rethink fragility:

An oral history of conflicts, crises, and the aid business.

This is an interview series about how things really work.

Each episode is an extended conversation with a practitioner doing interesting, practical work, over the long term. We talk career trajectories, successes and failures, and lessons learned along the way.

Guests include aid workers, researchers, peacekeepers, clinicians, and more to come. The goal is to capture 100 wholly original perspectives over the course of 2018-20.

Your host is Ian D. Quick, an independent consultant and writer who has worked on stabilisation & post-conflict recovery for the last fifteen years.

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017: Nick van Praag

“It was something of a leap of faith, because I wasn’t sure how much traction there would be. Or if people would be concerned about what came to the surface.”

016: Hani Al Rstum

“You know, it’s always frightening for me to go to a performance. I always feel like I’m on fire.”

015: Bilal Al Ayoubi

“This was the peak, and this was the shock. I always compare this to 9-11 in the city of Tripoli, this twin explosion that took place.”

014: Christine Williamson

“90% of the time it didn’t go how I wanted it to. But 10% of the time it did, and often I look back and think, ‘Actually, those were the key moments’.”

013: Jean-Paul Chami

“I can always travel the world, and try to save the world. But it’s my own space that I need to learn to save first, and to work on.”

012: Assaad Chaftari

“This would be enough for me. A second of hesitation when the drums of war start playing. One second of hesitation.”

011: Siti Darojatul Aliah

“She spent seven years of savings to travel to Syria. You can imagine the propaganda of ISIS people, bringing Syria into her house. Bringing it into her mind.”

010: Rufa Cagoco-Guiam

“As a young kid, in one old book I actually wrote, ‘Ambition: To defend the oppressed’. I can’t stop laughing at it. But it’s all been a progression of that kind of ambition.”

009: Ochonye Bartholomew Boniface

“It was a painful experience to watch him die an avoidable death because he did not want to be treated as less human. Because they didn’t show him the honour and respect that he deserved.”

007: Teame Mebrahtu

“Who are we refugees? People with multiple identities, who are actually better prepared to become citizens of the global system.”

006: Alex Martins

“Why all economists? And why all from the global North? It’s 2018, and I just think that that’s not acceptable anymore. It’s about balance.”

005: Mario Gonzales

“We can’t distance ourselves from pain and trauma. We are immersed in them, because the basic principle of creating trust is that you will genuinely connect.”

004: Farai Maguwu

“I’m still the very same person as when I started, very radical and very strongly opinionated about human rights. It’s only that now I’m more informed.”

003: Dan Fahey

“I needed to understand the supply chain. So I went down a mine, traded for a bit of gold, put it in my sock like smugglers do, and went to find a buyer.”

002: Lewis Mudge

“Anyone who says they’re doing this only for noble reasons, not because it’s interesting, is being disingenuous. Objectively, this work is fascinating.”

001: Tariq Riebl

“If we are really good in this work, we are right 70% of the time. You’re going to make huge mistakes, and tons of small mistakes, all the time.”

000: Prologue

“I’ve been in this sector fifteen years, and I meet people every day who put everything on the line. Not because they don’t believe in bad endings, but because they despise them.”

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