Friday, 22 February 2008


By Gershom Ndhlovu

Darfur is clearly the modern day shame of Africa which the continent’s leaders are eerily silent about. It is like incest in the family which members don’t want to talk about.
It is only people like American film director Steven Spielberg, Nobel Peace prize winners and a few others without any diplomatic muscle who are talking about it and are leading a campaign to urge countries to boycott the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics to force China to stop supporting the Sudanese government from which it buys oil and it sells arms to.
Spielberg has probably forgone a fortune he was to make as advisor on the opening ceremony of the Beijing games by pulling out.
Music producer Quincy Jones, hired to pen the Olympics theme tune has also signalled that he would pull out of the project.
What is the connection, one may ask. Indeed, the Chinese arms sold to the Sudanese government find their way to the government-supported Janjaweed Militia which has been committing acts of ethnic, if not racial, cleansing in Darfur, killing non-Arab, non-Muslim and mainly Christian black Sudanese Africans.
Rape is a common feature employed by the Janjaweed who say they are “planting tomato” when they force themselves on helpless and weak black women. The “tomato” is obviously the mixed race children who are or will be born after the rape acts.
Africa, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Limpopo River, stood up against the then racist South Africa because of the obviously white apartheid leaders when they segregated against, maimed and killed black Africans.
Today, the same Africa is quiet because “our Arab brothers” with whom “we” have shared the table for a long time can’t really be wrong. China which is increasingly the continent’s important trading partner can’t go wrong too by selling weapons to Sudan just like it does to other African countries.
None of our leaders have the courage to ruffle the feathers of both Sudan for fear of going against diplomatic etiquette of not interfering in internal matters of another country, and China from which they are earning precious foreign exchange which enables them to live in luxury while the rest of the people still wallow in poverty.
Members of the British Olympics team noticed something fishy in their agreements to perform in Beijing with a clause that they should not use the platform to express political opinions. They rejected the agreements and demanded fresh ones because they realised that by being muzzled, they would unwittingly be aiding the Sudanese government in wiping out the black people of Darfur.
For African leaders it is business as usual in spite of the fact that China does not respect human rights in its own backyard, nor does it where its entrepreneurs operate. A grim example is the Zambian case where the Chinese exploit Zambian workers, and even kill some by ignoring fundamental health and safety rules as was the case in Chambishi a few years ago.
It is not too late for African countries to use the threat of boycotting this year’s Olympic Games in Beijing by flexing their collective muscle against China if that country is to do the right thing in Sudan in general and Darfur in particular.
It is nonsensical for China which trades with other African countries and has with them military assistance programmes which are in turn sending peace-keepers to Darfur. It is like China fighting with itself, that is, the Janjaweed armed with Chinese arms and peace-keepers also armed with Chinese arms.
Have African countries wondered why China has blocked attempts by the United Nations to impose sanctions on Sudan by using its power of veto? Sadly, even American president George Walker Bush thinks that the games are just a sporting even which should go ahead.
The question then is what hope, Darfur? The UK Sun’s Whitehall Editor thinks, and rightly so, that it is hard to keep politics out of sport when a blockbuster event is staged by a dictatorship such as China.
China should really not have an easy ride when it has such excess baggage. It should realise what heavy burden it carries as a growing force on the international economic scene. In fact, China is now considered as the Third Force after USA and the European Union, a position that demands that it acts responsibly in international matters such as Darfur.


