Friday, March 04, 2005

Sudan and Wales Protest

The government of Sudan is angry that a cancer-causing dye at the centre of a food scare in the UK is named after the north African country.
Sudan's ambassador has written to the Food Standards Agency, asking it to change the name of Sudan 1 to prevent further harm to Sudan's reputation.

A Welsh spokesman is angry that in North America the practice of cheating by avoiding payment of a gambling debt is named after his country.
He is to write to PEN asking it to insist on synonyms for welshing to prevent further harm to Wales' reputation.

Maybe even 300,000 deaths aren't enough

The Government of Sudan is refusing to grant visas to a World Health Organisation team seeking to conduct a study of mortality in Darfur, which should come as no surprise.
The lack of access serves those complicit in the atrocities very well. The most commonly cited figure is that there have been 50,000 deaths in Darfur. The source of this number is a WHO report on those who died from disease in camps for the displaced between April and September 2004. The conflict in Darfur has now been going for two years so we know that the 50,000 figure is a gross underestimate.
To begin with, the 50,000 figure does not include direct killings. A recent study of Darfurian refugees in Chad by the Coalition for International Justice conducted randomised interviews with 1136 refugees.
It found that 61 per cent had seen a family member being killed. If this is representative of the total displaced Darfurian population, the toll from direct killings is more than 200,000. Assuming the rate of death from disease has remained constant in the camps since the September report, another 50,000 is added to this toll. Include the 500,000 people inaccessible to humanitarian agencies, and use the USAID Crude Mortality Rate indicator (which suggests that under the conditions we can expect 10 deaths per 10,000 people a day) and a total death toll near 300,000 could be realistic.

Words fail me. Perhaps they think they can alleviate this by using new words for dying and death as well as for the dye.

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