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What are the progressive folks writing abut Darfur?

by Atlantic Review Sat Dec 17th, 2005 at 12:51:12 PM EST

I consider myself liberal and progressive. And I think Darfur should be of concern to liberal and progressive folks, but I see so few blog posts and diaries about Darfur in liberal and progressive blogs, incl. Dailykos and Eurotrib. Am I blind?

Anyway, I would like to draw your attention to SPOTLIGHT ON DARFUR 3: Christmas Edition, which was organized by a great Blogger in New Zealand. This is progressive, I believe.

Criticizing CIA renditions, the death penalty, the war in Iraq, data mining is all fine with me. However, please let's not forget the much more severe human rights violations, mass murderer, displacements and rapes in Darfur.

We should pressure our governments to do much more to save lives in Darfur.

Since you seem to make a purely numeric argument (a thing I normally do not like to do), I will proceed to do the same and offer you my point of view.

According to the numbers published in the spanish press, the numbers of people killed in Iraq exceed those in Darfur.

The number of people killed in Darfur is a very difficult number to grasp because of the difficulties in the reporting. There is a huge difference among different estimates

Actually, the number of deaths in Congo are larger. the number of people dead in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and in Colombia (due to coca gangs financed by the "war" on drugs) are roughly those of  the number of people dead in Darfur.

From different reports in the Spanish press:

Iraq from 30000 to 100000 people dead (lower estimate belongs to the US)
Area of Congo estimates are around 20000 (the great unreported war, estimates from UN members and journalist extrapolations, wild unknown guesses)
Colombia plus Rio around 10000 (other drug related crime in all South America will increase that number by a factor of 2, without counting people dying directly from overdose or taking cocaine in bad estate. These data come from official sources)
Darfur.. estimates vary between 5000 and 20000 people (5000 from local organization and 20000 for those claiming a genocide-style killing happened some months ago).

And in this list, I have only included people dead in "wars". By far, the worst problem is the 500-800 million people in misery with problem to get food who died becasue their inmune system becomes too weak.

So, yes I think we should have a stronger say about the huge underated and undereported war in Congo...This said, of course, I think we should talk more about conflicts around the world...starting with Congo, followed by the legalization of drugs... followed by a number of conflict in Africa, including Darfur.

But priorities number one are still hunger and Iraq. Second comes Congo and drugs... Congo is definetely undereported in this site and all the western press and concience. Regarding Darfur, in the present situation of ceasefire, I think it is properly addressed in this forum. Another spike in the number of deaths should be for sure addressed here. But more kids die of hunger in Africa in any given day than in the ceasefire (even if it only partial) in Darfur

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Dec 17th, 2005 at 01:38:35 PM EST
As far back as 2003 the WHO was reporting 70,000 dead just in a 7-month period in 2003.  The US State Department has given a figure of 60-160,000.  The Coalition for International Justice, based on extrapolations from refugee interviews, has estimated 400,000.

See this Washington Post story for details.

Iraq doesn't even come close.  I hate to say it, but it appears that because the Iraq situation can be so easily blamed on the Bush administration, it gets a lot of play.  Darfur is the fault of the Sudanese regime, and it simply isn't as fashionable for western progressives to criticize, despite being one of the world's most odious governments.

by tyronen on Mon Dec 19th, 2005 at 03:46:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you very much, tyronen.

I agree with your analysis, obviously.

I guess I don't tell you anything new with the following comment re:

"simply isn't as fashionable for western progressives to criticize"

In my humble opinion: Real progressives do not care about fashion, but about progressive causes.
Those who care about fashion are "champagne socialists."

Atlantic Review - A press digest on transatlantic affairs edited by three German Fulbright Alumni

by Atlantic Review (bl -at- atlanticreview dot org) on Mon Dec 19th, 2005 at 05:01:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was not aware of making a numeric argument, I was just complaining about a lack of attention for Darfur.

I agree with you on Congo.

I agree with you on hunger and poverty as well:
http://atlanticreview.org/archives/74-To-alleviate-extreme-poverty-the-G8-have-to-make-international -trade-more-fair-and-increase-aid.html

"around 29,000 under-fives die every day from causes that are easily prevented, such as diarrhoeal dehydration, acute respiratory infections, measles and malaria."

I wrote about Top Ten Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2004

You have not convinced me on Iraq, however.

Why is Iraq worse than Darfur?

I did not say that Darfur is worse. I only noticed that very little is written about Darfur in comparision with
CIA renditions, the death penalty, the war in Iraq, and data mining.

Atlantic Review - A press digest on transatlantic affairs edited by three German Fulbright Alumni

by Atlantic Review (bl -at- atlanticreview dot org) on Sat Dec 17th, 2005 at 04:16:20 PM EST
Human suffering is of little interest to us unless it impacts us personally.

Think of the tsunami last year: without tourists and video, there would have been almost zero notice taken.

Darfur, Congo, Haiti . . . . But there's no need to go so far afield. If there's no oil, if there's no strategic interest involved, if there's no ideological struggle at stake . . . forget it.

Poor people, lack of health care, crummy schools, under-funding of social programs, old people who have to choose among eating, heating, and buying medications--boring, boring, boring.

Thanks, AR. I have noticed the same silence on these issues on the 'progressive' blog sites. Too often the real attraction is a good fight. It's a lot more fun spitting at Bush than facing mass starvation and genocide in Africa, etc., etc. Sometimes I wonder what in hell these folks would do if the Democrats actually re-took the Presidency. What then?

Pogo: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

by d52boy on Sat Dec 17th, 2005 at 08:53:40 PM EST
There are three major reasons why Iraq is more important than Darfur.

First, America has invaded Iraq. That means that the Western press can get access to Iraq, or, at least, to the reporter hotels and the American military press conferences--which plenty for our modern so-called reporters to write a "report" on what's going on. If a reporter finds his way to Darfur he's likely to get shot and dumped in a ditch, which is not as glamorous as being interviewed on TV with Bagdhad under attack in the background.

Second, because America's so-called "coalition of the willing" is made up almost entirely of Americans, America-bashers can have a field day at American expense by criticizing the situation in Iraq. Whether the situation in Iraq is better or worse than it is elsewhere is irrelevant if the elsewhere doesn't have an American military presence to make rude comments about.

Third, Iraq has oil, and Darfur doesn't.

by asdf on Sun Dec 18th, 2005 at 08:46:12 AM EST
Granted, little of it is in Darfur, but Sudan's oil is now sold to China, and Chinese money is thus backing this murderous, genocidal regime.  

China has even threatened to veto Security Council resolutions condemning Sudan, I think.

by tyronen on Mon Dec 19th, 2005 at 03:56:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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