Saturday, 19 January 2008

Dream Deferred

Financial Times, UK
Jan 19 2008

Mia Farrow is deeply concerned about the plight of Sudan's Darfurregion, where government-backed militias are engaged in genocideagainst the population.

The 62-year-old actress is part of the advisory committee for Dreamfor Darfur, which is trying to pressure Beijing - a leading patronof the Sudanese regime - to use its leverage in Khartoum to stop thepersecution of civilians in the blighted region.

It may have seemed logical for Darfur campaigners to expect sympathyfor their cause in Cambodia, which was devastated by the 1970s genocideoverseen by the Beijing-backed Khmer Rouge.

But Phnom Penh has vetoed Farrow's plan to hold a ceremony and lightan Olympic-style torch this weekend at the Khmer Rouge's notoriousformer Tuol Sleng prison as part of a campaign to draw attentionto the Darfur crisis.

Similar ceremonies have already taken placein other countries touched by genocide including Rwanda, Armenia,Germany and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Cambodia explained its decision by saying that the activists were not"doing this for humanitarian reasons but because they have a politicalagenda against China".

China is Cambodia's largest trading partner and one of its biggestaid donors - which is perhaps why Phnom Penh is willing to let bygonesbe bygones.

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