Sunday, April 30, 2006


Two demos

An estimated 300,000 people demonstrated against the war in Iraq and the possible war against Iran in New York City yesterday.

The New York Times covered the demonstration in the local section; other papers didn't cover it at all. There was an AP article, but it didn't make it into the paper I read, the San Jose Mercury News.

And on the morning after 300,000 people demonstrated against the war, what was the lead story on NPR radio this morning? The upcoming (later that day) demonstration on Darfur. The actual demonstration in New York was not mentioned at all.

And what happened at that Darfur rally, which got so much pre-event publicity? They certainly had a good turnout, as I saw while watching a bit of it over lunch on C-SPAN. This article says "thousands" (which we all know could mean "hundreds of thousands," although an underestimate like that is much less likely to occur at a rally supported by the establishment), but also includes a formulation for crowd size estimate I've never seen before: "The organizers' permit estimated a turnout of 10,000 to 15,000 for the rally." Honestly, I don't care what the permit estimated before the rally, what did the organizers say at the rally? The article doesn't say.

Here's the most curious thing I noted in watching a dozen speeches or so. Speaker after speaker talked about genocide in Darfur. But just two days ago, a major story emerged: because of the lack of a few hundred million dollars, the U.N. is cutting in half the food rations of the people in Darfur. Surely that imminent and completely preventable catastrophe would be mentioned by the speakers at the rally, wouldn't it? Not one that I heard. God forbid they should raise a concrete demand against their own government (other than launching an intervention in yet another country). I found it bizarre.

Why stop here? There's more...

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