Bob Geldoff recently wrote a
essay in one of Norway’s major newspapers repeating how we should not forget Africa in the face of other problems in the world. The Norwegian minister for foreign aid comments on the article mentioning his agreement and points out that the number of people killed in Rwanda during the conflict there meant that for every third hour the same mount of people where killed in Rwanda that was killed in total during this summers Israel/Lebanon conflict.
Two points strikes me. First of all its a bit dangerous to in some sense rate conflicts based on number killed. Taken to the extreme it would mean that you basically ignore any conflict/problem until it reaches top 3 in death numbers. Nobody is arguing for doing so of course, but every time you do argue with number of dead you are in some sense promoting that view.
On the other side there also is the moral question about why the big
butcherings in Africa tend to fall from public interest quickly while relatively speaking smaller conflicts like the Israel/Lebanon one don’t.
A lot of possible answers of course, ranging from historic importance of Israel to a world heavily influenced by Judaism and its two spin-off religions Christianity and Islam. Bob Geldoff in his article also points out that there might be a general feeling in Europe that Africa is a hopeless case, that no matter what is done so are there seemingly always new and bigger tragedies transpiring there. So maybe people haven’t given up in the same way on the Middle-east yet. That said I do seem to feel a bit of fatigue creeping into the European population on the problems of the middle-east.