Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Darfur in Light of the Rwandan Genocide

Brian has an informative essay up on his site about the ongoing bloodletting in Darfur, and all the meaningless handwringing to be seen in today's press about Western inaction over Rwanda. I think he gets it exactly right when he says

People in western countries generally aren't that interested in what's going on in non-western countries. Sure, there are a few exceptions. The British and French tend to be moderately interested in the doings in their former African colonies because a) they maintain considerably economic ties in many of them and b) there are many African immigrants in those countries. Western Europeans tend to be disproportionately interested in the Israeli Occupied Territories. But generally speaking, most westerners care little about non-western countries, except in a tangential way. Ask them if 'x' crisis is bad and they will say "Yes, it's awful." It usually doesn't translate into anything more than that.
There are quite a few noticeable exceptions, particularly, it seems, in the blogging world, but where the general populace is concerned, this really is the simple truth. A single child is killed in the Occupied Territories and the Western media blazes with publicity for weeks on end; 1 million people in Northern Africa have their homes scorched and are driven on death-marches, and few do more than shrug and say "how terrible."