Not that I care where a American presidents such as George Bush go to in Africa, but it appears as if Zambia does not register on their itinerary. Bush will have been to Africa twice over at the end of his latest tour.
Bill Clinton did visit Africa and even toured the Chobe National Park which practically borders Zambia on the Botswana side.
Zambia is one of the most politically stable countries in Africa and furiously pursues neo-liberal economic policies which should really make it a darling of the US. But, nay, American presidents avoid the country like a bug.
There is obviously something wrong that the Americans have seen in Zambia that makes their presidents avoid visiting it. It is not really necessary that a Bush or a Clinton or, indeed, an Obama if elected, should visit Zambia but such a gesture would not only boost the country’s economy in the short-term by various layers of the entourage shelling out the green buck on the country’s amenities such as hotels, it would also bring about long-term investment from businessmen who would look at the country with fresh spectacles.
One thing for sure is that westerners know very little about Africa in general and Zambia in particular such that when a Zambian official manages an audience with international businessman Sir Richard Branson, they are just scratching the surface.
There are a whole lot of entrepreneurs who would not take up to six months to decide whether to do business with Zambia or not. They would do it in less time than it would take Branson to make a decision.
There is no way of pretending that the visiting of American presidents of Africa has no effect on Zambia by their avoiding it. Any economist will attest to the missed business opportunities. Zambia needs to clean up its act, whatever it is, to attract an American president visiting Africa.


Unknown said...

What Steven Spielberg did was a righteous action and one that he can of course afford to do. Put on the spot by Mia Farrow 6 months ago who called him no better than Hitler or words to that effect he then tried to engage the Chinese communist regime into becoming a responsible international player. The Ccp has shown and will continue to show its true colours to the world and this will definably sort out the righteous from the evil in this dharma ending period in the world today.

It’s the Ccp who has politicised these Olympic games by jailing, persecuting and removing the basic human rights of the Chinese especially the Human rights activists and human rights defenders and the people of faith while spewing forth massive amounts’ of propoganda to brainwash all Chinese citizens.

BTW the Chinese communist regime boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980 citing political issues. This info needs to be spread widely

My statement to the media and everyone VIP I talk to goes like this “ Why would the international community expect the Chinese communist regime to stop Genocide in Darfur or anywhere else in the world when they are committing their very own Genocide on the peaceful practitioners of Falun Gong in China.

Spielberg would do better in exposing the atrocities committed inside China.

Read the report about the Chinese communist regime committing live forced organ harvesting to the Falun Gong and selling their organs for large money to the rich foreigners.

Crimes Against Humanity and the Olympics cannot co-exist in China.

Our Governments know about it
Our media know about it
Human Rights organisations know about it
Now you know about it

PLease do something now!!

Zedian said...

While I fully condemn the actions of the Sudanese on Dafur, I really think people should not get carried away and try to punish Beijing for its inactions on the same, because it is Sudan that is perpetrating the said atrocities, and no one else!

Folks, Sudan participated in the just ended Africa Cup of Nations tournament, where no one voiced a single objection, and indeed Zambia, Cameroon, and Egypt were quite happy to engage with them in wonderful matches broadcast live across the whole world for every soccer fan to enjoy!

Why are people taking the moral high ground when it comes to Beijing?? I am not convinced Mr Spielberg's actions are without political motivations, to say the least.

Unknown said...

China aids the sudanese regime by supplying arms to be rid of the Darfurians so they could keep on developing the oil trade for themselves.

There is waymore going than most people realise or what our major media know or is alowed to tell us about.

Zedian said...


Well, it's quite clear that you have a lot of issues with China. But this issue is specific to Darfur, and failure to recognise that Sudan is directly responsible for Darfur, leaves one to conclude that the poor Darfur people are being used by some to pursue their own wider agenda of "China bashing".

And that's a shame...

Unknown said...

RE Zedian,
I am sorry you have taken the easy way out on this matter by accusing me of China bashing. Nothing could be further from the truth as I am extremely grateful to China for enabling me to learn and practice Falun Gong which of course we all know came from China.

The facts remain that communist leaders of China have engaged and provided the Sudanese regime with arms and weapons to crush the Darfurs thereby enabling them to keep on purchasing at ridiculously low prices the vast oil that China so urgently needs. If the Sudanese regime was not provided the weapons and money and did not have the backing of the communist regime then I doubt the scale of this massacare genocide would be happening right?

PLease read this article and I hope this changes you mind.

