Journal of the People’s Pastor

“Writing The History I’ve Lived, Living The History I Write!”

DARFUR DIARY

BOYCOTT THE OLYMPICS! IF SPIELBERG, WHY NOT EVERYBODY!


On Tuesday, February 12, 2008, Steven Spielberg released a statement cutting his ties with the Beijing Olympic Games, saying, “His conscience wouldn't allow him to continue with business as usual. At this point,” he contintinued, “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." He called for the international community, China in particular, to do more to avert the violence in the northeast African country.

My question, If Mr. Spielberg refuses to participate in the Beijing Olympic Games because of China’s support for the Sudan government, why not everybody? I was asked if there were any black celebrities who had joined the Boycott Olympic Campaign (B.O.C.). “I am not sure,” I responded. “Surely there ought to be. People of African Ancestry ought to be leading the campaign. There should be no uncertainty or obscurity on this issue. The crises in Darfur and now Chad, Central Africa, demands forceful action and words from all people of decency, especially people of African Ancestry.”

This crises, which started in 2003, has claimed 200,000 to 400,000 lives, 2 1/2 million people have been displaced. The people of Darfur have told horrible stories of violence, killing (even babies) rape, kidnappings, destruction of villages and theft of land and property. The crises has been called genocide by some people, others have called it ethnic cleansing. The United Nations, last year, called it, “the worst humanitarian crises in the world today.”

I have made three trips to the region. Our organization, the National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry Concerned About Darfur (NRLAA), has shipped 700 boxes of material support, which I personally delivered to the refugee camp in Gaga, Chad. I have seen firsthand the suffering. I have conversed with Darfurian people who related to me the horrible stories of murder, violence, rape, kidnap and destruction of their homes and villages.

The Sudan government, headed by President Omar El Bashir, is accused of supporting the militia, called janjuweeds; (janjuweeds means evil on horseback.) who are responsible for wreaking havoc on the Darfurian people. In the last several weeks, the crises have intensified with the invasion into Chad by rebels believed to be supported by the Sudan government. The Chadian government, led by President Idriss Debby, has been the main supporter of the Darfurian people. Fleeing refugees and humanitarian agencies have been welcomed in Chad, although, it added to an already overburden, underdeveloped country.

Moreover, when the rebels invaded Chad, thousand of people fled into Cameron, adjacent to Chad, bringing hardship to another underdeveloped country, further destabilizing the region.

We are focusing on China because it is the main supporter of the El Bashir’s government. China’s support for the Sudan government includes: military, intelligence, finance, etc. China is the largest exploiter of the oil in Sudan. However, unless one should think that President Bashir’s government is filthy rich from the oil reserve, consider these figures: President Bashir has divided the oil reserve in Sudan into blocks. Blocks 1, 2, & 4 are controlled by the largest overseas consortium known as the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC). GNPOC is composed of the following participants: CNPC and the Peoples Republic of China have a 40% stake; Malaysia has 30%; ONGC India has 25% and 5% goes to Sudapet of the Sudan government. The other producing blocks in the South are Blocks 3 & 7. These blocks are controlled by Petrodar which is 42% owned by CNPC of China. 40% by Petronas from Malaysia. 8% is controlled by the Sudapet of the Sudan government. 5% by Gulf Petroleum and 5% by AlL Thani.


China has the power to pressure the Sudanese government into ending the crises in Darfur and to cease support for the rebels in Chad. Our plan is to have continuing demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience until China give clear and unmistakable evidence that they are exercising their influence on the Sudan government to end the crises in Darfur.


Our organization, NRLAA, is urging people to join us Tuesday, February 19, 2008, as we call for an international boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games to be held in China August 8th thru 24th, 2008. We will assemble at 11:30am in front of the Sudanese Mission located at 47th Street (between 1st & 2nd Avenues). From there, we will march to the Isaiah Wall, located across the street from the United Nation on 42nd Street for prayer at 11:45; afterwhich, we will march to the Chinese Embassy located at 350 E. 35th Street (Between 1st & 2nd Avenues), where we will commence a demonstration from 12 noon to 12:45pm.


We must act now to end the barbarism and suffering. We call upon the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union to intensify their efforts to stop the destruction of lives and property and to increase humanitarian aide to the people of Darfur.


Front Page Caption:
Rev. Daughtry calls for Civil Disobedience at the Chinese Embassy