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The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia, Holocaust and Modern Conscience Paperback – November, 1985

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Paper); Revised edition (November 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671606409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671606404
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,550,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Dungo on January 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
I first read Shawcross' Deliver Us From Evil and find that he was very spot-on with his assessment and observations on the work of the UN. This one gives a more detailed assessment of the aid work in Cambodia following the ouster of the Pol Pot regime

I have been here in Cambodia since the UNTAC years and saw for myself the bloated and clueless mafias of aid agencies. They come barreling through town with their wide tires, shiny 4wds and millions upon millions of dollars of funding. They were throwing money around like it was confetti. I saw it for myself and heard it first hand from their people and have come to see international aid as the world's good intention gone wild.

In this book Shawcross elaborates on what many of us poor casual observers suspected right away then: aid agencies solve problems as they perceive it at first sight. With no in-depth analysis and critical thinking that goes deep to understand disaster and crises, these people throw rice and dollars at a problem because that's what they think will solve it. This was in the 80's and towards the mid-90's. If it wasn't for the recession and donor fatigue, the aid system would not have shaped up it's approach. Thankfully they have learned from their mistakes.

One thing he has uncovered that we know little about is the cruelty and harshness that the Thai soldiers perpetuated on the Cambodian border refugees. Actually to be more precise: they shot them and drove them off of cliffs. At that time they seemed to be rumors and I saw that the Cambodian hate for the Thais as being founded on something shallow like envy. There seems to be little documentation on this and every account may been swept under the rug for bigger diplomatic gains. There seems to be no doubt that the stories are true.
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