THURSDAY TALK: Muhammad Shehada on the aid industry in Gaza: Pacification, Power and Resistance

THURSDAY TALK: Muhammad Shehada on the aid industry in Gaza: Pacification, Power and Resistance

Thu 28. Oct 19:00 - 21:00

Global Aktion, Wesselsgade 2, 2200, København N

Posted by Global Aktion

The Gaza Strip has over 1200 NGOs and civil society organizations and receives hundreds of millions in humanitarian and development aid annually. Yet, life in the besieged enclave has been only regressing from bad to worse to unlivable.
This talk will discuss the peculiarities and contradictions of counterinsurgency in Gaza, where aid works as a "pacifying pill," "a painkiller" or "anesthetic," in the words of its recipients.
Two examples will be discussed in-depth take:
1- The aid and NGO industry, and how buzzwords like youth teams, women empowerment and leadership skills, and the scramble for funding are undermining organized civil society.
2- The 2019 "cash for calm" understandings, whereby Israel allowed Qatari cash to enter Gaza in suitcases, in return for local authorities providing Israel with calm at the borders.
The core point will be to highlight how humanitarianism could lead to de-development, could become an integral part to an economy of violence that serves to contain rather than improve; in other words, to sustain the status quo. The discussion will be concluded with policy-oriented remarks on avenues for change and improvement.
This talk does not intend to discredit development and relief aid per se. To the contrary, aid is indispensable to Gaza’s survival given its worsening living conditions. The aim is rather to critically highlight what kind of implications the aid industry in Gaza produces on the receiving end, in order to call for more constructive engagements that genuinely alleviate suffering rather than contain it.
Muhamad Shehada is a Palestinian writer and political analyst, columnist in the Forward and contributor to Newsweek and Haaretz. His work appeared in Al-Jazeera, VICE, and the Nation among others.
This event is part of the Thursday Talks events series at Global Aktion where every Thursday at 7pm we invite you to our office at Wesselsgade 2, Copenhagen: At the Thursday Talks, we gather for talks and panel discussions on topics that range from political analyses of Turkey to the interlinkages between class and climate crisis.

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