On Leadership: Famine in Somalia

Astier M. Almedom, Washington Post
Published August 20, 2011

Leadership (not compassion) Fatigue

Professor Astier M. Almedom, of Tufts University, says the main problem we face in addressing humanitarian crises like Somalia is leadership fatigue:


There’s a narrative that goes something like this: Emotive media images and tired tales of famine-causing drought in Somalia have created “compassion fatigue,” a type of onlooker’s paralysis that dulls the fury and utter indignation that would otherwise motivate action.

That’s an insult, particularly with reference to the American public. ...The causes and consequences of hunger are complex, compound and context-specific—but the lack of solutions, whether here or in Somalia, isn’t the result of a dispassionate public. It’s a failure of leadership. (Continue reading: “With famine in Somalia, a case of leadership (not compassion) fatigue”)