Blind to the suffering

James Ayre

The humanitarian and political crisis in many African nations is truly horrific. There are unconceivable amounts of people in dire need of aid, who are facing the real possibility of being tortured, raped or murdered by rebel militant groups.

These kinds of acts have been an ongoing African crisis for years, but even so I find it almost unbelievable that the U.S. media is turning a blind eye to a large portion of the harrowing events that are taking place at this very moment.

Fair enough the L.A. Times may occasionally run a story on page six, this is not sufficient to inform the bulk of the nation.

Why is the mainstream media desensitizing the American public? I’m baffled.

There are currently relentless clashes between Ethiopian-backed troops and Islamic insurgents in Somalia, Eastern Africa, causing over 200,000 people to flee their homes from the capital Mogadishu.

The fighting has made delivering aid to the displaced very difficult and hundreds of people have already died because of the lack of food, water and medicine. Financial aid is being provided by the U.S. and the European Union, but unfortunately this just isn’t enough and Somali officials feel the country has been deserted by the international community. The African Union peacekeeping forces are in place to try and restore some kind of order.

Africa’s largest country is also in a heap of bother. The Darfur region in Western Sudan is alone the size of France and home to over 2 million refugees. These people have been forced to leave their villages because of violence and are living in appalling conditions, surrounded by makeshift graves which are little more than disease infested mounds.

Sudan’s own government, along with militant groups, is thought to be terrorizing the black African population, although the government is denying any involvement with any “cleanse” of black Africans.

Refugees have told of militant groups such as “Janjaweed” riding into villages on horses and camels and ruthlessly slaughtering men, abducting woman and stealing anything of any value.

I can’t even begin to imagine what these people are going through and can only conger up such devastating imagery in my darkest nightmares.

It should be the media’s obligation to highlight these kinds of plights and give people information with which to act.

Donating to charitable organization that directly works with troubled countries is at least a step in the right direction. Oxfam America, UNICEF and Amnesty International are reputable organizations and will do their best to make donations count. Money is desperately needed for medical supplies, food and water and to finance security for the most venerable.

The U.S. media needs a good hearty kick in the backside. Maybe then a mass life saving Oxfam appeal will be televised on the next Super Bowl half time show, instead of two men ripping off chest hair in order to advertise a bloody Snickers bar.