2008 is going to be one hell of a year. In February we will have a good idea as to who will be the Democratic nominee and Republican nominee for president. At the end of the year we will know who our next president will be. And in the summer of 2008, we will watch the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. We will sit down in front of our television sets and enjoy the international competition. Some of us may even go to China to attend the games. And as Michael Phelps tries to beat the Olympic record in swimming events, a village will be burned down in Sudan. A woman will be gang raped by the Janjaweed as she collects firewood for her family. Her husband would have gone out to get it, but he would have been killed. As China builds up for its Olympic games, it will need oil to fuel the construction of its facilities, to make the goods it will sell to people that visit the country, and to make the nearly 300 billion dollars worth of products that China sells to the United States every year. The Janjaweed will need machetes in order to continue their rampage across the Darfur region. They will also need money. How will they obtain that money? Very simply – they have oil, oil other countries need. In particular, oil China needs to fuel its growth.
Sudan is China’s largest supplier of oil. As China’s economy grows, so does its need for oil. As a result, the country must import from remote areas of the world to get that oil, and do things that would be considered unethical, like supply a fighting force in Sudan with the necessary weapons to protect the oil fields, and slaughter at least 400,000 people and displace 2 million others. Yes, China is directly funding the Sudanese Janjaweed and the genocide that takes place in the Darfur region.
Of course, the Chinese have done much more than just fund this genocide. They have taken every effort to sway the United Nations into not declaring the crisis in Darfur a genocide. They have prevented efforts to send a United Nations force, and they have assured Sudan that such a force will not enter their country. As one of the five members of the U.N. Security Council, China has the ability to veto any bill that could make a difference in Sudan. As for the United States, our influence in Sudan has been limited because of China. We have not been able to facilitate a peace agreement.
So what can we do to get China to do something about the genocide? Our best option is to threaten to not attend the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. China wanted to host the Olympics because they are becoming a growing influence in the world. They want to impress the Western world, and show them what they can do; just look at the design for the Olympic pool building, which looks like it’s surrounded by bubble wrap and is very beautiful. If the West threatened to boycott the Genocide Olympics, we could convince China to stop funding the Sudanese genocide, and even facilitate peace in the Sudanese region.
We as Americans can make a difference in this world without waging a war. We have ability to end the first genocide of the 21st century. All it would involve is a simple message from our president. “China, if you do not put pressure on Sudan to end the genocide, then the United States and our allies will not be attending your Olympic games.” The worst thing that could happen is Michael Phelps will not be able to do the breaststroke in China. The best possible situation is the end of a genocide, and a happy China that still gets to hold the Olympic games.
Because of the Internet, we all have the ability to spread the buzz around the country about boycotting the Olympic Games and ending a genocide. Write about this online; write your senators and representatives. Every time you see Lois Capps on campus, tell her that we want to see an end to the suffering in Sudan.