United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund
Darfur has become all but invisible. With fewer and fewer human rights reports, news dispatches, or even candid accounts from U.N. leaders, events in the region have dropped almost fully out of international view. Facilitating this slip is the fact that global attention has recently shifted away from Darfur to other areas of Sudan: to negotiations with Khartoum, to the south’s independence referendum in January, and, more recently, to the mounting crisis in Abyei, the contested border area between the north and the south. So have things improved in Darfur?
Famine and Foreigners: Ethiopia Since Live Aid By Peter Gill (Oxford University Press, 280 pp., $27.95) In the fall of 1994, James P. Grant, the executive director of UNICEF, sent a message in the name of his agency to the upcoming Cairo conference on population and development, in which he declared that the world had within its grasp the means to solve “the problems of poverty, population, and environmental degradation that feed off of one another in a downward spiral [bringing] instability and strife in its wake.” Grant was a great man, a giant of the development world.
Will the rich save the world? This has not been their traditional service to humankind; but in contemporary America you may be forgiven for believing in the messianic power of personal wealth. We are still enjoying the economicist fantasy that was inaugurated by technology in the Clinton years and consolidated by ideology in the Bush years. Could it be that the rich did not previously save the world because they were not rich enough? But they are rich enough now, right? I do not mean to be too clever.