The Casualty Footprint of Conflicts: Stealth Conflicts gives us a view of the Astronomical Differences

Stealth Conflicts has an excellent illustration of what one might call the “casualty footprint” of conflicts. (I suggested a similar procedure with the media footprint of conflicts.) This is a visual way to bring forward the strikingly low casualties of the Arab-Israeli conflict. H/T: Honest Reporting

Illustrations based on figures discussed here.

Figure 1.

congo israel-palestine
Figure 2.

As a contribution to the issue of media footprint, Stealth Conflicts has a post entitled: How many people have to die in the DRC to appear in the New York Times?

Stealth Conflicts suggests this is the death toll comparison between the conflict in the DRC and the Palestine-Israeli conflict (Figure 2 above). I am sure that this estimation (based on known figures) is very close to the real figure.

We live in a globalized world, where any information shows up on a webpage in a matter of minutes. But the DRC rarely appears in the frontpage of the most important newspapers. With its absence, the media are sending us a message: depending on where you are born, your life is worth more, or less.

This is so evidently unfair and painful.

My only hope is that, forty years from now, this scandal will be seen as a problem of the past. As a symptom of the problems of a society -our developed one- that, with time, changed for better. I hope to talk about it to my grandsons in the same way afroamerican grandparents talk nowadays about Rosa Parks. Like talking about an evident problem that finally, one day, one person dared to face. And changed for good.

We need our own Rosa Parks to raise this issue. I hope she will come soon.

My guess is that you’d have to reverse the figures and increase the difference by a magnitude of 10 or even 100 to get at the media footprint. That is, it takes only the smallest casualty figures for something from the Arab-Israeli conflict to make the NYT and many column inches of the NYT, while it would take massive casualties to even get a column inch for the Congo.

These are astronomical differences: between Earth and Jupiter (casualty footprint), between Earth and the Sun (media footprint). They demand explanation.

I think that the casualty footprint can only be explained by the exceptional commitment to Israelis to human life, even among its enemies. Given the vast superiority of fire-power the Israelis have, were they desirous of killing civilians (as are the Sudanese and the Congolese), they could do massive damage.

Only the Israeli will keeps them from causing more casualties, certainly not their capacity; whereas, with these other conflicts (and with the Palestinians), one gets the impression that it’s the opposite: only their limited capacity prevents further casualties, not their will.

What a red spade for the black hearts.

UPDATE: Very witty and biting use of these graphics at Breath of the Beast

30 Responses to The Casualty Footprint of Conflicts: Stealth Conflicts gives us a view of the Astronomical Differences

  1. Thank you for picking up the post from my blog. I have also done a fair bit of work on this ‘media footprint’ of conflicts. To give an example, if you compare the number of news items on CNN over the first two years of conflict in the DRC and Israel-Palestine, compare it to the respective death tolls, and then do the mathematics, you find that the life of one person in Israel-Palestine is roughly equal to 49,000 Congolese lives (for CNN). More people really need to know about how and why this state of affairs is allowed to persist…

    My most detailed data/conclusions are in my book, Stealth Conflicts: How the World’s Worst Violence Is Ignored (

  2. […] Some perspective from Stealth Conflicts (hat tip: Backspin via The Augean Stables) The death toll from the world’s deadliest conflict of our times – the DRC (5,400,000) – is […]

  3. Barry Meislin says:

    For your next project, why don’t you compare how many dollars of international aid each Palestinian receives annually….in comparison with, oh, take your pick…..

  4. Cynic says:

    How many people have to die in the DRC to appear in the New York Times?

    It’s too dry. Put some Juice Jews into the picture and you will get all the attention the NYT can give, assuming of course that the Jews can be portrayed in as bad a light as possible.

  5. Richard Landes says:

    that’s not true. i think this time the NYT would carry the story of genocide against the jews.

  6. Richard Landes says:

    Virgil, your book costs $95 (and $225 used). what’s a poor academic to do (other than tell the librarian to buy it, which i already did)?

  7. Richard, sorry about the cost of the book.. It is a newly released hardcover book and is initially aimed at the libraries/academic audience. What you can do to get your own copy, though, is get hold of a review copy of the book – write a review and get a free copy. There are at least two journals that I know of that have free copies. You can find info on these copies here: Meanwhile, I have to look into trying to get a paperback version out…

  8. Solomonia says:

    British Medical Journal Goes to War Against…Honest Reporting…

    One must wonder what’s going on Britain that the BMJ would spend so much time, not only on Israel issues, but then attacking its critics. Well, one doesn’t need to spend that much time wondering… Honest Reporting: BMJ’s Bad Medicine……

  9. […] and mentor Landes pointed the way (and gave a very insightful introduction) to a very informative and dramatic graphic representation at Stealth Conflicts of a telling symptom […]

  10. Eliyahu says:

    Virgil, you took an interesting approach to a very real problem. What I would like to see you is to compare the genocide in the southern Sudan [not Darfur which is in the west] with just about any other conflict. This genocide has gone on for about 52 years, off and on, since 1956. Several million people have been killed. It’s funny that with all the concern with Black people and how they are oppressed in the USA, etc., very little attention has been given to the Sudanese genocide over the years. That includes Black American politicians, like the current president, for instance. Apparently genocide is OK if the wrong folks get hurt or the right folks do it. I suppose we could say that the USA hardly has a serious press. The NYT and WaPo do not fit the bill of serious, which for me also means reliable.

