On more than one occasion, Roger Gottlieb (“the rabbi of environmental philosophy”) has argued that when self-absorption and ignorance is a widespread moral problem, “sometimes pointing and saying, ‘Look!’ constitutes an argument.” I’ve often been struck by the truth of this, especially when sitting in the U.S. during an election which is so obsessively covered by the media that the electorate concludes the rest of the world must be doing fine. As Pew Research center reports attest, interest in the Iraq war has dwindled concurrent with news coverage: “Last week the national media devoted only 2% of its overall coverage to the war.”
Hopefully, the next U.S. president will take up the issues that citizens have allowed the last president to neglect, such as the direct relationship between genocide in Darfur and the recent violence in Chad; this from the New York Times:
John Prendergast, a former Clinton Administration official and anti-genocide advocate who has worked in Chad and Sudan for 20 years, said that Sudan has been actively trying to overthrow Mr. Deby because of his support for Darfur rebel groups and his willingness to allow a European peacekeeping force to deploy in Chad to protect Darfur refugees living on the country’s eastern border with Sudan.
“This has been an undeclared proxy war between Chad and Sudan for nearly four years now,” he said. “The international community has largely turned a blind eye.”
Let’s remember Claudia Card’s injunction to priorities evils over unjust inequalities; this doesn’t mean not caring about women or non-whites winning elections, but it does mean remembering why it matters. Feminists, let’s urge attention to true suffering. As American feminists go to the polls, no matter whom you vote for, work to direct the attention of your fellow citizens and your leaders back to the world.