Genocide Olympics?

February 13, 2008 at 12:48 pm (PR) (, , , )

2157436.jpg is reporting that film director Steven Spielberg has decided not to serve as an artistic adviser for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.  He said he simply can’t reconcile working on the Olympics while China and other nations were not doing enough to ease the suffering in Darfur.  Spielberg’s decision comes as activists worldwide focus on the Olympics as a way to urge Beijing to exert its political leverage on Sudan’s government to help end the crisis in Darfur.   Spielberg goes on to talk about how China buys about two-thirds of Sudan’s oil exports, and in return China sells weapons to the Sudanese government.  Mia Farrow and several humanitarian groups had been critical of Spielberg for continuing to work on the games, even as the Sudanese military said it bombed three towns in West Darfur last week.  Spielberg has sent letters urging China to take a stronger stance against Sudan but now his conscience is pointing him toward spending his time and energy on the relief effort instead of the ceremonies.    

If I were Steven Spielberg’s publicist, I would compliment him for his decision to completely pull out of being the artistic adviser to the Olympics.  This decision is a very smart one because he has stopped waffling in the middle and has taken a side to withdrawal.  This says a lot about the character of Spielberg, because he knows his artistic ability is powerful and respected and he does not want to take the chance to tarnish it by supporting a country that refuses to give significant aid.  This statement sends a message to other countries, other individuals and athletes, who haven’t taken a strong stance on Darfur up to now.  This is great publicity for Spielberg, because now he looks like a strong enthusiast for a good cause.  I think Spielberg really changed his mind to fully support the Darfur cause after learning more about the situation.  I think he was going off what people told him before, and then when he was able to talk to people it really effected, he decided to take a stronger stance.  I think this will not have a negative impact on his career at all, if anything it will only make him look more human and approachable in contrast to a celebrity.  

Jill Savitt, director of the activist group Dream for Darfur, says that China has taken small steps to help ease the people of Darfur’s suffering.  “The Olympics are China’s debut on the world stage, and Beijing wants the Olympics to go well,” Savitt said. ”Unless China acts now to resolve the crisis in Darfur, the Beijing Games will best be remembered as the genocide Olympics.”


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