Tuesday, July 31, 2007



Here in Rhode Island, July 26, 2007, Governor Carcieri put his symbolic signature on the work of many others who did the hard work of getting the RI Sudan Divestment Bill a done deal.

Scott Warren, college student, proves one person does make the difference.
One voice made this all possible here in Rhode Island. And he's from Massachusetts.

The governor actually signed this bill a month ago, but the press conference signing of the bill was last Thursday. This bill removes RI pension money from any accounts that in effect fund the genocide in Darfur. Rhode Island was the nineteenth state to be a on the list of states to take such an action. Personally, I removed my money from the investment company Fidelity months ago because Fidelity refuses to stop investing their investors’ money from two Chinese companies, Sinopec and PetroChina, in Sudan, who provide money for Sudanese Omar al-Bashir’s military who in turn pours this money into perpetrating genocide in Darfur.

RI Rep Joseph Almeida, RI General Treasurer Frank T. Caprio, RI Sen Rhoda Perry, StandNow Executive Director Scott Warren (Brown University student) and Maria Lopes. Seated RI Governor Donald Carcieri. Those standing in the picture all did their part in helping get this bill passed.

Rhode Island General Treasurer Frank T. Caprio

RI Representative Joseph Almeida, Democrat, from Providence sponsored this bill and in the RI Senate Rhoda Perry sponsored the sister bill.

Colin O'Brien, Scott Warren, Sandra Hammel, Frank Caprio and Joseph Almeida


Below I have included three stories that came in my email today as links.

The first is current news about China in this video:

Darfur Activists Outside Chinese Mission - July 27, 2007



Dream for Darfur’s Olympic Torch Relay Kicks Off

Dream for Darfur will launch its symbolic international Olympic Torch Relay in early August in Darfur. The Darfur torch event will be followed by an event in Rwanda. Mia Farrow, NBA player Ira Newble, and Ruth Messinger of American Jewish World Service are accompanying Dream for Darfur’s Jill Savitt to the area surrounding Darfur and to Kigali for the torch lighting ceremonies.

We are using our symbolic torch relay to urge the international community to stop the violence in Darfur, with a special appeal to China as Olympic host. After Africa, the Torch will travel to Armenia, Bosnia, Germany, and Cambodia - all countries that have experienced genocide. Our message: “China Please: Bring the Olympic Dream to Darfur.” www.dreamfordarfur.org


From www.savedarfur.org:

Dear Communities United Leaders,

You may know by now that the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1769 to authorize a joint U.N.-A.U. peacekeeping force in Darfur. We wanted to send you the Save Darfur Coalition press release responding to the vote...

Thank you for your continued support,

Coby Rudolph

Save Darfur Coalition

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Save Darfur urges ‘determined political will' to enforce Resolution 1769,pushes ‘progressive' force deployment
‘World leaders have associated their prestige with this latest resolution and they will be to blame if it fails'

WASHINGTON - The Save Darfur Coalition today released a statement following passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 authorizing the hybrid AU-UN peacekeeping mission to Darfur, or UNAMID. Spokesman for the coalition, Allyn Brooks-LaSure, implored world leaders to muster the "determined political will" to implement the resolution and to surpass the measure's glacial timeline by deploying peacekeepers to Darfur as they are recruited.

"Today's resolution brings us one step closer to providing real protection for Darfuri civilians, protection that they've been denied for far too long. It is not time, however, to pop open the champagne bottles. The true test of this measure is not what happens today in New York, but what happens over the coming weeks in Darfur.

"Even after efforts by Sudan and its allies, notably China and South Africa, to water down the resolution, it includes key measures long advocated by Save Darfur, most importantly reliance on Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, a mandate to protect civilians, and unified U.N. command and control. All of these measures, however, will require U.N. vigilance in implementation. These and other elements make the resolution an adequate basis for effective peacekeeping and protection for Darfur's people - if the U.N. member states match it with strong political will, and if they work hard to recruit and deploy the thousands of troops and police it authorizes.

"America's most urgent priority should be to ensure this resolution does not meet the fate of last year's Security Council Resolution 1706 - consigned to the dustbin of history by President al-Bashir's obstruction in concert with international passivity. There can be no doubt that Khartoum will attempt to obstruct implementation of this resolution as well. World leaders, and especially members of the Security Council, have now associated their prestige with this latest resolution, and they will be to blame if it fails. This time they must stop Sudanese stonewalling and obstruction and make this peacekeeping force succeed.

"And world leaders must surpass the modest deployment timelines set out in this resolution by progressively deploying peacekeepers to Darfur as quickly as they are recruited. According to certain U.N. officials, recruiting the entirety of this force will take a year - time the people of Darfur can not spare. If the U.N. waits for one ‘big bang' deployment, sending nobody until everybody is ready, untold thousands more will die.

"The promise of effective civilian protection and peacekeeping in today's resolution will be realized only if the international community shows determined political will to make it work. The world has failed Darfur on past occasions, condemning millions to a horrific fate. World leaders must do better this time."


Spielberg Mulls Quitting Olympics To Pressure Chinese On Darfur

Activists Look to Famed Director

From ABC News

- Steven Spielberg, under pressure from Darfur activists, may quit his post as artistic adviser to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, unless China takes a harder line against Sudan, a representative of the film director tells ABC News.

