Jul 11, 2005

From Srebrenica to Darfur: Humanity Under Attack

We Cannot Afford to Be Uninformed. It's A Matter of Life & Death!
It was 10 years ago, these days, when the Srebrenica massacre took place in Bosnia. [read here the account of those dreadful days in July 1995] It's named after the city that the United Nations had declared as a "safe zone" and where some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were executed by the Serbian nationalists under the leadership of the indicted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. It was a horrible failure by the west to stop this genocide. Such shameful inaction should haunt the entire civilized world, and especially those who had the power and the opportunity to act.

Today we heard a ton of
apologies from world leaders, but these leaders must feel the heat from the people. We have to demand that our government's policies reflect that human life and dignity is above politics, it transcends ethnicity, religion, race, or any other artificial division. We have to demand that the news media give us the news and not give us the world as a big informacial. We cannot afford to be ignorant because the price humanity pays is too high.

I think most Americans across the political spectrum value life. From the religious conservatives to the secular progressives there can be a common interest and course of action in preventing and punishing crimes against humanity. Words after the fact--and we've experienced so many atrocities just in the last few decades--sound hollow if we don't learn how to prevent those crimes against humanity. At least, when these crimes do take place, the world community must be quick to mobilize and act to stop them. I want to ask all those leaders who
spoke on Monday about the tragedy in Srebrenica what have they been doing in Sudan's Darfur where another genocide is taking place.

In the last couple of years, 2 million people have been displaced by a campaign of terror launched by the Sudanese government and its paramilitary units which still operate (rape & pillage) right outside the UN refugee camps in Darfur today. Several estimates show that up to 400,000 people have been killed in an ongoing genocide. Foreign aid is trickling in, but nothing has been done to secure the long-term safety of the refugees. Sudan doesn't seem to be of any political or military interest to the world at large, so the will to intervene is not there. Public pressure hasn't materialized either, partly because the media is not doing their job. In the US there were more than 8,000 reports on trivial matters--like Jacko's trial, the "runaway bride" and other mindless celebrities--and only just over a hundred references to Darfur last month!

Most Americans get their news from television and radio. The mainstream media, like ABC, CBS, NBC/MSNBC, FOX, CNN seem to treat the news as a revenue source and as a vehicle to provide entertainment by appealing to the lowest common denominator. Talk radio is abysmal. It's dominated by the conservatives and the extreme right. Even the Bible-thumbers on the religious radio shows are pre-occupied with everything else but some genocide in Africa. The only bright spots are the public radio stations that are running reports from NPR, PRI, and, of course, PBS which has frequent analyses, updates from Darfur, and special in-depth documentaries on the subject.

The world has to be a witness. You, too, can
Be A Witness. Demand better information. Genocide is news. Tell the media to be a witness. [click the link to learn how]


Anonymous said...

They say if you forget the past, you repeat your mistakes.... Yet, some people are not aware of the Bosnia (never mind Srebrenica) war and the massacres there... nor do they know much about Darfur today.

Of course the mainstreat media deserves lots of blame, but I'm afraid that Americans don't seem to be eager to know things happening outside their country.

Geeshus, NY

Anne said...

I'm of those who believe that even if there is no high interest from the viewing public to see bad things happening around the globe, such events should be mentioned, even briefly, every single day by every single media outlet. This way a greater sensitivity and awareness can develop.

Andros said...

I highly recommend Samantha Power's latest book, A Problem From Hell. Perhaps it's not a bedtime read, but a great read nevertheless.

WhoMe? said...

Humanity is under attack by humans! So, we may have to kill a few bastards who perpetrate those crimes. Who's with me?

Jason said...

The funny thing is that the conservatives still complain about the liberal bias/control of the media! The right (usually the far right) controls the electronic media. Hopefully the progressives can remain a strong force in the blogosphere.

Graid, CT said...

Human life should have the same value universally. Sadly this is not the case. The richer countries can do a lot to help the poor people, but just pouring money won't solve the problems. It has to be a comprehensive effort involving the world and the local governemnts.

There are a few rather simple steps, that can be taken immediately. Malaria, for example, kills millions in Africa. A simple vaccine can change that. A couple of billion of dollars can eradicate this deasease from Africa, and may be easier to implement this health program as compared to other long-term programs that would require radical changes in the Dark Continent.

Daedalus said...

there have been several massacres in africa this week, including in kenya, a once stable and semi-democratic country, and dr congo, where people 50+ people were locked up in huts and burnt to death by monsters with machetes.

i came across the stories of them by accident, as they were nowhere on the front pages.