Monday, February 18, 2008

Spielburg Takes a Stand

Those reading the news might have seen this already. Apparently Steven Spielburg had been set to be the creative director of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A few days ago, however, he suddenly decided to rebuke the Chinese government for selling weapons (and buying oil) from Sudan, thus contributing to the atrocities in Darfur.

That's not a bad stand to take. Good for you, Steve! But I'm not sure if Darfur would have topped my list of offenses when it comes to the Chinese government. Their support of the Myanmar junta that recently cracked down on peacefully protesting Buddhist monks; their restrained punishment of corrupt party officials responsible for abducting and enslaving children; or their recent law making unregulated reincarnation a crime (poor Dalai Lama); or their support of Robert Mugabe, under whom Zimbabwe has all but crumbled; or even their inexplicable inability to curb the rampant piracy of Spielburg's (and everyone else's) movies... all these would also seem justifiable excuses to abdicate one's role in the Beijing propaganda-fest coming this summer. But, oddly, Spielburg chose Darfur... the one issue on which Beijing has given ground. Recently, the Chinese have been using their considerable influence with the Sudanese regime to give more support for AU and UN missions in Darfur. So I'd have to wonder if it isn't counterproductive to rub Beijing's nose in that particular shit, especially when there is so much other shit hitting the fans, the side-walks, and the noisome toilets of the People's Republic of China.

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