Monday, October 03, 2016

That man in Khartoum

New York Times analysis of the ostensibly differential attention given to Syria over other wars --

Today there is little awareness of South Sudan’s continuing catastrophic collapse or the Central African Republic’s civil war.

Above, George Clooney and Don Cheadle along with journalist Brian Adeba present a report on South Sudan's corruption before heading to the State Department and White House to discuss the South Sudan situation with John Kerry and Barack Obama.

Ironically, despite underplaying the attention given to South Sudan, the NYT analysis gets right why another Sudanese war could rise above the noise -- the Darfur war was easily portrayed as against the evil Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan. But once he went out of the picture in South Sudan, with independence, the narrative became more complicated and ultimately less interesting.

But anyway, the South Sudan case is worse than that. As Zach Vertin pointed out in the Washington Post right after Clooney's DC visit above, South Sudan is a case study not in lack of attention, but the wrong kind of attention: a favoured bipartisan/celebrity cause for so long that its advocates only started noticing recently that something had gone very wrong, when the rot actually set in years ago. And whereas everyone eagerly looked for a new African story in South Sudan, Syria was just classified as another iteration of a Middle East war, ultimately not worth doing anything about. Attention does not equal action.

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