Quitting can be noble.

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

There are a few things that happened this week that I didn’t write about. Okay, all right, there are more than a few things that happened this week, especially if you are speaking globally, which I am about to, in which case there are billions of things that happened this week that I did not write about. Something that I’ve been meaning to comment on, though, was news this past Tuesday when I was busy getting swept away by Barack. This Tuesday news to which I refer is Steven Spielberg’s announcement to step down from his role as artistic adviser in the 2008 Beijing Olympics to protest China’s role in the Darfur conflict (story here). Although I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan of Spielberg–his movies, though nice, are a little too polished–I think that his statement is an especially loud one and I give my applause (if it means anything to a Hollywood giant). These are the kinds of drastic actions that shake people into noticing.

China, Khartoum’s staunchest ally, makes the following claim on their website concerning the 08′ Games’ slogan:

“One World One Dream” fully reflects the essence and the universal values of the Olympic spirit — Unity, Friendship, Progress, Harmony, Participation and Dream. It expresses the common wishes of people all over the world, inspired by the Olympic ideals, to strive for a bright future of Mankind. In spite of the differences in colors, languages and races, we share the charm and joy of the Olympic Games, and together we seek for the ideal of Mankind for peace…

Peace? Really, China? By being the leading seller of arms to the Sudanese government? By snuggling up next to Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and battling off any attempts at UN intervention and peace-making? By investing heavily in Sudanese oil and funding violent “policy” for an embarrassing amount of time? Would you consider that charming, China?

China’s response to Spielberg was one of indignity, claiming, “”As the Darfur issue is neither an internal issue of China, nor is it caused by China, it is completely unreasonable, irresponsible and unfair for certain organisations and individuals to link the two as one.” So this “bright future of Mankind,” though global in ideal, is really only local in practice, is that what China is suggesting? We could be upset if it were the Chinese who were being persecuted by their government (let’s not even get started there) but not a country on another continent? That’s not China’s responsibility? It’s totally irrelevent either way, because the fact is that China is not simply turning a blind eye to the violence in Darfur, it is propelling it, with its money, with its weapons, and with its unabashed “diplomatic,” political support. I don’t know what happened to the “Genocide Olympics” label that cropped up a while back, but I think it still applies. (Some more facts here, and something you can do.)