Sunday, April 13, 2008

In Solidarity : Global Day for Darfur AND Why Black Athletes Matter

Recently, a very good friend of mine who is a regular lurker on blogs, asked me about the black blogosphere's involvement in boycotting the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The reason for such action is due to China's involvement in Sudan and its support of the governement responsible for human rights abuses that makes China's treatment of Tibet look like some unfriendly discourtesy.

Add to that China's veracity is raping Sudan of its Oil and other Natural Resources and yet again, we have another nation further marginalizing defenseless innocents all in the name of making a buck. The above video talks about Sudan's Oil Boom and China's willigness to suck it completely dry.

I was glad to see that Danielle Vyas at Modern Musings had spearheaded an effort to call attention to the crisis in Darfur. I was also under the impression that there was ging to be one, singular, consistent message that would be a part of a larger campaign. Next time, I will pay closer attention to something that is so important. Most of the images you'll see in this post will be coming form various internet sources. They are not mine, but belong to whomever created them. Thank you Danielle for putting together such a collection. If I am remiss in giving credit to others for their work, please contact me and I will correct error immediately.

When I had originally decided to blog on Darfur, I was going to launch an all-out campaign to call on athletes participating in the games, black athletes in particular, to boycott the games and stay home. I was even ready to start my own viral email campaign to persuade spectators to turn away from the Olympics and to stop watching the TV networks that will broadcast the games altogether, for the duration of the summer games. I am now reconsidering this course of action out of usefulness.

I had discussed this strategy with my aunt and she asked me, "Why? Why should the athletes, many of whom have been training all their lives for this single moment, be forced to be ambassadors of global politics? Why can't they simply be athletes and engage in competetion without being politicized?" At that time I didn't have an answer for her, but I cited the boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics by the US and others to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the abuses the USSR inflicted upon the Afghani people. Whether the athletes wanted to or not, they became ambassabors and they were politicized because their sponsoring country opted out of participating in the games.

When Harry Edwards asked Tommie Smith and John Carlos to boycott the 1968 Olympics, they had a better idea; compete, win, and use the stage as a platform to call attention to the Black Power Movement in the United States. I'm sure it had more to do with the era in which Mr. Smith and Dr. Carlos lived, but I am left to wonder, did they CHOOSE to be political? How effective would the Black Power movement have been if that symbolic 1968 salute had never been done? Because of their own personal commitments to social justice, these two athletes (as well as others like them) helped to change the course of history.

When I was an undergraduate student, I took an elective in Black Studies to satisfy a history/social sciences requirement. My professor eloquently stated, "Black people can't do anything without it being political." I'm paraphrasing, but hopefully the gist of what I'm trying to explain has been made clear. My expectations for Black athletes is that they will accept their onus of being political in direct opposition to the presumed idea that athletes are to be seen, celebrated for their prowess, and not heard. However they choose to act, as long as it's in a manner that is consistent with motivating people to actions that will positively affect the lives of the persecuted in Darfur and the surrounding villages, should be fully supported.


One would think that with all the talk in the United States about terrorism and National Security that the US would be doing everything in it's power to curtail China's attempts at becoming a Super Power. However, I think much of the United States' indifference is instrinsically linked to China's ability to extract most of Sudan's Oil... and you know how important Oil is!

From a National Security perspective, China enjoys diplomatic relationships with other communist nations such as Russia, Cuba, and North Korea to name a few. Chinese spies have been doing all they can to obtain US Military and Nuclear Intelligence. How long does the US think it will be before China has the ability undermine the United States' global influence?


We have an awesome task ahead of us, but I think that we are ready to accept the challenge of ending the Human Rights Atrocities in Darfur.

We can start by supporting some of the initiatives being spearheaded by Dream for Darfur.

If you are a Facebook junkie you may also join the Super Group Be A Voice for Darfur.

SheCodes at Black Women Vote has also listed some tangible ways that we can work for positive change in Darfur.


Danielle said...

Thank you for adding your might voice to the roar.

Genocide no more!

I offered up some suggestions, materials and links for participants to grab. {In the future, when you copy you can choose copy html code to get the code}

A lot of people used the information in their posts but it was left up to participants.

You have harnessed your power potential by furthering education on the genocidal depopulation scheme in Darfur. The precedence must be set in stone, senseless murder is not tolerable at any scale.

There are many actions that need to be taken. Signatures are needed so that they can be recorded.

There are several petitions sponsored by Dream for Darfur that can be found at this post.

In light and love

Miriam said...

**slightly off topic**

Isn't there an African Olympics for African countries only? Whatever happen to that.