  11. […] Landes at the Augean Stables has some graphs show the comparative casualty footprint of various conflicts. But it shows more […]

  12. Cynic says:


    It’s funny that with all the concern with Black people and how they are oppressed in the USA, etc.,
    they couldn’t give a d’s d about those in Africa.
    Well neither can Tutu who is more interested in Sabeel and his fellow Anglican Arab Bishops in whipping up an international fervor against the “Zionists” than against the excesses of his next door neighbour Mugabe or even the plight of his own South African flock which he addressed with a few well chosen platitudes in a low key.

  13. oao says:


    ah, hypocrisy. it solves so many problems to distract.

  14. Eliyahu says:

    Cynic, it seems to me that Tutu has a black skin and the white heart of a Britisher who has learned all he knows from the BBC and the Royal Inst. of Int’l Affairs, perhaps after taking a translation with Mona Baker [= Bakr]. His Black loyalties seem to be nil. Just a phoney like most of the South African govt. I realize that he’s not exactly part of the govt but just one of their celebrities.

  15. Eliyahu says:


    …a translation COURSE with Mona Baker [= Bakr]

  16. Cynic says:

    BY the way here’s a post by Discarded Lies on the BMJ and Boycotting Israel
    Boycott Israeli Academics? The Numbers Don’t Lie: They’re Already Blacklisted

    The number of publications from Israel in the ‘British Medical Journal’ decreases or stagnates from 1984-2004, while it increases over that period in the comparable ‘JAMA-Journal of the American Medical Association’. ………..

  17. Cynic says:


    Here’s a post by a Sudanese man now living in the US, on Tutu:

    Bishop Tutu and “Israeli Apartheid”

    Bishop, when you used to dance for Mandela’s freedom, we Africans — all over Africa — joined in. Our support was key in your freedom. But when children in Burundi and Kinshasa, all the way to Liberia and Sierra Leone, and in particular in Sudan, cried and called for rescue, you heard but chose to be silent.
    Today, black children are enslaved in Sudan, the last place in the continent of Africa where humans are owned by other humans — I was part of the movement to stop slavery in Mauritania, which just now abolished the practice. But you were not with us, Bishop Tutu.
    So where is Desmond Tutu when my people call out for freedom? Slaughter and genocide and slavery are lashing Africans right now. Where are you for Sudan, Bishop Tutu? You are busy attacking the Jewish State.

  18. Cynic says:


    Some people I met who frequented then Bishop Tutu’s Anglican Church in Johannesburg in the late 60s, early 70s said that they were not impressed with the manner in which the Church through Tutu made politics its raison d’etre.

  19. oao says:

    Some people I met who frequented then Bishop Tutu’s Anglican Church in Johannesburg in the late 60s, early 70s said that they were not impressed with the manner in which the Church through Tutu made politics its raison d’etre.

    some politicians wear religion on their sleave, some churchmen wear their politics on their sleave. they are all fakes.

  20. […] interesting post a couple days ago highlighting, graphically, the West’s lack of perspective. The original post was done by Augean Stables. One of the Secretary of State’s first visits since being sworn in […]

  21. RfaelMoshe says:

    In the late ’70s, I glanced through a copy of “Advertising Age”, a trade publication, and noted that Arafat and the PLO had just given a million dollars to a prominent Madison Avenue public relations firm, seeking better press and more favorable coverage of the Palestinians. This was in the era where the word “Palestinian” was most associated by the general public with the phrase “airplane hijacking.” Shortly thereafter, and ever since, the Palestinians started getting more favorable coverage. Perhaps the best coverage that money can buy? While we hear endless conspiracy theories about the “Israel lobby”, perhaps we are overlooking the pervasive influence of Arab oil money, particularly un-accounted for Arab oil money.

  22. […] have posted before on the dramatic difference between media coverage of Israeli actions against Palestinians (and the attendant civilian casualties) and that of other […]

  23. […] was einen Konflikt, deren Opferzahlen im Verhältnis zu anderen weltweiten Konflikten und Kriegen verschwindend gering ist, denn eigentlich so besonders […]

  24. […] I’ve emphasized repeatedly the dangers of this obsession. […]

  25. […] acted out in growing frenzy before our eyes. Richard Landes at the Augean Stables had a crucial post last year demonstrating the astounding dissonance between world trouble spots and their attendant […]

  26. […] Conflicts (via Augean Stables) demonstrates the issue with a clever […]

  27. Micaela Oberst says:

    More articles like this are needed in mainstream newspapers and on major networks so people around the world can be enlightened about what is really going on.

  28. […] their obsession with the Arab-Israeli conflict has blinded them to far more important conflicts and far greater suffering than what the Palestinians suffer at the hands of the evil Israelis – like what’s […]

  29. […] about a way to put Israel’s behavior in context? In the 20 years from 1989-2009, for example, some 10,000 people were killed in the Arab-Israeli conflict. In the same time […]

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