South Sudan

For perspective, let me give some details of one of the many largely forgotten incidents occurring in South Sudan: On February 26, 2002, the town of Nahibloiu in central Sudan was wiped out to make way for a Chinese oil well that now operates in nearby Leal. According to James Kynge's award winning book of 2006, China Shakes the World, sourcing Peter Goodman of the Washington Post, "Mortar shells landed at dawn, followed by helicopter gun ships directing fire at the huts where the people lived. Antonov aeroplanes dropped bombs and roughly 7000 (Sudanese) government troops with pro- government militias then swept through the area with rifles and more then twenty tanks, according to Goodman's report, which was based on numerous local sources. 'The Chinese want to drill for oil; that is why we are being pushed out', Goodman quoted a local, Rusthal Yackok, as saying. Yackok added that his wife and six children were killed in the operation. The chief of Leal, Tanguar Kuiyguong, told Goodman that around 3000 of the town's ten thousand inhabitants were killed and every home was burned to the ground."

The government of China is effectively now the master of Sudan's oil development. From the 500,000 barrels of oil produced daily, China imports roughly two thirds. This would amount to more than $7 billion in costs yearly if it were purchased on the open market, but, as Professor Eric Reeves notes, because Beijing controls the two major oil producers in southern Sudan, it pays only slightly more than half of market prices.

Kristof again: "The central problem is that in exchange for access to Sudanese oil, Beijing is financing, diplomatically protecting and supplying the arms for the first genocide of the 21st century. China is the largest arms supplier to Sudan, officially selling $83 million in weapons, aircraft and spare parts to Sudan in 2005, according to Amnesty International USA. That is the latest year for which figures are available. China provided Sudan with A-5 Fantan bomber aircraft, helicopter gunships, and K-8 military training/attack aircraft and light weapons used in Sudan's proxy invasion of Chad last year. China also uses the threat of its veto on the Security Council to block U.N. action against Sudan so that there is a growing risk of a catastrophic humiliation for the U.N. itself."

Asked about the weapons shipments, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu replied, "In conducting arms sales to African, we carefully consider the local area's situation and development model and stick to the spirit of protecting local peace and stability." By "protecting local peace and stability," she was no doubt, as Eric Reeves has noted, "referring to Darfur's millions of displaced persons and hundreds of thousands of war dead".

For the past five years, the party-state in China has run continuous interference for the racist Bashir regime at the U.N. Dependable support from a permanent member of the Security Council allowed Khartoum to defy a host of U.N. demands and continue with what one UN official earlier termed "Rwanda in slow motion".

taken from


Notes for a panel talk by Hon.David Kilgour, J.D.

Students Union Building, University of Alberta


29 January 2008

Zedian said...


I don't dispute the issues you've raised; that's not for me. Here're my points:

1) Sudan is directly responsible for what is happing in Darfur, as stated before, and therefore if anyone must be punished for it before anyone else, it's them. I'm not clear what your stance is on that as all you've said only points to punishing China.

2) You have made it clear that the Darfur problem is only a part of your wider issues with China, hence even if Darfur was solved, you will still have other issues with China. In fact, your primary issue against China and that of the Spielbergs of this world is NOT Darfur at all!

I pointed out that the world had a perfect opportunity to punish Sudan at the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament only a few weeks ago. Why didn't they? Where were you and Speilberg?

It's good to debate some of these things because sometimes there's more to issues than meets the eye, as in this case.

Many Africans like myself are tired of being used by the West who tend to speak or act out only when the situation suits them, again as in this case.

That said, there're a number of people (Westerners) like George Clooney who are genuinely concerned about the situation in Darfur. I wouldn't put Mr Spielberg among them unless I'm convinced otherwise...

Unknown said...

HI Zedian,

I do hear what you are saying.Please allow me to share not only my understanding. The west in the last few decades anyway had not traded with Sudan precisely because of its Humanrights atrocities.

So the Sudanese regime did not have a lot of money up until the communist regime went in there a few years ago and said yes we will buy your oil and we don’t give a xxxx what your human rights problems are.

Infact if you need any weapons to keep your stronghold on the Darfurs and others seeking peace and democracy then we will supply weapons to you and build a palace in the desert and anything else you need but we will only buy your crude at half the market price…

OH and we a have major seat in the UN so will veto any bill that will seek to undermine our interests in your oil.
There in lies the difference.