Event Date: 29 January 2015
Royal Holloway University of London
Professor Mike Spagat (Economics, RHUL)
War Deaths: Knowledge, Pretense and Progress
During the summer of 2014 headlines proclaimed more than 191,000 violent deaths in Syria and 2,100 in Gaza. Where do these numbers come from? Are they accurate? What do they mean? Over the last decade estimates of “excess deaths” in the Iraq war started at 100,000 and rose quickly to 655,000 before falling back to half a million five years later. Yet even these huge numbers pale in comparison to 5.4 million estimated excess deaths in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the “deadliest conflict since World War II”. What are excess deaths? Are such numbers credible? A display stands in Srebrenica containing the names of 8,372 massacre victims. What is the meaning of this form of memorialization and where might it lead?