Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Genocide Olympics


“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
Martin Luther King

I have no interest in the Beijing Olympics and neither will I be purchasing merchandise from corporations with their branding splattered like bloodstains across the Olympic Games.

The massive infrastructure and eloborate opening ceremony are built on the blood and bones of nearly half a million black Dafur people, victims of the Chinese- supported genocidal policies of Sudan.

More than 2 million people are also believed to have fledtheir homes in Darfur in response to continuing attacks from the Sudan-armed, pro-government Arab janjaweed militia.

Food and water are in short supply and more than one third of Darfur's children seem destined to suffer from malnutrition in the coming months.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has accused Sudan's Arab dominated government of the most heinous crimes against humanity including summary executions, rape and torture to name a few.

Sudan's rapid industrialization and modernisation have been fueled by its lucrative oil and commodities trade with Asian and Arab partners. This has emboldened the Sudanese government to resist American and European pressure to end the genocide in neighbouring Darfur. The truth is that Sudan can ignore Western revulsion at genocide because it has no need of Western money or trade.

Sudan has been subject to U.S. sanctions since the 1990s and has been condemned in numerous United Nations resolutions.

Yet thanks to China, a small group of western capitalists, Kuwaitis, Saudis, Indians and Pakistanis, Sudan's petro-economy is flourishing. The economy is expected to continue a robust growth rate on the back of oil exports, 80% of which go to Beijing.

China, as Sudan number one trading partner is in a key strategic position to pressure Sudan into stopping its sponsored violence in Darfur. But to date, China has been passive, taking very little action to influence the Sudanese government and nothing much has changed on the ground level in Darfur.

In fact, quite disturbingly, it now appears that China is actually assisting Sudan to contravene the 2005 UN Arms Embargo on Darfur. This embargo requires foreign nations to ensure that they do not provide any form of military assistance to the groups involved in the Darfur conflict.

A BBC Panorama TV team recently tracked down China-made Dong Feng army lorries in Darfur. These lorries were sold to Sudan in 2005, months after the UN Arms Embargo was put in place. The BBC team was given graphic descriptions of these Dong Feng lorries that used anti-aircraft guns to attack the huts and murder unarmed civilians in a town called Sirba.

The reporters were also told that China was training fighter pilots to fly Chinese A5 Fantan Jets in Darfur.

It is now clear to all observers that Sudan can only defy the UN and western nations with a conscience because of China's support. And yet, western leaders and millions of tourists are falling over themselves to be present at the Genocide Olympics in a barbaric country that feels free to trample the basic standards of human decency in pursuit of greed.

How quickly have they forgotten Darfur.

How quickly have they forgotten Tibet.

How quickly have they forgotten Tiananmen Square.

The hypocrisy, media blitz and ritualized medal count have no impact on me as the ossified Chinese government bends over backward to show off its “achievements and modernisation.”

The shadows of the Darfur genocide, massive rural poverty, unbearable pollution, degraded landscapes and authoritarian leadership are everywhere, even as they walled up unsightly residences of impoverished Chinese people like prisons and destroyed the homes of others without compensation to facilitate this massive public relations campaign to impress the world. China lives in denial of its collective shadow and capitalist fed barbarism. Not even the fancy pyrotechnics and regimented choreography of the recent opening ceremony can hide its ugliness.

As the great granddaughter of Asian migrants, there is a fair amount of Chinese (and Indian) blood running through my veins and I have the right to accuse China of genocide.

When one adds the Tibetan invasion, basic human violations of their own people and religious intolerance to the tableau of Chinese “achievements” to date, it is very difficult for any human being with a conscience to cheer anything at this danse macabre called the Beijing Olympics.

- Carol Ann Mohamed


Newbrarian said...

Last week I met a Sudanese librarian and of course asked her perspective on the genocide in Darfur. Her response was that there is no genocide in Darfur. What we (Non-Sudanese) have read and heard are merely a part of the Western plot to gain access to Sudanese oil. I mention this only because history continues to show us that one nation's hero is another nation's terrorist. As long as the people within the nation are suckling on government teats these crimes against humanity will continue to happen within their borders. Emperor Haile Selassie I gave the reasons why these things will continue to happen and only when we address these inequities, the source(s), will we...

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