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Are back-to-back emergencies getting you down? No time to grab a moment to yourself? Team-housemates getting on your nerves?
Disasterjunkie DJ is back with a top 20 chart run down to banish those blues, so kick back, plug in and enjoy!
20. "I ain't got no home", a timeless Woody Guthrie song sung by Billy Bragg, should strike a chord with many a nomadic humanitarian. Give it up for the Braggster!
19. "Passengers" by Elton John, or rather the specific lyric "deny the passengers who want to get on..." will bring back memories of interminable waits in foreign domestic airports, while the video reminds us of the fashions still available in local markets up the road from said airports.
18. "Just like a woman" by Bob Dylan, a true classic and is dedicated to all those people, colleagues or otherwise, who still struggle to understand what gender mainstreaming is all about.
17. "Where did all the good people go" by Jack Johnson laments the harsh reality when experienced humanitarians are rotated on to the next emergency leaving hard-to-fill shoes behind or the collective sigh under the breath when colleagues belonging to other organs from the higher echelons of humanitarian architecture are promoted to a higher level of incompetence.
16. "Eight days a week" by The Beatles is as fresh today as it was when it was first released and will resonate with all of you who cry with laughter when reading the hours written in to your contract, which you and I both know, is a work of fiction.
15. "Our house" by Madness gives a warm, fuzzy glow to the most extreme team-abode, whether it is a collective tent, a cluster of tukuls, or concrete box of a house with the outdoor pit latrine, electric fence, sleeping guards and so on and madness it surely is...
14. "I've gotta get a message to you" by The Bee Gees is dedicated to all of the humanitarians around the world, who were in the field before the advent of facebook and twitter and tried their utmost to send letters home by donkey, moped, boat, small plane, large plane, 4 by 4 and via the multi-pocketed jacket or waistcoat of fellow aidworkers on their way to R&R with the promise of a cool beer "if you could post this for me when you reach <insert city>".
13. "A little less conversation" by Elvis Presley remixed by JXL, or specifically the line "A little less conversation a little more action please" will sound familiar when waiting on a decision from HQ or cluster coordination meeting (sorry did I just use 'decision' and 'cluster' in the same sentence? ...mea culpa)
12. "Express yourself" by Labrinth celebrates the individuality (or perceived individuality) of aidworkers the world over who proudly wear ethnic jewelry, henna tattoos, hair braids, loud African or Indonesian print trousers, desert boots, teva sandals, RayBans and various bags made out of recycled WFP food sacks.
11. "Love is a battlefield" by Pat Benatar is an ode to humanitarian lovers everywhere, who met on mission...but did your love make it? Only you can decide...
10. "I need a dollar" by Aloe Blacc heralds that uncomfortable feeling when working round the clock to submit yet another funding proposal or when your R&R budget didn't quite stretch to cover a visit to the local spa.
9. "A whiter shade of pale" by Procol Harum aptly describes the appearance of British humanitarians arriving in the field for the first time, or when they experience their first ever tropical intestinal parasite or the morning-after-the-night-before heavy, all-night NGO party.
8. "Under pressure" by Queen rings alarm bells for those of you who know only too well what it feels like when your HQ insists that you magic a multi-sectoral emergency relief programme out of virtually nothing under the glare of media spotlight while rivals proudly display the merits of unrestricted rapid emergency response funding.
7. "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, will tug at the heartstrings of the most hardcore of aidworkers, when packing and unpacking rucksacks for the umpteenth time.
6. "Young, wild and free" by Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa ft. Bruno Mars tips a nod to the youthfulness of humanitarians who still feel 17 years (or the age when they first went on mission) inside because "conflict zones make you feel so alive you know" and the unwritten motto "work hard, play even harder".
5. "One day/reckoning song" by Asaf Avidan could refer to upward and downward accountability but the lyric "one day baby we'll be old..." is a dead giveaway exposing the illusion of number 6.
4. "Pumped up kicks" by Foster the People is dedicated to all of us who feel that adrenalin rush whether we like it or not during deployment...you know what I'm talking about.
3. "Roar" by Katy Perry is a ferocious take on those 'straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back moments' when aid cargo is stuck at customs, visas are refused, security incidents prevent movement, team members are playing up, there are more needs than resources, there's an idiot in charge of inter-agency coordination, CNN is in your face, flag-waving territory-grabbing newbie aid organisations get up your nose and one of your ex's turns up in a position of influence...yep, "You're gonna hear me roar" alright!
2. "Blurred lines" by Robin Thicke ft. T.I and Pharrell will resonate with those who have experienced awkward civil-military relations. Let's give it up for humanitarian space, the final frontier!
1. "One thing" by One Direction might seem an odd choice for number one but its kind of all encompassing and all consuming, which emergency situations themselves often are. You see there will always be one thing you will forget to do on your never-ending to do list, always one thing more that the people you have come to serve will want or need, which you can't meet and always one thing that unites us humanitarians wherever we are - the love of humanity itself. Give yourselves a pat on the back. All that is asked of you is to do your best and not one thing more.
Peace and love to all... xxx