Romanticism and the development sector

As in the case of a (more) developed context, underdevelopment creates losers and winners. The development sector faces the paradox of building a new (socioeconomic) dynamic by breaking a generally well-established structure of power and income generation. Therefore, the acceptance of a development project relies on the side of the affected individual or group.

The following NYT article is an example:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An American aid worker involved in a U. S. government program to bring development to a lawless tribal region of Pakistan was assassinated in his car Wednesday morning as he went to work in the provincial capital, Peshawar.

The American, Steve Vance, and his Pakistani driver, were shot as their car approached the house in Peshawar where Mr. Vance ran a project to bring small-scale projects and jobs to the Federally Administered Tribal Area, a stronghold of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, his associates said.

The United States Embassy in Islamabad confirmed that an American citizen and his driver were killed in an attack in Peshawar. The embassy was coordinating with local law enforcement agencies to determine what happened, a spokesman, Wes Robertson, said.

Pakistani officials in Peshawar said they did not know who was responsible for the shooting at around 8 a.m. in a residential area of the city known as University Town. The killings came after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded sports stadium in the center of Peshawar Tuesday night, moments after leading politicians of the city had left the arena.

The umbrella Taliban group, Tehrik-i-Taliban, claimed responsibility for the stadium attack.

Mr. Vance worked for part of an ambitious program run by the United States Agency for International Development to bring $750 million of development projects to the tribal region over five years, according to his associates who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak about the incident.

Mr. Vance was the director of a “livelihoods” project run by the Cooperative Housing Foundation, which was funded by USAID, they said. Several dozen Americans working on the USAID effort to counter the Taliban by creating jobs and building infrastructure in the tribal areas are based in Peshawar. The city is on the frontline of the tribal area, and serves as something of a rear base for the increasingly powerful Taliban.

Mr. Vance lived with his family in a house in Peshawar, according to his associates. American diplomats are required to use bullet-proof vehicles in Peshawar because of the security risks in the sprawling city.

Mr. Vance, however, like other aid workers involved in the American development effort, was traveling in a car that was not armored, his associates said.

The Taliban have increasingly flexed their muscle in Peshawar, stepping up suicide bomb attacks against law enforcement targets and politicians. In August, a group of men shot at the car of the senior American official at the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar. The diplomat, Lynne Tracy, was unharmed.


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