Trading Differences

Early evening usually passes in our house with thirty minutes of BBC World News, recorded via PBS at 5.00pm, immediately followed by the NBC Nightly News at 5.30pm. The comparisons are occasionally laughable, often frustrating, frequently infuriating.

Friday evening was a prime example of the latter. The BBC led with a long, shocking, and detailed report from Chad, on the condition of the Darfur refugees, fleeing both from their own government forces and the despicable Arab Janjaweed militia, who have mercilessly raped, tortured and killed thousands of innocent Sudanese civilians over the last four years.

Seeking sanctuary across the border in neighboring Chad brought an all-to-brief respite, for the Janjaweed have followed and found them again.

The talk now is of genocide; another Rwanda in the making. While Western politicians splutter with indignation, but back away from upsetting the oil-rich Sudanese criminals running the government, there is no-one to protect these people from the ravages of the Janjaweed scum.

BBC reporter Orla Guerin, in eastern Chad, interviewed a young man who barely escaped with his life after being tortured by the militias. Before they left him, they stuck daggers into both his eyes – piercing his eyeballs. He is now totally blind.

It is obvious that no-one will do anything to stop the bloodletting in Africa. The UN is helpless unless western nations back it by providing armed forces prepared to take on both Janjaweed and Sudanese government forces.

It won’t happen because public opinion in the West is not pushing for action. So far as many Americans are concerned, Darfur is no longer a problem. Why? Because the American media has washed its hands of Darfur. It doesn’t feature on nightly news broadcasts anymore.

Immediately after viewing this report on the BBC, I switched to the NBC Nightly News as it briefly headlined with Bush and Iraq, before spending the latter half of its preciously short news time “Trading Places”, a nightly segment regaling Americans with how well NBC employees care for their aging relatives. As always, the last segment was “Making a Difference”, a regular slot attempting to promote the American “feel good factor” by spotlighting some minor nobody knitting blankets for the troops, or baking cookies for the “war effort”.

It’s not often Sparrow Chat stoops to blasphemy, but –

“Jesus Christ! What the Hell is going on here?”

Two hundred thousand have died in Darfur, and two and half million have been displaced; hundreds are dying every day in Iraq, and two million have been displaced. Meanwhile, Brian “Mister Complacency” Williams is regaling us with tales of how well he looks after his Daddy!

Do Americans really think they are good people because they bake cookies or knit blankets? They’re about as warm-hearted as the audience sitting in on the guillotining of the aristocrats at the French revolution!

According to history – they knitted, as well!

More on the crisis in Chad, including part of Orla Guerin’s report, can be found HERE.

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5 Replies to “Trading Differences”

  1. I also cling to PBS for news as well as NPR for radio news. I am loathe to turn on any of the commercial stations for that is all they are long commercials and propaganda. As for Dafur, I am totally at a loss as to why this is allowed to continue, but geeze, we got Saddam (sarcasm).

  2. PM – PBS is America’s BBC. It is a crime that PBS has been so neglected and left to public funding. Personally, I would be happy to follow the UK’s example and pay a yearly fee to fund PBS, and allow it to expand into a truly great news service. Of course, the corpo’s would be bitterly opposed to any such move. Too many Americans might learn the truth!

  3. If it doesn’t affect America’s “foreign” policy, if they don’t have any oil or anything else that the american regime want then it doesn’t matter what is happening in the world.

  4. I agree with peasant and “ignorance is bliss” is especially true concerning brown people. I try and watch Democracy Now with Amy Goodman for some unembedded news.

  5. AP – America’s military resources are stretched to breaking point right now. It’s unlikely they could intervene in Darfur, even if they wanted to. George W Bush certainly doesn’t. As you say, the criteria is, “What’s in it for America?”

    Flimsy – there is good, unbiased news on US TV and radio, but the problem as always is funding. Without corporate backing they never get beyond the “backstreet studio” stage. With it, they have to play to the corporate tune.

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