Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

28 September, 2005

"We have learned nothing from Rwanda"

The destruction and massacres in Darfur continue unabated but America isn't watching. So Nat Hentoff writes in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post from a couple days ago.

Eric Reeves of Smith College in Massachusetts, the principal historian of the horrors in Darfur, wrote on Aug.11(www.sudanreeves.org) that the genocide there could become "much worse" as "the international community has abandoned these people to genocide by attrition." And on Sept. 8, Salih Booker, executive director of Washington-based AfricaAction, warned: "The death toll continues to mount." The American media, with few exceptions, have also largely abandoned Darfur. In"All Ears for Tom Cruise, All Eyes on Brad Pitt" in the July 26 New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof, who has often reported from the killing fields, writes: "If only Michael Jackson's trial had been held in Darfur." Mr. Kristof noted that: "According to monitoring by the Tyndall Report, ABC News had a total of 18 minutes of the Darfur genocide in its nightly newscasts all last year and that turns out to be a credit to Peter Jennings.

"NBC had only 5 minutes of coverage all last year, and CBS only 3 minutes (except for '60 Minutes') about a minute of coverage for every 100,000 deaths. In contrast, Martha Stewart received 130 minutes of coverage by the three networks.

"Incredibly, more than two years into the genocide, NBC, aside from covering official trips, has still not bothered to send one of its own correspondents into Darfur for independent reporting." This appalling performance by broadcast and cable television is not surprising if you believe newspapers are invariably the source of in-depth coverage of vital stories.

There has indeed been serious reporting on Darfur in The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times and other papers; but most of the print media have little to be proud of in their coverage of this genocide, whose total deaths could well reach more than 1 million by the end of the year, thereby topping the number of corpses in Rwanda.

So much for "Never Again". And today, if one were to go to the Khaleej Times website, a paper from the United Arab Emirates, one would notice an article describing how it appears that some of the violence from Sudan is spilling over to neighboring Chad.

About 50 people were killed in eastern Chad when armed horsemen from neighbouring Sudan attacked a village and later clashed with Chadian forces, the government spokesman and army sources said on Tuesday.

“Armed and uniformed horsemen from Sudan infiltrated Chadian territory on Monday between 8:00 and 9:00 am (0700 and 0800 GMT) ... and took to massacring Chadian people and stole their livestock,” said the communications minister, Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor.

If you think gas prices are exorbitant here in the States, be glad that you're not in the dire straits of some Africans.

Crude oil prices surged to a record $68 a barrel this week on supply concerns, raising fears of further fuel hikes in Africa where burdened families were already reeling from rises.

"If they are increased again, I will be left with no food to feed my orphans because (food) prices will go up because of transport costs," said Mai Wisiki, a grandmother with four orphans in Malawi's Chiradzulu district.

Across Africa, prices at the pump are ballooning at an alarming rate, pushing millions of people on the world's poorest continent deeper into poverty and adding to the threat to the continent's forests, the source of much of its firewood.

Finally in the news today, unlike Condoleeza Rice, Undersecretary of State, Karen Hughes, is taking the Saudis to task for their treatment of women, among other things.

Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes questioned Tuesday the Saudi ban on driving by women, telling a crowd of several hundred Saudi women, covered head to toe in black clothing, that it had negatively shaped the image of Saudi society in the United States.


Hughes hastened to add that Saudi society must change at its own pace and according to its own traditions, but she went significantly further in her statement than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did on a visit three months ago. Rice pressed for greater political freedoms for women but dismissed the subject of driving as "just a line that I have not wanted to cross."

But what I found most disturbing was this:

During a meeting with top Saudi editors, Hughes pointedly noted that the United States was concerned that inflammatory literature intolerant of other religions and traced to the Saudi government had been found in American mosques. Hughes pressed the government to help "find room to respect people of different faiths and different faith traditions."

Great. Our "friends" at the House of Saud are sponsoring spiteful religious propaganda.
|| Palmer, 11:03 AM


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