Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Why Sudan?

In Slate, Anne Applebaum asks why the crisis, genocide and refugee situation in Sudan have generated so much fanfare, when there are so many other debacles across the world:

"Darfur is not the only place in the world where there has been mass murder, even ethnic mass murder, on a large, historically familiar scale. The North Korean regime has for years run concentration camps directly modeled on the concentration camps of Stalin's Soviet Union. But, though there is excellent documentation of Pyongyang's camps—the U.S. Committee on Human Rights in North Korea even has satellite photographs on its Web site—and though some religious and university groups have made an effort, the level of interest, and therefore perhaps of U.N. involvement, is much lower."

She makes a good point, but for me, the level of interest in NK vs. the Sudan is because I feel like I personally can have an impact on the situation in the Sudan, while I can't affect NK, which is locked tight. Doctors Without Borders, a 4-star charity and recipient of the 1999 Nobel peace prize, doesn't even operate in NK:

"MSF operated inside North Korea from 1995 to 1998. During this time, the organization attempted to supply drugs and medical training for approximately 1,100 health centers and to run 60 therapeutic feeding centers for malnourished children in three provinces. In 1998, convinced that its assistance was not reaching the most vulnerable people, and was, on the contrary, helping to feed the regime oppressing them, MSF withdrew from the country."

Contrast that with its $25 million budget in the Sudan:

"MSF has been running projects in Darfur since early 2004 and today has 123 international and 2,233 national staff working across the region's three provinces. With a total budget in Darfur for 2006 of nearly $25 million, it is one of the most significant operations in the world for MSF."

That's my take.


At 1:52 PM, Blogger Jackscolon said...

It's a good take. I'll take it.


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