Posted by Kuku on 10:30 PM
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Steven Spielberg, Academy Award-winning director and 'artistic consultant' for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in China has withdrawn from the games.

In a statement, he accused China of not doing enough to pressure its ally Sudan to end the "continuing human suffering" in the troubled western Darfur region. "I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue business as usual," said Mr Spielberg.

In a statement, Mr Spielberg said: "At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur." He said: "Sudan's government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these on-going crimes but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more."

Someone is going to get mad and I think it's going to be China! I've heard speculations about this for months now, and Spielberg has been under a lot of pressure from various groups (Save Darfur, et. al.) to take this move. Obviously Beijing is going to try to play this down, but they will be furious. This will be a major blow to their "Coming out to the World" party. It is important to keep in mind that the Chinese have been waiting for this event for a while now.
Obviously, Speilberg himself is replaceable, but is this a sign of something bigger to come? Will we see entire nations, like the US (where most of these anti-Beijing Olympics groups are from) withdraw or boycott the Games? I doubt it. Back in September of last year, Bush was invited personally by Chinese President Hu during the APEC summit to attend the Games (read about it here). I doubt Bush will personally boycott them , but he will definetely use the Games as a platform to pressure China further. But will we be seeing athletes wearing armbands, t-shirts, and other things that will 'show support' for the people of Darfur? I think so!
I don't even know about this pressuring China business. I understand that they are the main supplier of arms to Khartoum, but will this pressure, from seemingly unimportant groups really make any tangible difference? The fact of the matter is that pressure, such as this, only works against democratic governments, which are susceptible to criticism and public opinion. Obviously China is not a democracy and, although the times have changed, is still not susceptible to any sort of pressure (Tiananmen Square, anyone?)

I can't wait to here the smart things Khartoum will have to say about this.

6 comments:

RandallJones said...

You say pressure works against democratic governments. Can you give me an example?

What do you think of the information provided in these articles about the role of the United States in fueling the conflict in Darfur?

One is written by Keith Harmon Snow

http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=447&Itemid=1

the other is written by F William Engdahl

http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/Geopolitics___Eurasia/Oil_in_Africa/oil_in_africa.html

(note: to see the articles in a larger window, right click on the links and when a menu appears, click on "open link in new window")

If pressure works on democracies why hasn't anyone been able to get the United States to stop it's violent interventions in Iraq, the Congo, Sudan, Somalia, and many other places around the world?

Kizzie said...

good for him! I'm sure hollywood is going to like that.
I can't believe that people fail to see the fact that the government is the problem not China. Even if China presurred the govt , Darfur should be solved by a strong political resolution. If both sides ( govt n rebels) are unwilling to take it seriously and the UN troops aren't deployed, China can't do anything about it.
Calling it genocide olympics is a political game! Is it turning into a conflict btw china and america or what? another cold war? I'm confused!
His decision was ridiculous

blackstone said...

I'm glad Speilberg made this move, however, i do not think it will change much. Think about it, most of America's recalled products have been from China, whether its dog food or hazardous childrens toys, and we still have yet to boycott China! If America doesn't care that China is harming American citizens, why would America boycott China for harming Sudan citizens!?

Dark Daughta said...

Hi there,
I'm new here. I just wanted to throw a few complications your way. If you google the Olympics and cross reference oppression, I think writings about how horrendous domination of indigenous peoples and oppressed peoples around the world has followed the olympics wherever they have travelled.
There is quite a solid precedent for countries behaving as if the olympics are neutral territory in the face of much oppression. Nazi Germany hosted a very well attended olympics where amerikkka did attend. Right now Native people are agitating trying to disturb the upcoming Vancouver olympics. They are fierce warriors who mean business and yet the olympic promotion and coordination machine continues. Will there be something different about China? I don't know.

AK said...

Randalljones, I was talking about pressure as in terrorism or violent rebellion. Obviously democracies are susceptible to pressure by the public and I think that it is important for citizens to always (peacefully) challenge their governments. With regards to Iraq, the US admin has been successful because it was able to sell to the american public an outright lie.

Kizzie: There is definitely some US-China rivalry being played out here. I don't know if it is a cold war, but there is a saying that says, "when two elephants fight, the grass gets trembled." The Darfurians are the grass in this case.

Blackstone: Good point. It is definitely hard to believe that the US is placing all this pressure when it doesn't have any interest in the matter.

Dark Daughta: I think that the Olympics (along with many other things) shouldn't be mixed with politics. It is and should always remain an opportunity for countries to showcase their best athletes. Honestly, there is no perfect country out there and if we were to set a standard with many criteria, there probably would be very few if any countries qualifying to host the games.

RandallJones said...

AK,

I was replying to the part where you wrote ”I don't even know about this pressuring China business. I understand that they are the main supplier of arms to Khartoum, but will this pressure, from seemingly unimportant groups really make any tangible difference? The fact of the matter is that pressure, such as this, only works against democratic governments, which are susceptible to criticism and public opinion.

Since above that you were referring to “Save Darfur” pressuring China and wanting to boycott thye Olympics, I did not think you meant violent acts such as terrorism or rebellion.

My point is that whether a country is susceptible to criticism and public opinion has nothing to do with whether or not it is a democracy. Usually small or weak governments are susceptible to outside pressure. (By “weak” I mean it could be militarily or economically weak.)

The United States, a democracy, is not susceptible to out side pressure. It does whatever it wants because of its strength and wealth.

Here is some more information of the deaths and destruction in Africa that the United States played a role in. It shows the extreme hypocrisy of the “Save Darfur” activists.

This one is about Somalia
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m41085&hd=&size=1&l=e


This one is about the Congo
http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_keith_ha_080207_the_gertler_steinmet.htm