Monday, May 22, 2006

Journey Into the Sunset

The left-wing site Alternet has a rare article in the US media about the crisis in northern Uganda. It talks about the documentary Journey Into the Sunset, starring Hotel Rwanda's Don Cheadle. The article also has an interview with the documentary's director, Rick Wilkinson. The film focuses on the 'night commuters,' children who walk miles every evening from the countryside to urban shelters to avoid the wrath of the hideous and misnamed Lord's Resistance Army.

Best line from the interview:

Alternet: The United Nations called this crisis one of the worst to afflict children around the world.

Rick Wilkinson: Yeah, but who listens to the U.N.? I'm not going to say they're powerless, but when the U.N. releases a press release, what do you think will get covered, the press release or some lacrosse guys accused of rape?


At 10:56 AM, Blogger sokari said...

I find Wilkinson's comment on the UN and the lacrosse rape offensive. The two issues are completely different and his statement is insulting to the complainant in the rape case and to women everywhere. You cannot set one against the other in this way. By all means criticise the media and the UN but not at the expense of rape where ever it takes place.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Sokari: my main issue is the way the media covers these stories. I am absolutely not suggesting that a rape (or a kidnapping for that matter) is an unimportant story. You saw my comments about the Zuma case.

What I am stating quite categorically is that the Duke rape case is not a NATIONAL story that needs to be covered (if you can call it that; it's more like analysis, speculation and opinion) hours and hours a day.

For weeks on end.

To the exclusion of countless stories of at least equal importance.

Imagine if of the dozens of hours a week devoted to repeating idle speculation on this story, just one of those hours were devoted to the issues raised by the UN.

Wilkinson's comment is not directed at the complainant. It's directed at the media that gives a single rape accusation case infinitely more media coverage than almost everything else. If the coverage were to metamorphose so as to include an exploration of, for example, sexual violence in war zones, then I wouldn't have any problems and I'm sure Wilkinson wouldn't either. It's about proportionality.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Brian said...

And let's not forget why this particular case got the avalanche of media attention and the thousands of other rape cases in the US alone did not.


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