Mapping Genocide: Google Earth and Darfur
Stacy Perlman, a senior at Northeastern University, interviewed me a few weeks back for a piece on the use of Google Maps for human rights activism. The result, "Mapping Genocide: Google Earth and Darfur," is a wonderful narrative piece of journalism, plotting the emergence of Crisis in Darfur through Ushahidi. Stacy captures the crucial crux of this issue:
While there is no way to monitor how many people have been influenced by the map to join an advocacy group, lobby congress or donate money, a case study report on the project noted that “more than 100,000 have visited the “What Can I Do?” page on the museum’s site to find out how they can help.” The page provides a variety of ways to take a stand including contacting the media to tell them there is a lack of coverage on the issue and communicating with decision-makers such as the U.S. government and the United Nations about the need for humanitarian assistance.
While crediting the Crisis in Darfur Map as a great awareness tool, Joshua Goldstein, a graduate research assistant at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School noted that the obvious pushback to a project like this is that “at the end of the day you’re not saving lives.” Although awareness about Darfur is critical, Goldstein makes the point that awareness that leads to activism is even more crucial.
Labels: east africa