China, Sudan's largest oil customer and perennial defender, has come under renewed scrutiny in the lead up to the Olympics, as the country juggles its need for cheap energy with its desire to host a trouble-free games.

As celebrities-cum-activists increasingly link the ongoing genocide with China's patronage, some - most notably and vocally, the actress Mia Farrow  have accused Spielberg of complicity, by not using his prominence and position to pressure the Chinese government to change course.

"Is Mr. Spielberg, who in 1994 founded the Shoah Foundation to record the testimony of survivors of the holocaust, aware that China is bankrolling Darfur's genocide?" Farrow and her son Ronan wrote in a March Wall Street Journal editorial.

In that same piece, "The Genocide Olympics," Farrow compared Spielberg to the Nazi director Leni Riefenstahl whose film "Olympia" was a paean to the 1936 Berlin Games.

"Does Mr. Spielberg really want to go down in history as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Beijing Games," Farrow wrote.

Days after Farrow's editorial, Spielberg wrote an open letter to Hu Jintao, president of China. "I am writing this letter to you, not as one of the overseas artistic advisors to the Olympic Ceremonies, but as a private citizen who has made a personal commitment to do all I can to oppose genocide. & Accordingly, I add my voice to those who ask that China change its policy toward Sudan and pressure the Sudanese government to accept the entrance of United Nations peacekeepers to protect the victims of genocide in Darfur," Spielberg wrote.

Excluding that letter, Spielberg and his representatives have, until now, been tight-lipped on what additional action the director might take.

"Steven will make a determination in the next few weeks regarding his work with the Chinese. Our main interest is ending the genocide. No one is clear on the best way to do this," Spielberg's spokesman Andy Spahn told ABCNEWS.com.

Spahn said "all options were on the table," including quitting, but much would depend on an anticipated statement on Sudan by the Chinese government expected in the coming days.

"We expect to hear something from the Chinese government sometime soon, very soon. We're pretty far down the road in discussions and then we'll decide if the path is productive or not and then consider other options," Spahn said.

"Steven is one [of] many advisers to the Beijing Games and he is trying to use the games to engage the Chinese on this issue. & We are in the midst of that right now. We're engaged in a little bit of a back-and-forth private dialogue," Spahn said.

Spahn said Spielberg has contributed $1 million to aid groups working in Darfur and was helping to plan the games' opening ceremonies and was not being paid.

Farrow is in France filming a movie and was unavailable for comment.

Recently, however, she told National Public Radio: "From looking so intensely at this it was apparent that there was one thing that China holds more dear than its unfettered access to Sudanese oil and that is its successful staging on the 2008 Olympic Games."

"My intention was never to hurt Steven Spielberg," Farrow told NPR, about her comparing the director of "Schindler's List" with Nazi filmmaker Riefenstahl. "My intention was to move things. Something had to move. He couldn't do that without knowing."

Experts agree that China has put incredible stock in the success of the Olympics and wants nothing to tarnish the games' success.

"It is something of a coming-out party for China as a world power," Nayan Chaya, director of publications at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, told ABCNEWS.com.

"The Olympics is very important to China. They are spending $30 [billion] to $40 billion on the games. It is a major event, necessary for China to claim its role as a world power. Economic reform has been going on since 1985, but the country has been stained by the Tiananmen massacre since '89," Chaya said. "Since then it was banned from certain contact and activities and it hasn't recovered fully its position in the world. China wants to finally put Tiananmen behind it."

Any Chinese policy, Chaya said, will be dictated by three factors: dependence on cheap energy, desire for a trouble-free games and the need to maintain face in the developing world without looking like it is bowing to Western pressure.

"It is a tough choice for the Chinese. On one hand they want it [the Olympics] to be trouble free and they see trouble on the horizon. On the other hand they see the importance of energy security. Thirdly, they're worried about the impact of abandoning Sudan, affecting China's position in developing world."

Several celebrities-turned-activists have pointed their fingers directly at China. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Jerry Weintraub are in the process of creating the foundation Not on Our Watch and have donated $5.5 million raised at premieres of their film "Ocean's 13" to several development agencies working in Darfur.

Though little came from the meeting, Clooney, Cheadle and two U.S. Olympians met with Chinese authorities in December to discuss a shift in Chinese policy on Darfur.

Experts say the actions of individual activists, regardless of their celebrity power, will do little to sway the Chinese.

"Celebrities get attention and those who get attention will be listened to, but individual celebrities can do very little," said William Kirby, a China expert and professor of history at Harvard University.

Pointing to the 1980 Moscow Games and the 1984 Los Angeles Games, Kirby said the Olympics often become a flash point for controversy, but host nations rarely change their foreign policies as a result.

Even if China releases a statement as Spielberg predicts, and even if it does not announce a significant shift in policy, Kirby remains optimistic that the country's policy toward Sudan could change.

"Often the Chinese say one thing and do another. They are more likely to be judgeable by their acts rather than their pronouncements. If you look at their handling of North Korea, despite the rhetoric, their actions spoke louder than their words."

Providence, Rhode Island State House
Dream for Darfur event
Followed by Walk the Waterfire for Darfur




Darfur News:


Other great websites:




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