Saturday, 26 November 2016

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

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I doubt if we can trust the figures for war dead in Syria. They are said to be between 301,781 (very precise) and 470,000.




When I was in Hama in 2006 I was told by my guide that 60,000 died there in the uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982. I see the number usually reported is 30,000. Sharmine Narwani in the Guardian in 2013 estimated it at 2,000.




Bill Clinton in 1999, said in fighting in Bosnia Croatia and Kosovo around 250,000 had died. Now people say 130,000.



We are always told that before the war 10% of the Syrian population were Christian but a blogger estimated the number, judging by church attendance in Aleppo, as probably half that. The last Syrian census that included a question about religion was in 1960, when Christians were 7.8% of the population (344,621).This compares with 20% in Syria in 1937 when I presume there was a census.




I read that Christians comprised 20% of the population of the Middle East in 1900. I wonder if this is based on a census. I read that the 1914-18 War more than half the population of Constantinople was Christian, which sounds likely, but I don't know on what evidence.

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