I was pursuing a bit of secondary reading about humanitarian evacuations—well established as a practice now, but not in 1921, when the one I’m writing about took place. There are various examples from later in the twentieth century, especially concerning children: the children brought to France and Britain (and the Soviet Union) during the Spanish civil war, the Kindertransports, or somewhat later the contentious ‘Operation Babylift‘ that removed the children of US servicemen from Vietnam.
The term we use today, though, was slower to emerge. The rough measure of a Google ngram shows that ‘humanitarian evacuation’ is absent from the corpus of books in English before 1968. Rising from that point, there’s a low peak of frequency around 1980, but it’s in the late 1990s that the phrase really takes off, especially with the humanitarian evacuation of Kosovo Albanian refugees who’d fled to Macedonia in 1999. (The UN High Commissioner for Refugees at the time, Sadako Ogata, told the security council that this evacuation had ‘no precedent’ in UNHCR’s history.)
The one from last year is about killer robots.
When am I next going to a conference?
I can’t express how irritatingly capricious WordPress is being today
about frames, paragraph breaks, and smart quotes.
Believe me, I’ve tried my best.