SUDAN WATCH: Lindsey Hilsum reports from Darfur on the noisy diplomacy

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Lindsey Hilsum reports from Darfur on the noisy diplomacy

International British journalist, Lindsey Hilsum reports in the New Statesman on the noisy diplomacy in Darfur. Here is an excerpt of the must-read report from Darfur, along with my personal note, below.

" ... The Janjaweed are certainly aware that they need to do a better public relations job. In al-Fasher, I met a dozen sheikhs from Arab tribes associated with the militia. We sat on chairs in a straw-built house with a sand floor, eating oily groundnut paste with bread and sweet vermicelli. On the central table perched an incongruous set of yellow and maroon woollen chickens, like tea cosies. The sheikhs wanted to tell me that all this talk of Janjaweed was lies ..."

" ... They drove me to Masri, six hours away, reputed to have a large Janjaweed camp. They had melted into the desert, leaving no trace. The Janjaweed may be as difficult to find as weapons of mass destruction, not because they were never there, but because they are no longer visible. For the moment, their work is done - we flew over mile after mile of deserted villages. All diplomacy can do now is try to turn the ceasefire into a real peace agreement and find some way of giving displaced people the confidence to return home. They, of course, are not confused by the disappearance of the Janjaweed, knowing that the moment the world stops looking, they'll be back..." [Full Story]
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Lindsey Hilsum, who started her career over 15 year ago as a reporter for the BBC in London, is currently international editor for Channel 4 News (the best channel for in-depth news on UK television). She has become one of Britain's most respected foreign correspondents.

From the outset, and throughout the height of the war in Iraq, Lindsey presented live TV reports from Baghdad - and has reported from some of the most troubled regions in the world. Her reports are always first class. It's great to see her reporting from Darfur. Millions of us in Britain have watched her recent television reports, live from Sudan, on Channel 4 News.

Sometime during the early 1990's, I had the privilege of assisting Lindsey's father on an education initiative of his that raised millions of pounds for physics equipment in schools. He is a great physicist and one of the most clever, and kind, chaps in London. It's no wonder that Lindsey and her work are so unique and first rate. It's easy to see her father in her, the way she articulates and concentrates her mind - and gets straight to the heart of matters - like a laser beam, with great speed - and accuracy.

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