How the "Save Darfur" Movement Aids the US Drive for Hegemony
Over the past six months in the United States, there have been calls
for International Olympic Committee member-nations to boycott the 2008
Beijing Olympics. Beijing will host the twentieth-ninth Olympic Games
August 8-24, 2008. The stated objective for the proposed boycott is
to coerce China to pressure the Sudanese Government of National
Unity-dominated by the Islamic-oriented National Congress Party to
cooperate with the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping forces in
the Darfur region of Sudan.
Advocates of the proposed boycott have been calling the Beijing Games
the "Genocide Olympics".
Since February 2003, there has been violence in the Western Darfur
region of Sudan. That violence has caused a humanitarian catastrophe.
Despite a dispute over the actual count, certainly tens of thousands
of people have died; hundreds-of-thousands have been forced into
refugee camps; and over a million Sudanese have fled into neighboring
Chad. The boycott advocates claim that the Sudanese Government is
responsible for "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" in Darfur, and that
the Sudanese Government refuses to stop the violence. Despite the
signing of a Darfur peace agreement between the Sudanese Government
and rebel forces in May, 2006, and the deployment of 7000 African
Union peacekeepers, violence has continued between Government forces,
the pro-Government paramilitaries, and rebel groups there.
Why is the Beijing Olympic Games being linked to the Darfur Crisis?
Is the allegation valid, that the crisis is "genocide"? What are the
roots of the Darfur Crisis? Who is advocating the boycott campaign?
Will the Darfur Crisis be resolved? How should the call for an
Olympic boycott be understood in the context of United States foreign
There is no question the Sudanese Government has been responsible for
much of the death and horror in Dafur [This is western propaganda par
excellence that has been used over and again wherever they want to
divide and conquer] . However, defining the violence in Darfur as
"genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" confuses what is happening in
Darfur; obfuscates the objectives of the United States toward Sudan;
and distracts from what needs to be done to resolve the Darfur Crisis.
As Ugandan scholar Mahmood Mamdani explains: "Morally, there is no
doubt about the horrific nature of the violence against civilians in
Darfur. The ambiguity lies in the politics of violence".
The Darfur conflict is actually part of a complex series of regional
civil wars abetted by "Big Power" intervention while innocent people
are caught in the middle. The outline of that situation starts with
the fact that for over two decades the Sudanese Government and the
Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) were involved in a civil war
in southern Sudan. The United States provided arms, training,
materiel, and intelligence to the rebel SPLA during that conflict.
That support was transferred through Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Uganda...
The "Save Darfur" movement has utilized the corporate-media, the
internet, Congressional lobbying, and political demonstrations to make
its case for United States-led military intervention. This form of
intervention is referred to as "humanitarian intervention". The
concept was used to rationalize the United States/NATO intervention in
Kosovo in 1998, allegedly aimed to prevent Serbia form committing
"genocide" of the Kosovarians. The implication of this concept is that
the United States can militarily intervene for "human rights" purposes...
the United States will continue to militarize the African continent in
its effort to gain complete control over the continent's natural
resources. For example, in December 2006, the United States announced
the formation of an African Central Command (AFRICOM), which will be
fully operational by September 2008. The mission of United States
"regional commands" are to "shape the environment, respond to the full
spectrum of crises, and prepare for the future." This reality will
only heighten competition with China over access to energy resources
and markets throughout Africa. Even though a boycott of the 2008
Beijing Olympic Games is highly improbable a confrontation between the
United States and China over global resources is likely in the future.
The Beijing Olympic boycott proposal may represent the opening volley
in that inevitable confrontation.
George Wright is the author of The Destruction of a Nation: United
States Foreign Policy Towards Angola since 1945 (Pluto Press, 1997)
and Stan Wright-Track Coach: Forty Years in the "Good Old Boy Network"
(Pacifica Sports Research Institute, 2005). He in Professor Emeritus
from the Political Science Department, California State University,
Chico. His research interests include: International Political
Economy, African International Relations, and the Politics of
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