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It's been an exciting and hopeful few weeks for those working for peace in Nuba Mountains. A lot has happened suddenly, including a Nick Kristoff visit followed by several New York Times articles, a Kickstarter project to bring awareness and safety for Nubans, and a report by NBC Report Ann Curry that was aired both on the Today Show and Rock Center. Nuba has literally received more press in the past week and a half than it has in its entire history, I'm sure.

Here's the video from NBC. Below I'll link a few articles and other videos if you want to learn more.



I want to say two things now.

First, many in the aid world give reports like this a lot of heat for portraying the "white man" "saving Africa". While I understand this tendency in the media and in Western perspectives, as well as the danger of this belief, I'd like to make a few disclaimers. While my only experience with the media is reading, watching and hearing it, I feel it's safe to say that it is a duty of American media, journalists, or news anchors to report on Americans. Therefore, a lone American in a violent developing region serving as a liaison between the situation there and the American media and government is big news for the U.S. audience. I'm sure that some Swiss or French media company has done a similar story on an aid worker from their own country. (And if the Sudanese government that likely controls the media wasn't trying to kill the Nubans, they'd probably do a story on someone there too.)

So despite the dramatic video and article titles, no one is trying to say that Ryan Boyette is the only person doing anything in Sudan. He makes it very clear that he is the leader of a team of citizen journalists, and that team is working just as hard as he is. Of course the media is going to spotlight the American, and that's okay. He's doing a really amazing thing in Nuba and I am sure that the Nubans are very grateful that he is being spotlighted, because I truly believe it is helping their cause.

Second, Nuba Mountains is not the "New Darfur" as NBC has described it. That's ridiculous. The war in Nuba Mountains has been going on far longer than the hot button issue of Darfur that arose several years ago. I am not minimizing the situation in Darfur, I'm just saying that that was the first time American media paid attention to Sudan, but unfortunately they were far too late. During Sudan's twenty-two year long civil war, Nuba was a hotbed of violence and genocide. This is not a new war, it is a re-ignition of an old war....and some would say that war has never ceased.

So, that's my piece.

Now, here's some more info:





And here are my photos from when I visited Nuba in 2008, just for the heckuvit.

2 comments:

Alexandria Skinner said...

Good morning Maureen! I just wrote my own blog post on the issue of conflict in the Nuban mountains (http://xanskinner.blogspot.com/2012/03/update-on-ryan-boyette-sudan-and-nuba.html) and tagged it with the technorati tag. When I clicked on the tag, your article popped up as well. So, it's nice to "meet" you! I agree that it's important not to make it appear that the lone white American is coming to the rescue of the African continent. My view is that his work is the window through which we can peer. Without that cultural and language "bridge" that he provides, the barriers would be too great and this atrocity could happen under the cloak of secrecy. He also had the wherewithal to start the kickstarter campaign. I hope each of us will give what we can, from where we are. Blessings for your continued good work!

Alexandria Skinner said...

Good morning Maureen! I just wrote my own blog post on the issue of conflict in the Nuban mountains (http://xanskinner.blogspot.com/2012/03/update-on-ryan-boyette-sudan-and-nuba.html) and tagged it with the technorati tag. When I clicked on the tag, your article popped up as well. So, it's nice to "meet" you! I agree that it's important not to make it appear that the lone white American is coming to the rescue of the African continent. My view is that his work is the window through which we can peer. Without that cultural and language "bridge" that he provides, the barriers would be too great and this atrocity could happen under the cloak of secrecy. He also had the wherewithal to start the kickstarter campaign. I hope each of us will give what we can, from where we are. Blessings for your continued good work!