Sunday, January 23, 2005

are we forgetting something?

I've been (perfectably justifiably) accused of perverse cynicism in responding to the news about all these tsunami relief concerts with less than due respect for the motives of those shameless egotists selfless celebrities who've so eagerly jumped on the free publicity bandwagon offered to do what little they could to boost their careers alleviate the suffering of those affected by this appalling catastrophe.

so I won't be commenting on that.

other than to mention that there's still one or two things happening out there in the world that seem to have slipped below the radar of the sexy news sniffers, such as:

• In northern Uganda, civilian attacks by anti-government forces have resulted in the abduction of thousands of children, many of whom are forced into combat and sexual slavery.

• In the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than a decade of fighting has killed an estimated 3 million people.

• In rural Colombia, civilians are caught in a decades-long battle between government and anti-government factions.

• Tuberculosis has become the most common opportunistic infection for those living with HIV/AIDS. Each year, about 8 million people develop active TB.

• Disasters, the disintegration of health care and 14 years of civil war plague Somalia.

• With war-related violence in Chechnya and border areas, the government has forced people to relocate to unsafe areas.

• In Burundi, a costly health care system excludes those who are not able to pay.

• North Korea is facing a hunger crisis so severe that most people can't afford basic food items.

• Droughts and a lack of farmland have led to a chronic food shortage in much of Ethiopia.

• A 15-year civil war has left the people of Liberia displaced from their homes.

these are extracts from the top ten list of most underreported humanitarian crisis stories of 2004 by medecin sans frontieres. note that no.9 on that list - Ethiopia - was the name on everyone's lips twenty years ago.

so that's alright then.

one more question:

Why such a blase response to the horror in Darfur?

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