On Sunday I was completely appalled to hear that the British Olympics Association was asking all athletes going to the Olympics to, well, basically keep hush hush about the big, oppressive, human rights violating elephant in the room. Keep Quiet about Chinas business when in China or get on the plane home. I simply couldn't believe it, when all along the hope has been for some that at least having the Olympics in Beijing will get some of the issues raised and dialogued about. Well, not if everyone has been gagged. Shameful to be British.However, I just heard on the news that a little letter of encouragement I (and the thousands others) wrote a couple of months ago has paid off. Mr Steven Spielberg has resigned in his role of director for the Olympics. While he has been urging China to change policy and behavior towards Darfur, I like to think the public encouragement helped him realise that his pull out would be significant.
He says "...I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual. 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.... China’s economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide it with the opportunity and obligation to press for change. The situation has never been more precarious..."
So, I just hope that more people, sponsors, athletes will have the courage to boycott the games too. I know it is complicated but working with China is essentially supporting their relationship with Darfur.A great website on all this stuff is www.miafarrow.org