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Sunday, August 22, 2004

Chemical Attack in Sudan?

August 22, 2004
There was something curiously understated about the report of an apparent chemical attack on villagers in the Sudanese province of Darfur, which ran on Tuesday's front page.

For one thing, the word "chemical" was never used by any of the villagers. They simply described in matter-of-fact terms how one day, instead of the usual bombs, the planes dropped plastic sacks filled with a flourlike substance that made them sick and killed their livestock.

"I came across the story just talking to the villagers in Shegek Karo about their experiences during the bombing," reporter Levon Sevunts explained in a subsequent e-mail. They didn't even realize what they were telling me was extremely important. For them, it was just another of many ways the Sudanese government had tried to kill them." ...

But the innocent quality of the villagers' stories gave the story the ring of truth, and we were impressed by the fact that Mr. Sevunts had carefully avoided making any unsubstantiated charges. He simply recounted the stories the villagers had told him. ... FR Reprint.


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