Washington Babylon — October 22, 2007, 10:49 am

Don’t Mess with Darfur’s Defenders

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.

I agree.

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