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Forgotten Conflicts Of The World - Articles Surfing
The first casualty is the truth ...
So far avoided torture, summary execution and rape? Still capable of dodging approaching helicopters and machete wielding thugs but have nowhere to run? If so, you had better hope someone, somewhere is paying attention to your plight; and if you want to receive Western help you had better pray one of the 'holy trinity' of the stock market, national security, and price of oil is affected in your favour. Otherwise, you're screwed!
If the war affecting you does not have a western angle it risks falling off the news page; if it ever gets that far. Minus a few notable exceptions, the western media's coverage of conflict is very discriminating. While we all had front row seats for the Nato bombing of Belgrade, we saw little or nothing of the carnage happening, at the same time, in parts of Africa, Asia and South America. These are the forgotten wars, where the West may supply the weaponry, but the conflict never makes it to our television screens. In these conflicts people die brutal, savage deaths that go unrecorded and uncounted.
Why do we hear so much about the human rights of some and so little of others? If human rights were really the issue, if the desire for peace really spurred on our politicians the conflicts in Congo, Angola, Sudan and Eritrea, that were no less bloody, would not have gone virtually unreported during the Kossovo conflict.
In our global theatre the media coverage is often so intense it produces detrimental affects. Governments make ad hoc decisions without real thought to the consequences; aid agencies, desperate for intervention, arrange itineraries and logistics for the press. Then, once the media circus packs up in search of a more photogenic war, what of the people left behind?
Kofi Annan, last year urged journalists to engage in 'preventative journalism' instead of fuelling crisis he asked journalists to "identify an issue that is likely to blow into a crisis leading to bloodshed and conflict, keep reporting it, thus forcing policy makers and leaders to act on it before it explodes." He went on to say "Don't go away when the blood stops flowing." With these forgotten wars, it is not just a question of journalists leaving when the blood stops flowing, but that they were never there in the first place.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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