Monday, August 17, 2009

A few words about Kenneth H. Bacon

Kenneth H. Bacon, a courageous advocate for refugees, former assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration and former journalist, passed away this Saturday.

I interviewed him in 2007 about the state of refugees and internally displaced persons fleeing the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, while he was working as president of Refugees International, a Washington-based organisation that works to generate humanitarian assistance and protection for displaced people around the world. For a conflict as surrounded by posturing and propagandizing as Darfur is, I found his comments refreshingly humane and informed by common sense.

Though I didn't know him personally, I did know his career and public persona somewhat, and he seemed to me like someone genuinely committed to trying to lessen the suffering of the less-fortunate in the world, a distinction that fits fewer and fewer in our public discourse these days, and, as such, he seemed someone who deserves this small note of remembrance from the Loire Valley today, far from the refugee camps in Sudan and Chad.

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