“I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue business as usual,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Now, I must confess to not entirely understanding the Darfur mess but the last time I was there UN officials were telling me that China was stepping up pressure on Khartoum to clean up its act. And you needn’t take their word for it. Even such anti-Sudan characters as Eric Reeves had become “cautiously optimistic” about China’s stance in recent weeks.
His comments were put out by Olympic Dream for Darfur (Mia Farrow is on its advisory committee), again hardly the sort of people who are ever soft on Beijing or Sudan. Yet they are now applauding Spielberg for resigning as artistic director of the 2008 Olympic Games.
For what it’s worth, I’m not convinced Spielberg’s actions are the best way to get China to move. As the Teddy Bear debacle showed, engaging Khartoum is always a better bet than throwing your toys out of the pram. Similarly China. Push Beijing too far and they’ll stick up two fingers and continue with their policy of taking over the world anyway.
The episode raises one other obvious question, but I’ll let the sight is in end deal with it in forthright fashion.