No, not even close, fortunately, but there are some similarities that lead one to think of it.
Yesterday and today, Laura Sullivan did two disturbing and important stories for NPR's All Things Considered on the frequency of, and miserable prosecution record for, rapes among Indian women on the nation's reservations. She focused on reservations in South Dakota and Oklahoma. This kind of reporting is why I've worked in public broadcasting all these years and it's great that NPR does it so well (disclosure: I'm on its board of directors, and tonight especially proud to be so).
I grew up in southeastern South Dakota -- a state in the heart of flyover country that, to the extent it's known at all, is known as home of Mount Rushmore. And the heart of South Dakota between Wall Drug and the Corn Palace is home to a number of Indian reservations, some of the poorest such in the country. In a largely invisible state, these vast expanses of the land no one else wanted are themselves invisible. All too often, the only time one reads of reservation life (or death) is in the Sunday Sioux Falls Argus-Leader or Rapid City Journal, which will carry one-sentence stories about the death of someone with a Sioux name who was walking along some deserted road on a Saturday evening and found dead in the ditch.
I've been following Darfur closely because one of my brothers, of whom I am also very proud (and also a blogger), is nearing the end of his third tour with an NGO doing food relief in Sudan. Sudan is a low visibility country on a low visibility continent and Darfur is an isolated region within it. Rob's work has primarily been in the southern part of the country where, until recently, civil war raged for decades and where food was used as a weapon on both sides. But he has been to Darfur on evaluation teams and the scale of the tragedy there is breathtaking.
Ethnic cleansing has been over for more than a century in South Dakota (I don't mean to pick on my home state -- you can probably substitute the name of any reservation state in the central or mountain time zones). But its effects are long-lasting. And there's no janjaweed there. But tell that to the rape victims which, per Sullivan's reporting, are disproportionately victimized by non-Indians.
The news these days in the rest of the world is so dominant and so wretched that things seem relatively peachy back home. They aren't. And journalism like this does a great service to us all. Follow the links in the first sentence to hear or read the stories. --Dennis