Darfur Awareness Followup

by bicyclemark

Staying with the issue of Darfur, on the heels of yesterday’s podcast, I noticed an interesting study on public opinion of the Darfur situation in the US, published on the PEW center’s site. (love PEW center because I have the patience and the time to read through their numbers and reports)

My attention was particularly sparked by the survey of how the public feels the media is covering the crisis in Darfur as compared to Iraq or Iran. As you can see in this image, not only do 49% feel it receives too little coverage, but if you look at the “don’t know” category.. 14% don’t know. Which makes me wonder if they really don’t know anything on the topic, which is still very possible considering the lack of coverage, or if they simply don’t care.. which is unfortunately also possible.

One statistic that represents exactly why I do the work that I do on this blog: 75% of those who had heard a lot about the situation believed that the US had a responsibility to take action to stop the genocide. The less that people had heard about Darfur the more they didn’t want the US to do anything.

Might sound simple enough, but for me it reminds me of an important relationship – the more you hear about a topic, learn about it, talk about it, argue about it; the greater the chance you will get involved and be concerned.

Nicest Populations Get Murdered

by bicyclemark

Sitting in the heart of the Jordaan this evening, as boats sailed by, bikes rattled past, and drunken teenagers hobbled from bar to bar, I spent some quality time with a very special girl. She graduated, as did I, from the U of Amsterdam, and during her studies went off to Darfur to do field work related to displaced people and the genocide that happened and is beginning to happen again.

She’s been travelling alot lately, and so I updated her on things like Spike Lee’s documentary, conspiracy theories, and who’s been on Bill Maar’s show lately. As we sat there talking about all the death and destruction in the world, she began to go into detail about her experience in Darfur and how everything is unfolding with the world’s full knowledge and yet nothing is done.

Among the things she talked about was the hospitality she received there, how people were so unbelievably welcoming to an American girl from Georgia. They even knew I was Jewish, she said, to further emphasize how kind the people of Darfur are. We went on to speak about the oil deals and other interests, especially those of China and Russia, that further help to halt any and all efforts to intervene in the mass murders.

At some point, she puts her empty glass on the table and says something like

“It is almost like, the nicer a culture or a population, the more likely they are to be victims of mass murder.”

I thought about that as I rode home. I thought about her travels and how eventually, she’ll likely end up back in Sudan, trying to do whatever she can, her small part in the face of so much complacency. As sad as the conversation sometimes seemed, it is inspiring to spend time and share ideas with someone of such intelligence and understanding of the world around us.

Reconsidering Syria, but Beware the Warmongers

by bicyclemark

Earlier this week I voiced doubt that the Syrian president was the underhanded tyrant the American government claims him to be. I believed, as I still suspect, that the military/government machine that he was born into functioned largely without his consent/knowledge. So now a UN investigation has come out with information that links both the Syrian and Lebanese governments in the assasination of the late Lebanese PM. Although Im still reading through the results, I have to admit this changes my opinion of the quality of character of the Syrian president. But actually there’s something more that worries me in all this.

They want to ride this report all the way to war. The hawks.. the war-profiteers, the neo-conservative crusaders, they’ve been waiting for a good excuse and they’re trying to make this the rally point. I can see it already in all the reports in all the government statements, they’re claiming that “something must be done.” Not that they do anything to intervene in Zimbabwe, Sudan, or Russia.. when those governments actively silence or kill opposition leaders.

It sounds perposterous. A government that is up to its neck in debt. Which lacks the military resources or public support, will invade yet another country in the name of “democracy” or “freedom” or whatever catch phrase they decide to go with this time. But it’s happening.. the wheels are turning.. and they’re going to push for it. And that, my friends, is bullshit.

bicyclemark70: Whats Happening in Darfur?

by bicyclemark

An important interview with a friend who just returned from the refugee camps on the border with Darfur, Sudan.

AudioCommunique #70(mp3)
27min+, 80kbps, 15Mb+

Subjects Include:
Is my show about Amsterdam or World Affairs – a response to listener mail
An interview with my friend Fannie direct from Montreal
A recommendation for action

Music Includes: (im tired of the amazon associates links)
Orchestre Baobab – La Rebellion
Phillip Glass and Ravi Shankar – Offering
Coheed & Cambria – Wake Up