Darfur

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?

1) Because China is Sudan’s largest trading partner and a major supplier of weapons to Sudan, who uses its weapons against its own people.

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!”

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  • From Samantha Powers’ 2002 commencement speech at Swarthmore College.

    During World War II, Arthur Koestler described those frustrated few who spoke up in the newspapers and public meetings against Nazi atrocities as “Screamers.” The Screamers succeeded in reaching listeners for a moment, Koestler wrote, only to watch them shake themselves “like puppies who have got their fur wet” and return to the blissful place of ignorance and uninvolvement. “You can convince them for an hour,” Koestler noted, but then “their mental half-defense begins to work and in a week the shrug of incredulity has returned.”

    The Screamers often appear overly credulous and politically obtuse. But how many of us who look back at the twentieth century do not believe that Lemkin [created the word “genocide” to name what happened in the Shoah] and Proxmire [gave a speech on the Senate floor every day for 19 years until the U.S. ratified the Genocide Convention] and Galbraith [who stood up against Saddam Hussein’s gassing Iraqi Kurds] were right? How many of us do not believe that the presidents, senators, bureaucrats, journalists, and ordinary citizens who did nothing, choosing to look away rather than to face hard choices and wrenching moral dilemmas, were wrong? And how can something so clear in retrospect become so muddled at the time by rationalizations, institutional constraints, and a lack of imagination? How can it be that those who fight on behalf of these principles are the ones deemed unreasonable?

    George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

  • Ohh….. Is That What Happened at Rock Center This Morning? I was watching Al Roker, as is my habit, this morning, when I saw that he had his posse of entertainment and newscasters had to move a few feet away from two women who were screaming something and waving placards. But their message was drowned out and incoherent.

    So, now I know… it was about Darfur.

    Thanks for the clarification, cuz all that screaming might have been understandable on west 49th Street, but on my clunky television, it was just noise.

  • Wouldn’t it actually help if the media were around to notice and not gallivanting around the world with BHO during his dog and pony show, like groupies trying to get a backstage pass only to be told:

    “He won’t be speaking with you sorry. No, he won’t be speaking to foreign journalists either. Don’t you guys get it yet? This is a photo-op to make up for the lack of actual foreign policy experience he has by collecting photos with world leaders. Your stupid viewers are too dumb to figure it out anyway! Oops, did Katie Corrick actaully ask a few tough questions that made our guy squirm and contradict himself several times? That won’t happen again. There are no Americans in Baghdad. All your tanks are belong to us! Oops.”

    Hey, like Parliament says…

    “The doorman says… No head, No backstage pass.”

  • Hey Joshua, I’m the guy you called a Racist for using Barack’s full name. Nice!

    Perhaps it’s off-topic, but I see you didn’t address the media love triangle I mentioned. Care to comment on my new post about Barack’s Germany visit/snubbing in the NYT thread?

  • The question I always wonder when people complain about Darfur is what would you have done there?

    Things aren’t going to change there until some military force makes things change there.

    Do you want the US to invade? A joint European force to invade? Countries only spend blood and treasure when they see it in their geo-political interests to do so, and I can’t think of a country who would see it in their GEO political interests to do so.

    So, if you do see a country willing to invade Darfur please let that be known now.

  • Do you mean the H in Barak’s middle initial doesn’t stand for Hitler?

    I don’t know but I saw him on television today in Germany and people were looking at him the same way they looked at Hitler.

    History repeats itself doesn’t it!

  • Well, I for one want to know who’s “moment” it is… the American people’s? Berlin’s? Earth’s? After all, he called himself a “citizen of the world” (ick), but whom and what is he really fighting for here? Utopia? I mean, even Jesus couldn’t heal all of the lepers.

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