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Waiting for politics at the mercy of river: case study of an enduring community

Waiting for politics at the mercy of river: case study of an enduring community PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to highlight the power of protest in quasi-democratic politics and feudal societies; consider deep-rooted impacts of illiteracy, inequality, marginalisation and powerlessness on poor peoples’ behaviour; and analyse how these turn them to believe in fatalism.Design/methodology/approachThe paper narrates 12 years of work with isolated and poor communities, which are prone to annual flooding and riverbank erosion. Reflections are based on the years of NGOs’ workers experiences and conclusions.FindingsPoor governance stems from deep-rooted multiple inequalities – land/resources, religious knowledge, education, social hierarchies, cultural norms and political power. This leads to fatalism which deters the poor from making the powerful accountable. An outside catalyst is essential to break the ice. Disasters do create opportunities to act against injustices.Research limitations/implicationsThe paper narrates 12 years of work with isolated and poor communities which are prone to annual flooding and riverbank erosion.Practical implicationsThe old community is gone. The Ahmadies constitutionally declared non-Muslims have rebuilt their village. Meanwhile, other families have gone elsewhere. They may have a house of sorts but are landless and have no sustainable income. With spurs, the river may go back and leave their land. Reclaiming their land will be a huge task.Social implicationsThere is a serious need to link civil society based in urban centres with those who live in remote areas, isolated and oppressed, in order to transform a quasi-democracy into a participatory and social democracy.Originality/valueWhen floods hit, erosion accelerates and makes people homeless and landless. Yet, erosion is not considered a disaster. The country lacks public policy to address the issue. This study highlights of the urgent issue of riverbank erosion that could shift policy. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Disaster Prevention and Management Emerald Publishing

Waiting for politics at the mercy of river: case study of an enduring community

Disaster Prevention and Management , Volume 28 (1): 8 – Feb 4, 2019

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0965-3562
DOI
10.1108/DPM-06-2018-0187
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to highlight the power of protest in quasi-democratic politics and feudal societies; consider deep-rooted impacts of illiteracy, inequality, marginalisation and powerlessness on poor peoples’ behaviour; and analyse how these turn them to believe in fatalism.Design/methodology/approachThe paper narrates 12 years of work with isolated and poor communities, which are prone to annual flooding and riverbank erosion. Reflections are based on the years of NGOs’ workers experiences and conclusions.FindingsPoor governance stems from deep-rooted multiple inequalities – land/resources, religious knowledge, education, social hierarchies, cultural norms and political power. This leads to fatalism which deters the poor from making the powerful accountable. An outside catalyst is essential to break the ice. Disasters do create opportunities to act against injustices.Research limitations/implicationsThe paper narrates 12 years of work with isolated and poor communities which are prone to annual flooding and riverbank erosion.Practical implicationsThe old community is gone. The Ahmadies constitutionally declared non-Muslims have rebuilt their village. Meanwhile, other families have gone elsewhere. They may have a house of sorts but are landless and have no sustainable income. With spurs, the river may go back and leave their land. Reclaiming their land will be a huge task.Social implicationsThere is a serious need to link civil society based in urban centres with those who live in remote areas, isolated and oppressed, in order to transform a quasi-democracy into a participatory and social democracy.Originality/valueWhen floods hit, erosion accelerates and makes people homeless and landless. Yet, erosion is not considered a disaster. The country lacks public policy to address the issue. This study highlights of the urgent issue of riverbank erosion that could shift policy.

Journal

Disaster Prevention and ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 4, 2019

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