This is an engrossing analysis by Cuny of what's wrong with international relief efforts. It is an edited version of a memorandum he wrote in July1994 to former Representative Steve Solarz (D-NY). Cuny was answering questions Solarz had asked about the problems with the existing system and the ways in which they might be solved through the creation of the International Crisis Group (ICG). ICG is a world-wide crisis-intervention organization Fred was trying to start with others at the time.
Cuny got caught up in the decision-making on the use of American troops to protect aid workers in Somalia in 1992. He drew up a strategy which was mentioned in several newspaper Op-Ed pages. This is the most comprehensive rundown of his plan. One of its key recommendations - keeping U.S. forces out of the "concrete snakepit of Mogadishu"- was ignored and eighteen Americans were killed.
Fred Cuny had worked on several planned books, including a manuscript, found on a computer disk, that deals with his love of flying. It confirms what many have long thought: Fred was drawn to his work in disaster and humanitarian relief work in large part because it meant he would have many opportunities to fly. Besides getting one to a disaster, there also are other ways planes can assist in relief work, as Cuny reveals in this chapter from his manuscript.
This letter was written to a high school friend, Don Stevenson, in July 1994, following Fred's visit to Washington and the Vietnam Memorial. In the letter he refers to the time he spent in Washington with Veronica Long, the daughter of Carl Long, Fred's closest friend in high school and college. Carl was killed in Vietnam in 1969; his death always stayed with Fred. He rarely spoke about it, but it is clear from this letter that Fred's failure to join the Marine Corps and to serve in Vietnam alongside his high school buddies was a lifelong source of guilt.
(Cuny's testimony before the House Select Committee on Hunger, July 1991)
The United Nations has long been a target for complaints by experts like Fred Cuny when it comes to the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Here Cuny explains where the UN is falling short and how it should be improved.
During the last year and a half of his life, Fred Cuny was working with Mort Abramowitz, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and several others, to create an organization that would independently bring attention to complex emergency situations around the world. Originally called the International Crisis Action Group (later shortened to International Crisis Group), Fred Cuny hoped that it would include many of the beliefs and approaches to crisis management that he had developed over the years. Cuny outlines these in this memorandum written in 1993 while he was in the middle of the Bosnian war.
Fred Cuny once told a colleague that when he couldn't sleep or when he was trying to work through a problem, he would sit at his computer and write. One of the most perplexing problems and opportunities to face Fred and the rest of the humanitarian relief community during the 1990's was how the end of the Cold War would affect humanitarian assistance and, the world in general. This is a paper Fred Cuny prepared on that subject in July1993.
After Cuny's emergency water treatment plant was designed, flown into Sarajevo and installed in a tunnel on the east side of the city, he was optimistic that it would be turned on within a matter of days, thus providing water to thousands who otherwise had to fetch it from wells often far from home. But city authorities refused to let him turn on the valves. In the following letter to Morton Abramowitz, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Fred explains the situation as of late January 1994, and discusses some of the possible reasons for the city's reluctance to provide water to its citizens.
During the two years Fred Cuny worked in Bosnia, he produced several plans designed to halt the fighting. Here is the last such plan he wrote in May 1994. He proposed it to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for discussion. Though it was discussed in Washington and Sarajevo, the plan was never implemented or, for that matter, seriously considered by any of the principals involved.
Fred Cuny wrote this New York Review of Books article soon after his first visit to Chechnya in the winter of 1995. He assessed where the war was heading, what could be done to end the fighting (and why the U.S. should get involved in negotiations) and the history underlying the conflict.
This plan for evacuating 30,000 civilians living in Grozny, Chechnya was written in February 1995. Among many other documents, it was found in the laptop computer Fred left behind in his hotel room in Ingushetia just before he disappeared. Despite his efforts, the plan was never implemented.
(A Presentation to the International Peace Academy
and the UN Peacekeeping Commanders)
From 1987-89, Fred Cuny worked in Sri Lanka during the period that the Indian Peacekeeping Force was in the northern part of the country attempting to bring peace between the Tamils and the Sri Lankan government. As a result of his experiences in Sri Lanka, he was asked to lecture at the Niinsalo, Finland military academy for future UN Peacekeeping Commanders on the subject of the use of the military in humanitarian operations. Cuny's presentation draws not only on his experience in Sri Lanka but on virtually all of the history of military-assisted humanitarian aid.
Cuny was frustrated for years by the lack of intelligent, quick respsonse to crises. One of his last projects was to start with others an organization which would meet these shortcomings. Cuny wrote this memo in the summer of 1994 explaining the need for such an organization - here referred to as the ICC - and how it would function. Although by the time of his death the direction and scope had changed, this Q & A provides a picture of what he felt was wrong with the current relief system and how it should be changed.
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