Having listed a series of hyperbollock stories, Maggie Fick, a journalism expert based in Juba, expands on her theory…
These news clips illustrate the tendency – rather, modus operandi – of the international media coverage of Sudan to highlight the worst case scenarios surrounding the key upcoming events instead of the best possible outcomes.
I couldn’t agree more. Although, the problem really lies with the advocacy groups which consistently use terms such as “slaughter” and “genocide” to describe a low-intensity conflict in Darfur and to raise the stakes ahead of the South’s referendum. Take this typical piece of guff from George Clooney, predicting thousands of deaths in South Sudan:
If you knew a tsunami, or Katrina or a Haiti earthquake was coming, what would you do to save people?
Clooney has, of course, become something of a mouthpiece for John Prendergast and his Enough organisation – sometimes called the shock troops of the Save Darfur Coalition and a headline-hogging group which will only be satisfied with regime change in Khartoum. Their ideology is often splashed across the column of Nick Kristof such as this, who regularly talks up the risk of war
“[W]e should all try to pay more attention to the risk of a catastrophic war ahead in Sudan. Everybody knows it may be coming, but until the bullets start flying, it simply isn’t going to get the attention it merits… behind the scenes the real question is whether the north-south civil war is going to resume.”
With the nationwide elections less than a month away, the chance that violence could break out around the polls is real, and fear among Sudanese like Ms. Lueth is warranted. The unpredictable nature of Sudanese politics and the goal of the ruling parties in both North and South Sudan to legitimize themselves through resounding electoral victories, combined with existing tensions along tribal lines in the South, could prove to be a lethal cocktail.
Lethal cocktail… nice.
But wait a minute, what’s this? Who is this Maggie Fick who wrote the last piece and quoted Kristof in an approving manner? Surely the Enough blogger and researcher can’t be the same one as The Christian Scientist columnist of the same name complaining about the media hyping the threat of war?
Or is that Sudan turns out to be a lot more complex when you get up close?