If you missed the demonstration this morning outside of NBC studios in drizzly NYC, here’s what went down:
A diverse group of about a hundred people, organized by the American Jewish World Service, protested outside of the filming of the Today Show, demanding more coverage of the events and issue surrounding the genocide in Darfur.
Why protest now, when the genocide has been raging on for years, when the ICC has finally decided to prosecute Sudan’s head of state al-Bashir? Why protest NBC coverage of the Beijing Olympics?
Follow the money. China buys oil from Sudan. China protects Sudan in the UN Security Council. Coincidence? In another vein, NBC is providing the only official coverage of the Olympics in the U.S. (NBC spent $900 million for the exclusive broadcasting rights. $900 million. I know the dollar’s gone down, but still…)
2) Because China is about to host the 2008 Olympics.
What do the Olympics have to do with anything? Not much, except that awarding the hosting to Beijing honors a country that has been committing and enabling human rights atrocities around the globe. Broadcasting from China should include coverage of China’s involvement in human rights crimes.
As Ruth Messinger of AJWS says, this is China’s “coming-out party.” Welcome to the world, China. Stop being a**holes.
3) Because we need coverage of real news.
What else does the Olympics have to do with it? We read and hear about people like JLo, Brit, Bam’s hot bod (seriously, he’s running for President. He has a real name.) all the time. What about real news? What about the destruction and violence that occurs regularly in places like Chad and all of Sudan? In refugee canps, where people are supposed to be safe? What about what’s documented regularly on the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum “World is Witness” blog? A blog is all we can offer the victims of the janjaweed? NBC is providing official coverage to the Olympics. In the past four and a half years, NBC has dedicated less than seven hours to the situation in Darfur. How many hours will be NBC spend covering sports competitions? They should cover China’s and Sudan’s atrocities as well.
As the protesters chanted this morning, “NBC, we want more; tell the world about Darfur! Don’t let China off the hook; give Darfur another look!”