Saturday, September 15, 2007

President Bush's Olympic Mistake. Genocide Games

By Eric Reeves
The New Republic (TNR) Online | Post date 09.14.07

An international outcry over Beijing's hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games has grown steadily louder in recent months. How, it is being asked, can the premier event in international sports be hosted by a nation complicit in the most heinous international crimes? The Chinese regime is guilty of perpetrating the ongoing destruction of Tibet, supporting the vicious Myanmar junta, engaging in gross domestic human rights abuses, and, perhaps worst of all, facilitating genocide in Darfur.

Despite the controversy, President Bush announced last week that he will attend the Games. It's an unprecedented move--apparently no American president has ever attended an Olympic Games held abroad--and China's human rights violations make Bush's decision seem all the more unwarranted. But perhaps he'll be able to shield himself from criticism next summer by sharing a view of the Games with Steven Spielberg, who agreed in March to serve as an artistic consultant for the opening and closing ceremonies.

This is distressing because China has proven adept at generating political cover for its misdeeds. It recently received some excessively generous praise for not opposing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1769, passed on July 31, which authorizes a force of some 26,000 civilian police and troops to protect civilians and humanitarians in Darfur. But China was instrumental in badly weakening the resolution, leaving it without a mandate to disarm combatants, even those carrying weapons introduced into Darfur in violation of previous Security Council resolutions. As both Amnesty International and the U.N. Panel of Experts on Darfur have amply demonstrated, Khartoum continues to violate the weapons embargo on a massive scale. Further, China was also the key player in removing any threat of sanctions against Khartoum for obstructing deployment of the U.N.-authorized force...

Now, Bush and Spielberg are contributing further to the whitewashing of China's record of abuse. Sophie Richardson, an Asia expert at Human Rights Watch, said that by attending the Olympics in Beijing Bush was giving "an enormous propaganda opportunity to an abusive government." Spielberg has declared publicly that, "all of us are dedicated to making these Olympic opening and closing ceremonies the most emotional anyone has ever seen." But what "emotions" does the director of "Schindler's List" associate with genocide in Darfur? When the brutal Janjaweed militias throw African children, screaming in terror, into bonfires as their parents watch, what emotions are evoked for Spielberg? When young girls are brutally gang-raped, what thoughts spring to mind? When malnutrition claims the lives of more and more Darfuri victims, what feelings should attend the spectacle of agony that is starvation? It's inconceivable that such negative images will be included in Spielberg's show. Link to full article

1 comment:

MagicStarER said...

I fully agree that any president with moral fiber would have vigorously protested the genocide and extreme human rights violations propagated by China against the citizens of Tibet, and censured them being the host of the olympic games. Just another example of the dismal failure of Pres. Bush to uphold the American values of compassion and freedom.