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I received a fair amount of critical mail in response to my recent post on Darfur, which questioned some information and data used by advocacy groups. For the record, I’m not seeking to impugn the motives of activists or compare Save Darfur with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which built up a $100 million-plus endowment by hyping the threat posed by the Ku Klux Klan and whose coffers now burst with more money than the annual GDP of the Marshall Islands. But I still believe advocacy groups have peddled misinformation (deliberately or not) about Darfur and don’t see how handing a major PR victory to your sworn enemy is smart politics.
However, in the spirit of open-mindedness and impartiality, I am going to post two links here that include contrary opinion. First, there’s a debate earlier this year between Alex de Waal, whose work I cited in my original post, and former State Department official John Prendergast, co-chair of the Enough Project.
Second, is a piece by Eric Reeves, who estimates the number of people dead in Darfur is upwards of 500,000.
Finally, there’s a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which suggests the high-end estimates may be inflated. “[P]olicymakers require an accurate estimate of the death toll in Darfur to understand the dimensions of the crisis and determine the U.S. response,” the GAO said.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”