March 28, 2008

TRY ROOTING FOR THE VICTIMS INSTEAD OF THE OPRESSORS:

Changing the Rules of the Games (ILAN GREENBERG, 3/29/08, NY Times)

“I don’t know about the rest of you,” said Jill Savitt, Dream for Darfur’s executive director, as she scanned the posters, “but these cartoon creatures creep me out.” Scattered on the floor around her were boxes overflowing with Dream for Darfur’s own media salvo: white T-shirts emblazoned with “Genocide Olympics?”

Savitt, a peripatetic, hyperarticulate 40-year-old human rights activist, is the mind behind a long string of organizations conducting campaigns to pressure China to change its policies by threatening to tarnish this summer’s Olympic Games. Dream for Darfur orchestrates a coalition of the believing — N.G.O.’s committed to ending the continuing violence in Sudan, but also groups concerned with government abuses inside China; Olympic athlete associations; organizations concerned about Tibet or China’s influence in Burma; and a spindly archipelago of other China-related causes. “We are happy to walk into space that’s been created by the Darfur people, because they have created something fresh,” says Mary Beth Markey, vice president for advocacy at the International Campaign for Tibet in Washington. “It’s been opportunistic for us.” But while Savitt’s many allies have adopted her strategy, Dream for Darfur still has just one goal: to convince China’s government that the Games are imperiled unless it halts its support for Sudan’s regime.

“China,” Savitt told me proudly, “is looking at the entire world calling its cherished games the ‘Genocide Olympics.’ ” Nonetheless, shaping world opinion is a tall order, especially with a staff of four; and the Olympics is not as easy a target as it might appear. Who isn’t rooting, at some level, for a successful Olympics, a precious two weeks set aside for idealism and newly minted heroes?


Us.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 28, 2008 8:07 PM
Comments

Define successful. I'll consider it successful if the world watches as China's "security" collapses and Chinese leaders are exposed publicly for the cruel despots they are.

Posted by: erp at March 29, 2008 8:23 AM
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