Under the Black Flag

Dealing With the Devil

I do not normally take pronouncements from show-business folk seriously—they are almost always publicity ploys—but in the Mia Farrow and Steven Spielberg case against Beijing’s “Genocide Olympics,” I will gladly make an exception.  We all know that there is something rotten at the heart of modern sport, starting with the Olympics, which was, once upon a time, a meeting of gifted and courageous amateurs vying for glory, and is now reduced to a festival of corporate greed and nationalistic jingoism.

As China scours the world for raw materials—soya beans and iron from Brazil, copper from Chile and Zambia, oil from Venezuela and Sudan, natural gas from Iran and Burma—she does not exactly demand a clean sheet where human rights are concerned.  And why should she?  Giant American corporations will deal with the devil, so long as the profits keep rolling in.  But there are limits.  The one black spot that has isolated communist China is the sale of weapons to Khartoum, as bloodthirsty a regime as Robert’s Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and one that has killed 200,000 people while forcing a further 2.5 million from their homes in a classic case of ethnic cleansing.  China, of course, turns a blind eye to the genocide, because Khartoum delivers two thirds of its huge oil reserves to Beijing.

Back in 1957, my father had been approached by two “gentlemen”...

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