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Darfur Daily News Blues II

May 27, 2009

Oops. Meant to post this several weeks ago and just plum forgot. Busy, busy, busy. Oh well, better late than never, I always say.

On May 11, 2009, the Save Darfur Coalition’s NEWS ABOUT DARFUR highlighted a Reuters piece entitled “UN says not as ready as would like for Darfur rainy season”. C’est bon! Perfect choice for those promoting the “humanitarian crisis” brand. Heck, Brand Crisis raises a helluva lot more money for multimillion dollar advocacy groups (not groups of the humanitarian assistance variety) than more honest, intellectually challenging and complex concepts and themes. However, the problems with selling fear and crisis are that it’s largely unsustainable and tends to create immense blowback. After years of constantly crying wolf on a weekly basis, people tend to tune out and turn their attention elsewhere. If you don’t believe me, just ask Karl Rove and the Save Darfur movement’s distant cousins, the neoconservatives.

Unfortunately, it’s not at all surprising that the Save Darfur Coalition’s strategic communications experts would promote their Brand Crisis rather than, or in addition to, the more balanced coverage produced by BBC on May 10, 2009, in Andrew Harting’s “UN aid chief sees hope in Darfur”. Fear sells, right?  But hope?  No one can motivate action around such a silly concept…oh wait…

Here’s the bad news for those at real risk — Darfuris. If professional advocates keep crying wolf to raise awareness and dollars, eventually when the wolf really shows up, there will be no help to be found. And guess what? The professional anti-genocide advocates aren’t gonna pay the price of irresponsibility, the Darfuris will.

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