David Holdridge

David Holdridge is the author of the memoir, “The Avant Garde of Western Civ.” He spent 35 years working with humanitarian organizations amidst populations suffering from war, exploitation and impoverishment, including assignments in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the United States. From 2005-09, he was regional director for Mercy Corps’ Middle East programs. During those years, Holdridge and his team were among the few American civilians in Iraq to live outside the Green Zone. From 2010 to 2012, he directed an advocacy effort in Washington, DC, that argued for significant transformation of the current systems and approaches of American assistance abroad. He received the Prize Americana in 2015 for his memoir. He also served as the Vietnam director for Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation in Hanoi, and as regional director for the Balkans and Middle East of Catholic Relief Services, among other development-related positions. He was wounded in Vietnam while serving as a platoon commander.
Social Contacts

The Culling of the Herd

You don't have to be within an eyeshot of the great plains to know about the “culling” of the herd. Where I grew up, near a small farm in New England, we kids knew all about “culling.” Across the road, on the far side of the cornfield, near the tree line, there would be a disturbance. Among the stubble of corn stalks, some mongrels would be scuffling in the snow,... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Climate Change: A Contrarian View

We are inundated these days with ominous news on the extent and pace of climate change and the associated predictions of the looming catastrophe it carries with it — the ubiquitous planetary cry of the next generation who will soon inherit the Earth. A rallying cry seemingly to “save human civilization.” But why? What are the redeeming qualities of human civilization that deserve... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Who Makes a Profit from Charity?

In the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, a money game was played by all involved in the relief effort. I had begun my effort for duty free imports a week before with my first elucidation on the correlation of “dignity,” for adolescent boys who had so recently seen their parents crushed like so many eggshells, to my T-shirts now sitting in a dusty depot in... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

We Are the Gods of Plenty

The latest sex scandal involving one of the world's leading charities, Oxfam, demonstrates the systemic inequality of international aid. With the UK’s Charity Commission launching a statutory inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse — potentially involving minors — by Oxfam’s senior management in Haiti and Chad that may cost the organization $40 million in EU funding, one of the... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Time for the Private Sector to Represent American Values Overseas

It is well-nigh time for the private sector to reclaim the effort of overseas relief and development. As our national budget comes under greater scrutiny, it seems the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is in late-stage bereavement for its possible demise. The agency, adjunct to the State Department, has a variety of assigned functions but core to its mission is to... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Donald Trump: A Confusion of Truths

Donald Trump is in the process of ridiculing the enlightenment, seemingly immune to the charges of “prove it.” For most of us, the scientific method was our mother’s milk. What had begun with Isaac Newton and his contemporaries had come to imbue much of our national fabric until “prove it” was the standard issue across America’s playgrounds. Or, similarly, until many of us got... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Crowdfunding American Soft Power

Given Trump’s betrayal, can we crowdfund American aid and soft power abroad? The current debate between liberals and the Trump administration on American soft power abroad is not being framed correctly. Liberals should be arguing for more American citizen engagement overseas rather than for maintaining and extending into the future a dependency on the United States Agency for International... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

The Avant Garde of Western Civ

David Holdridge presents an extract from his book, The Avant Garde of Western Civ. Cross Border, Summer 2005 “They are imbuing the soil with their blood,” I said. “Sanctifying it and making it theirs. The field of Blackbirds for the Serbs,” I added as I turned toward my Serb program director, “versus the footloose, the homeless, and the multinational who will not die for... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Modern War: What Hath Technology Wrought?

Are we on the way to losing the distinction between virtual war and the preciousness of life? Current calculations are such that America can no longer afford war as it has been waged in the past. Consider the numbers. Take a casualty in Vietnam, for example: At say 40% disabled, a corporal or a lieutenant, 23 years of age who lives to 80 will cost the United States government about $1... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Global Inequality: Here to Stay

Global inequality is as inevitable as the early dominance of sedentary peoples over hunter gatherers.  The common understanding these days, as derived from popular anthropologists, is that the fortuitous concentration of high protein grains and mammals — who would be domesticated about 12,000 years ago in the fertile crescent and later along the shores of the Yellow River — allowed,... Continue Reading

Fair Observer
Load More
Fair Observer, 461 Harbor Blvd, Belmont, CA 94002, USA