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June 15, 2017

"Tragic Inaction on Congo"

An Op-Ed in the International New York Times today discusses, as its headline puts it, "The U.N.'s tragic inaction on Congo."

The piece focuses on the tragic killing of two Westerners in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The pair were working for the United Nations, which, the authors protest, has failed to investigate the killings. The authors link the incident to a wider phenomenon: "their deaths are a reminder of how little attention is paid to the killings of hundreds of Congolese in the Kasai region since last August," they say, noting the recent discovery of dozens of mass graves in the region.

The passive voice here — "little attention is paid" — means readers aren't told who, exactly, isn't paying attention. But if history is any indication, the same newspaper publishing this Op-Ed is a prominent example of those guilty of paying relatively little attention to violence in Congo.

The book Stealth Conflicts: How the World's Worst Violence is Ignored, by Virgil Hawkins, shows that The New York Times largely overlooked the deaths of nearly two million people during the first two years of fighting in the DRC.

The discrepancy between how the newspaper covered that violence and the fighting between Palestinians and Israel starting in 2000 is highlighted by a striking graphic in Hawkins' book:

hawkins drc-1.jpg

Tragic inaction on Congo, indeed.

Posted by GI at June 15, 2017 04:07 PM

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