Anjan Sundaram’s OpEd in the New York Times this weekend was beautifully written and clarified a lot of things for me. I really urge you to go read it if you haven’t already.
For the past month I’ve been genuinely shocked and confused that a story as big and “important” as the slow starvation of hundreds of thousands of people under the increasingly ironically-tinged label of “international protection” could warrant essentially no media coverage in the West.
But, of course, a moment’s reflection reveals that this sort of thing happens all the time, including with stories that are a lot “bigger” than the Refugee Food Crisis. The wars in Eastern Congo, for instance, are one or two order of magnitude newsier than the refugee food crisis, and yet…nothing. Or, well, virtually nothing.
Sundaram paints a picture of a Western news gathering system that’s just about thrown in the towel on Africa. Unless white people or oil are involved somehow, they’re just not going there, and how “big” the non-oil/non-white-people story might be won’t budge them from that bedrock commitment.
It really is shocking.