When Western NGOs enter a country in the throes of civil war or revolution, they can offer resources and interact positively with different communities to bring about peace, justice, and humanitarian stability. While they do good work, they will inevitably create a distorted value system for human life, especially when they enter countries outside of the West or the Global North.
In a talk and workshop at Scripps College on Tuesday, Sept. 27, journalist and correspondent Steve Negus led students through an exploration of contemporary media interpretations of the Middle East and the so-called War on Terror. He opened with an anecdote about a killing he witnessed when an innocent civilian drove too close to a building protected by a private security company. The guard opened fire on the driver, suspecting the car of being packed with explosive and operating under pressure from a value system that places NGO workers’ lives higher than those of civilians living in the area.
Since 1993, Negus has covered the Middle East for the Associated Press, the Financial Times, the Guardian, and others. He also worked as the editor of the Cairo Times and as a member of the Institute of War and Peace Reporting. He was invited to Scripps as part of the college’s Fall 2016 series “The ‘War on Terror,’ 15 Years Later.” Next up in the series is Pardis Mahdavi, an associate professor of anthropology at Pomona College, who will be speaking on the connections between the war on terror and the war on trafficking on Oct. 4.