Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Spielberg Resigns From Olympics Citing Darfur Controversy

The Darfur crisis in Sudan has been going on way too long without the international powers doing more to stop the genocide. I just hope Steven Spielberg's timely decision will have an effect on the Chinese government to intervene.

Wall Street Journal
By BRUCE ORWALL--February 12, 2008

After months of criticism, legendary Hollywood director Steven Spielberg has withdrawn from his role as an artistic adviser to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, citing China's connection to the government in Sudan and the controversy over Darfur.

Mr. Spielberg had agreed to help design the Olympic ceremonies, but came under attack when actress Mia Farrow publicly accused him of helping to "sanitize Beijing's image" via the Olympics. China has faced criticism over its support of the Sudanese government, which many believe is engaged in a genocidal campaign in that country's Darfur region.

"I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual," Mr. Spielberg said in a statement released this afternoon. "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."

Mr. Spielberg said that while the Sudanese government bears the bulk of the responsibility, China's ties to the government "provide it with the opportunity and obligation to press for change."

Mr. Spielberg said that he had "left unsigned" his contract for the job, which he received nearly a year ago.

Last year, after Ms. Farrow made her criticisms in the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Spielberg sent a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao saying that he had "only recently come to understand fully the extent of China's involvement in the region and its strategic and supportive relationship with the Sudanese government."

He urged China to change its policy toward Sudan.


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