If you blog on WordPress, you’ve seen the top posts for the last few days: primarily Michael Jackson news and rumors. Granted, that’s just the blogs, but the papers and TV news don’t seem to be doing a whole lot better.
As Glen Beck kept noting last night, “And yes, Michael Jackson is still dead. Now, in other news…”
*sigh* Is it too much to ask for more than a five-minute attention span on important topics from the general public? I understand getting tired of depressing news, but I take a short break from the real news to do/watch something simply entertaining, not a short break from entertainment news to deal with reality.
Along those lines, I noticed something in Fox News’ crawl line tonight. Apparently, Sudan has delayed it’s elections. Again.
Sudan has not had elections since 1986. The elections were supposed to be in July 2009, but were delayed until February 2010. Now, they’ve been delayed again until April 2010. Any bets on whether this will be the last delay?
I follow Sudan because Diva was named after a saint from there, St. Josephine Bakhita. The saint’s life exposes some of the same problems that plague the country today: the Muslim north is out to culturally assimilate, by whatever means necessary, the animist/Christian south, and even the black Muslims in other areas. The entire problem is exacerbated by the fact that most of Sudan’s oil reserves are in the south, which has been rebelling against the Muslim, assimilationist government in Khartoum. Most of the world has tried to isolate the Khartoum government, but China has seized the opportunity to step into the vacuum and offer development money and oil contracts.
We get regular newsletters from Bishop Macram Gassis, who is forced to live in exile from his diocese most of the year because he has brought the atrocities of the Khartoum government to international attention. The news is rarely good: rape, bombings, government-funded militia attacking and burning villages. Bishop Gassis’ foundation has built hospitals, churches, and schools, only to see them destroyed or looted over and over as the attempted genocide of all non-Arab and non-Muslim groups continues. They rebuild, and care for everyone, Christian, animist, and Muslim… and wait to see if it will happen again.
Most recently, President Omar al-Bashir was indicted in early March 2009 on charges of war crimes in Darfur. In response, he expelled humanitarian groups, accusing them of inappropriate activities. Earlier this month, at least some of the aid groups were allowed to return. How many died in those three months for lack of basic necessities? It isn’t like the refugees could go home to their burned-out villages to get food from the militias who drove them out.
Was anyone paying any attention? Or are we teaching yet another two-bit dictator that the world has a very, very short attention span? Avoiding attention is pretty easy, actually: if you want to get something under the radar, cause a stink, wait for the “sharply worded condemnations” from the UN, wait a few more news cycles, then do whatever you want, because the media will no longer be watching. You’ve become “old news” and we’re all about “new, new, NEW!”
The world pays attention for a bit, but then gets distracted by more *important* things… like Michael Jackson.