Saturday, October 09, 2004

Meanwhile: Genocide in Sudan

"As John Heffernan, a senior communications associate for Physicians for Human Rights, detailed for the Prospect in June, since early 2003 Sudanese government forces and a government-supported Arab militia, the Janjaweed, have conducted a slash-and-burn campaign against the African Darfurians, destroying their villages, murdering their families, raping women, and displacing millions. In Heffernan’s dispatch, a 35-year-old woman told how the Sudanese military circled her village, set her house on fire, and brutally murdered her sister and niece.

It’s precisely these heart-wrenching stories that the TV cameras ought to be capturing in an effort to stir the American consciousness. But while the images and voices are powerful when reported, Americans do not see them enough.

Consider the number of reports on the subject from the three major TV network news programs, which are watched collectively by nearly 26 million Americans each week. Over the past year there have been an abysmal 15 stories total, many of them aired in the past several weeks. ABC leads the pack with eleven, NBC is second with four, and CBS trails with a single report...

With limited access to the region, and a government complicit in the atrocities, news organizations have depended on the conservative estimates of aid groups. But often months would pass without updated numbers; TV reports would relay the numbers without noting they were dated. On June 2, FOX News first reported that 'at least 30,000' people had been killed in Darfur. More than three months later on September 9, FOX News reporter Teri Schultz relied on the same number, as if the Janjaweed had taken a summer vacation."

-Thomas Lang, "The Genocide Will Not Be Televised"

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Surviving Darfur

Since the 1970's, photojournalist James Nachtwey has provided witness of man's cruelty to man. Nachtwey has covered events in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Rwanda, Bosnia, Indonesia, Iraq, and elsewhere. In this week's Time Magazine, Nachtwey chronicles refugee camps in Sudan.

Click here to view "Surviving Darfur."