From iWire, April 10:
Google has joined forces with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to create a visual record of the attrocities that began in the Darfur region of Sudan in 2003. The Crisis in Darfur project has assembled photographs, data and eyewitness testimony—from a number of sources that are brought together for the first time in Google Earth.
The ethnic based conflict has seen the Government of Sudan and militia forces ravage African villagers, resulting in an estimated 2 million deaths and widespread destruction of more than 100,000 homes, schools and mosques. Google Earth enables users to zoom into the region to view more than 1,600 damaged and destroyed villages, providing visual, compelling evidence of the scope of destruction.
Prior to the genocide the total population of Darfur was 6 million.
Crisis in Darfur content comes from a range of sources—the U.S. State Department, non-governmental organizations, the United Nations, individual photographers, and the Museum.
“At Google, we believe technology can be a catalyst for education and action,” said Elliot Schrage, Google Vice President, Global Communications and Public Affairs. “Crisis in Darfur will enable Google Earth users to visualize and learn about the destruction in Darfur as never before and join the Museum’s efforts in responding to this continuing international catastrophe.”
The Museum has also announced the creation of a similar mapping project on Holocaust history available on the Museum’s website: www.ushmm.org/googleearth. The Holocaust took place across the entire European continent, and for all of Europe’s Jews, as well as other victims of Nazism, such as Gypsies, geography played a major role in determining their fate. The Museum is using Google Earth to map key Holocaust sites with historic content from its collections. Further information on Holocaust-era sites can be accessed through the Museum’s online Holocaust Encyclopedia at www.ushmm.org.
To find Crisis in Darfur on Google Earth, users must download the Google Earth application from http://earth.google.com. Once downloaded, users will find Crisis in Darfur by flying over Africa. Information on the Museum’s Genocide Prevention Mapping Initiative and the Holocaust mapping layer can be accessed from the Museum’s Web site at www.ushmm.org/googleearth.
Forgive our cynicism, but isn’t there something a little surreal about all these resources being marshalled for media and education campaigns while the Darfur genocide (now entering its fourth year) continues unabated? We don’t claim to have any easy answers, but at least we ask the tough questions—like why is the State Department serving as a “source” on this project even as it denies that there is genocide in Darfur?
See our last post on Sudan and the Sahel crisis.