It was so disappointing when, back in April 2006, Steven Spielberg joined the art advisory team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I remember being struck by the double standards inherent in his action: A man whose films include Schindler's List and Munich, and who had created the Shoah Foundation, was willingly entering the employ of an authoritarian regime known for its oppression of religious and spiritual groups, political activists, and of course, Tibetans. Religious rights and freedom of expression are just two issues on the long list of Chinese human rights abuses. And then there's China's involvement in Darfur.
We live in a world that still grapples with the Holocaust; indeed—a world in which Holocaust survivors remain (albeit in dwindling numbers) to share their testimonies. We have seen the kind of suffering that victims of the Holocaust endured repeated again and again in the sixty years since—in Cambodia, East Timor, Guatemala, Rwanda, and Sudan. You'd think we would have learned a long time ago from the global mistake of the Armenian Genocide, which kicked off the bloody 20th Century and set the world stage for what was to come. Spielberg's choice to creatively support the Olympic games in China seemed to imply that he'd learned only to value money over humanity.
His decision, finally, to protest Beijing's support for Sudan by resigning from the Olympics team is late, but heartening.
Related: Jewcy's Darfur Coverage