I managed to miss posting the link to this interview with Jonathan Lethem, which is required reading for everyone who cares about literature or art or anything, or, well, just anyone.
Nicholas Kristof reviews two new books about genocide in Sudan in the current New York Review of Books. The highlights:
You expect that from time to time, a government may attack some part of its own people, but you might hope that by the twenty-first century the world would react. Alas, that hasn’t happened. Indeed, the Armenian genocide of 1915 arguably provoked greater popular outrage in America at the time than the Darfur genocide does today.
The most feasible option is to convert [African Union Forces] into a “blue-hat” UN force and add to them UN and NATO forces. The US could easily enforce a no-fly zone in Darfur by using the nearby Chadian air base in Abeché. Then it could make a strong effort to arrange for tribal conferences—the traditional method of conflict settlement in Darfur—and there is reason to hope that such conferences could work to achieve peace. The Arab tribes have been hurt by the war as well, and the tribal elders are much more willing to negotiate than the Sudan government and the rebel leaders who are the parties to the current peace negotiations.
Some organizations, like Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group, have also produced a series of excellent reports on Darfur—underscoring that this time the nations of the world know exactly what they are turning away from and cannot claim ignorance.
Once again, the international response has been to debate whether the word “genocide” is really appropriate, to point out that the situation is immensely complex, to shrug that it’s horrifying but that there’s nothing much we can do. The slogan “Never Again” is being transformed into “One More Time.”
Perhaps, the media should devote less coverage to James Frey and more to Sudan? Or at least to J.T. LeRoy, whose work and fabrications are far more impressive than Frey’s.
All this should be balanced by a little levity: The Worst Job Ever.