of humanitarian assistance hasn’t changed the outcome. Humanitarianism endures predominantly a Western-dominated arena, charity-driven in its business model, and technocratic in its strategy.

The New Humanitarianism in the hands of the Non-Governmental organizations themselves uses humanitarian assistance to achieve broader political goals. That has mainly generated a new conditionality that allows for help to be withheld and has produced victims’ moral hierarchy. Some merit more than others, hence pleading to the revival of universalism and Globalization as the opening step to a new set of principles. For instance, the humanitarian grounds behind NATO’s 1999 action in Kosovo have been based on the overriding limitation that the operation is without human casualty. Obviously, there would have been no intervention in the Kosovo genocide if classic humanitarianism was a requirement. Therefore, it ordained the selection of taking military action as the means of humanitarian intrusion, which, in turn, delivered outcomes that contradicted the humanitarian reasoning of the operation. Hence, it hastened the very disaster it was intended to prevent.

Nowadays, interventional or, in the currently acceptable language, humanitarian action that” draws an abundance of players, including major corporations, many of which are consumed by states or multilateral agencies. That they conduct to be from the West, often toil for U.S. or European agencies, and offer their services by encouraging new brands of social and economic organization raises questions about such agents, their values, goals, and conduct.

The idea of interventionism concerning humanitarian efforts is incongruous. Because most of the vague ideologies reflect the complexity of determining the rightfulness and utility of armed invasion in humanitarianism. The latter also grows even more crooked when one legitimizes meddling into another sovereign country, hence questions the principles of state sovereignty under international law. The New humanitarianism underlines the legitimacy of challenging the inherent values of international law and international relationships.

Corporate agenda, Politics and the new humanitarianism: The axis of neo-feudalism

As global crises evolve more frequently and complex, humanitarian aid delivery increasingly depends on a growing crew of humanitarian and non-humanitarian actors such as corporate philanthropists. Furthermore, in the face of developing New humanitarianism, the feudalistic style of relationship between the corporate entities and administrations is becoming more than ever confident.

The proponents of corporate involvement in humanitarian efforts describe their vision based on humanitarian assistance delivery in today’s stage as being beyond traditional humanitarian players’ capability. They see that call within two grounds: The first being related to the point that humanitarian response is a domain where business and societal challenges come together in climatic processes. The second rests as to what they see as a considerable imbalance between multinationals’ power and the fragile institutional contexts of the places where most crises occur. The proponents of corporate philanthropists such as Bill Gates and George Soros see the solution in increasing multinational’s engagement in humanitarian action. That, in turn, bestows new roles on these powerful corporations as humanitarian actors. Thus, the motivations for corporate engagement are often at least partly practical and place them in the “Elite” position in the neo-feudalist movement. Naturally, governments would be the best tool to secure their interventionist ambitions via the militarization of Humanitarian efforts. Such Globalist or multinational approaches may prioritize short-term rather than structural engagement with humanitarian initiatives. Such factors mean that corporate assignation in humanitarian action, while seemingly intriguing, may also have unintended and undesirable upshots.

The evidence suggests that the notion of New humanitarianism is another “Trojan Horse” for the corporate “neo-aristocrats.”

Although the idea of expanding business opportunities through establishing a transparent, free-market economy is the most ideal, nonetheless, the corporate-driven globalized approach is an utter mistake, thus exposes the globe to slavery and corruption. That; not only does not solve the original problem in the long run (even if it may seem productive in a short time) but also will sacrifice the same people that the humanitarian mission originally intended to help the corporate monopoly.

Globalism: A Novel concept, hence The New Humanitarianism

As outlined earlier in this article, the aftereffect of the post-conflict state-building or the new wars of the post-cold war age has mainly targeted civilians, has prompted a proliferation of non-state actors, and the hazards of war economies. In an era when reflection time is as valuable as reaction time, some scholars stress the need to develop a humanitarian equivalent of military science. For some corporate philanthropists, this means the involvement of large corporations in international political affairs. As the comprehensive policy of handling the whole world according to the proper sphere for political influence, globalism has been emphasized since the fall of communism.


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While humanitarianism has always lived in international politics, nonetheless, it has never had the status it continues today. That may be associated with the fact that philanthropy is the ideology of a group having predominant influence or authority over others. Traditionally such groups would be easily delineated through the establishment of geographic boundaries. In the globalist dominion, today’s boundaries have given way to the large corporations’ imaginary borders amidst themselves. The affiliation between Globalization and humanitarianism as it reveals itself in law and politics causes the erosion of fundamental humanitarian principles such as refugee protection.

Today the concepts like “Black Lives Matter” and the “COVID-19 pandemic” display the hypocrisies and structural problems that have long underpinned international humanitarian action. We sure live in an era when the mainstream perpetuates disparity among individuals, de-funding institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, besides abandoning the humanitarian principle of neutrality as a way of “decolonizing” international aid. Political institutions’ fragility is focalizing to challenge many scholars’ assumptions of how they define a crisis. The socioeconomic Globalization that was initially intended to create uniformity in the world’s lifestyle has turned into utter “Globalization of vulnerability.

As misery and devastations of individual rights become more apparent, it’s a skirmish that those in need are protected. And many communities in need are in quest of social justice, societal functioning institutions, and individual liberty, not a few bags of rice and plastic sheeting.

All in all, collective consciousness and its version of humanitarian effort has left us with an empty word. The new humanitarianism is the product of the collective consciousness of the neo-aristocrats and their neo-feudal agenda.

Although contemporary humanitarianism was initially being conceptualized as a response to the suffering caused by the human state of discord, however, initially been the ‘starting point for modern institutionalized aid agencies emerged from the Battle of Solferino on June 24th,1859’ since humanitarianism has steadily long-drawn-out from its novel emphasis on the sick and wounded, to the ship-wrecked, detainees of war and noncombatants.


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W. E. B. Du Bois was an American sociologist and historian. DuBois’s account on humanitarianism includes crises that were not always seen as humanitarian, such as natural disasters. The moral imperative for humanitarianism’s expansion into new issues also stems from communities’ voices affected by humanitarian crises. DuBois’s criticism of the paternalism overaction that limits a person’s liberty or autonomy implies that the shape of humanitarianism cannot be an endeavor to defined by humanitarians only. Still, mostly, by those they endeavor to serve. The latter phenomenon is not being delivered through the New Humanitarian system. The same applies to the fact that it restricts humanitarianism to the mere ‘delivery of emergency relief. Ending all need maybe an overly pretentious goal, especially as it requires political solutions beyond humanitarian action scope. Nevertheless, humanitarian action should eventually aim to complete the market for its intervention to make itself obsolete. Alternatively, humanitarianism ultimately aimed at strengthening the resilience and capacity of those it seeks to attend could guarantee sustainability without creating such a hole, yet devoid of corporate monopoly.


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Adam Tabriz, MD
Dr. Adam Tabriz is an Executive level physician, writer, personalized healthcare system advocate, and entrepreneur with 15+ years of success performing surgery, treating patients, and creating innovative solutions for independent healthcare providers. He provides critically needed remote care access to underserved populations in the Healthcare Beyond Borders initiative. His mission is to create a highly effective business model that alleviates the economic and legislative burden of independent practitioners, empowers patients, and creates ease of access to medical services for everyone. He believes in Achieving performance excellence by leveraging medical expertise and modern-day technology.

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