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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
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Average portion of its yearly household expenditures that a South African family will spend on a funeral:
Neuroscientists were hoping to use rat brain waves to find people buried by earthquakes.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature