Who Cares About Darfur?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Who Cares About Darfur?

Earlier this month, The International Crisis Group released a poll (pdf file)entitled "Do Americans Care About Darfur?" The first question was
How would you describe your knowledge of the situation in Darfur in western Sudan?

Aware 64%

Very aware 18%
Slightly aware 46%

Not aware 36%

Not very aware 22%
Not at all aware 14%
Ignoring the inherent unreliability of this sort of self-description, it is pretty startling that 64% of Americans consider themselves aware of the situation in Darfur.

It is even more startling when you look at this new poll of 11,000 Africans from Angola, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe
Africans strongly support military intervention authorised by the United Nations Security Council to stop serious abuses of human rights in their region, according to a just-released survey which also found that they prefer U.N. forces to those of the African Union (AU).


Just over one-third of Africans interviewed by Globescan said they had heard or read a great deal or a fair amount about the Darfur conflict, according to the report.
Obviously, Africa does not necessarily have an omni-present media like we do, nor do all Africans have quick and easy access to a wide variety of news sources. And questions about "being aware" of an issue are clearly different from questions about how much one has read or heard about the issue.

Nonetheless, the fact that nearly twice as many Americans as Africans report being somewhat familiar with and informed about the situation in Darfur is quite surprising.

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