Did We Learn No Lessons From the Teddy Bear?

So Steven Spielberg has pulled out of the Beijing Olympics.

“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.

2 thoughts on “Did We Learn No Lessons From the Teddy Bear?

  1. Mia Farrow is out of her mind.

    After so many years of inaction and indifference by the West, we suddenly want to blame Darfur on China? There are many countries to blame, starting with US support of the SPLA and John Garang 10 years ago:


    At any rate the original Darfur mess has since been replaced with inter-tribal conflict and herdsmen fighting for territory. Neither Khartoum nor Beijing has much influence over that.

    China is simply a scapegoat.

  2. Calling China a scapegoat is being ignorant of the situation. Regardless, the moves and out-bursts of celebrities, such as Mia Farrow and Spielberg, leave something to question.


    As Gardner points out, “Well, presumably, Steven Spielberg’s conscience would have had no objections to carrying on business as usual with an odious, brutal, ruthless, authoritarian government. Because — Darfur or no — that’s what the Chinese government is.”

    The first step to solve the situation would to sotp the pouring in of weapons to the Sudanese government. However, it is highly unlikely that China, the greatest beneficary of weapons, would allow that to pass through the UN Security Council.

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