Over the past 16 years, Dr. Samantha Nutt – currently the executive director of War Child Canada – has worked in such wartorn countries as Somalia, Iraq and Liberia. And in her book Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies & Aid, which will be published in October, she reflects on humanitarian concerns: What is the ultimate goal of aid? What should people know about an organization before making a donation? How do Canadians influence armed conflicts in other countries?
Nutt, who holds post-grad degrees in community and family medicine from U of T and is an assistant prof at the university, also explains what it truly means to do good – showing the devastation that can be generated by well-intentioned but inexperienced groups. She also takes some corporations to task: What could be wrong with big business donating surplus goods to Africa? Corporations get a charitable receipt (even if goods were made in sweatshops in China) and garner some nice publicity – but hundreds of thousands of textile jobs in Africa are lost due to the used-clothing trade.
Damned Nations includes the stories of those who have suffered in conflict zones, and Nutt urges the reader to view people in these areas respectfully: “They confound every western stereotype of the hopeless, helpless victim waiting for us to rescue her. They seek justice not charity, solidarity not pity, and opportunity not handouts.”