Kramatorsk Or Khartoum? How Sudan’s War Victims Fade Into Oblivion
Why is the admirable funding for Ukraine not matched in Sudan, which now counts a stunning 2.5 million displaced people since fighting erupted two months ago? The West's double standard of media attention must not be left to fester.
PARIS — It’s a question that is particularly timely today, but was there well before the war in Ukraine: why is the international media agenda solely dictated by the West? We know, of course, that this is bound to mean scant attention dedicated to the so-called "Global South."
Case in point, a Nigerian commentator on Twitter noted on Wednesday that the war between military leaders in Sudan was no longer making the front pages of Western newspapers: "Ukraine is their priority - their people, their story. There's no such thing as "global media", everyone must tell their own story."
In an ideal world, yes, we’d be shocked by the victims of the Russian missile strike on the pizzeria in Kramatorsk, Ukraine ; but also just as interested in the fate of the millions of Sudanese fleeing the brutal war being waged by two of their country’s military leaders, with no regard for human lives.
Reality is less generous.
For this reason, I've decided to relay here the numbers given by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) regarding Sudan. When I read them, I was shocked at the scale of the humanitarian catastrophe that virtually never makes it onto our radar.
The clashes began last April in Khartoum, Sudan’s vast capital, pitting the loyal troops of Chief of Staff, General Al-Burhan, against the leader of a paramilitary militia, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemeti. It’s a merciless fight for power between two men whose commonality is having crushed the hopes of a democratic revolution in Sudan.
Most of these countries already have their own problems.
In just over two months, the UNHCR’s assessment is grim: 2.5 million people have been displaced by the fighting in the Darfur and Kordofan regions. 560,000 of them have taken refuge in neighboring countries: Egypt, Chad, Ethiopia, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. Most of these countries already have their own problems, like Ethiopia, which is struggling to emerge from an atrocious war in the Tigray province and has its own humanitarian issues.
Fleeing combat zones is no simple matter: according to the UNHCR, many displaced people and refugees risk their lives as they try to seek safety within or beyond their country’s borders.
Protesters gathered in Whitehall calling for an end to the war in Sudan, April 29, 2023, London, United Kingdom.
Vuk Valcic via ZUMA
The UN's humanitarian plan for Sudan is only funded at less than 20% of its needs. And this is where information, or lack thereof, becomes a factor. There’s no shortage of money for Ukraine, but an invisible conflict like Sudan's suffers a double penalty.
This is obviously short-sighted, since today’s unassisted refugees will want to try their luck on the immigration road, and will become tomorrow's political problem.
The world is in such turmoil that the United Nations is struggling to carry out their humanitarian work, and is hindered in its attempt to bring back peace to these war zones. Attempts at mediation have all failed. Yet this is where all solutions lie.
What the victims of Kramatorsk and Khartoum have in common is the barbaric regression of our current world ; the difference is that the former rightly make the headlines, while the latter are unjustly ignored.
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