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The Barking of Guilty Dogs

May 22, 2009

Ostentation is the signal flag of hypocrisy.

-Edwin Hubbel Chapin

It’s often hilarious when it turns out that the most self-righteous among us are hypocrites. Remember when Congressman Mark Foley, chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, turned out to be hitting on underage pages? I like to think he chaired the committee as a way to get dates. How about when former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who was a vocal opponent of prostitution, turned out to be a regular customer of a fancy hooker? My favorite is family values proponent Sen. Larry “Happy Feet” Craig, who apparently likes getting’ his freak on in public bathrooms. Nasty!

Turns out the Save Darfur Coalition is guilty of its own brand of hypocrisy.  (No, it doesn’t involve classy hookers or gay sex.  Sorry to disappoint you, gentle reader.)  These moralizing proponents of divestment from Chinese companies sell green baseball caps manufactured in – you guessed it – China. Now I’ve written before about how SDC attempts to cover up past sins, but this one is a doozy in that there appears to be no attempt to hide their hypocrisy.

It’s amazing that an organization who donates so many resources to pointing out China’s involvement in the conflict didn’t triple-check their manufacturers to ensure that – I don’t know – someone wouldn’t buy a hat, notice the label and then blog about it. What would their allies in their anti-China campaign think of this? For example, SDC has worked closely with Dream for Darfur, an organizationarfur which said

China holds unrivaled influence with the genocidal regime in Sudan. As Beijing prepares to host the 2008 Olympics, join us in urging China to use its leverage to persuade the Sudanese government to allow into Darfur the full protection force outlined by UN Resolution 1769.

They even co-published a paper together pointing out China’s involvement.  Specifically, SDC works very closely with Jill Savitt, the executive director of Dream for Darfur, an SDC board member and “the mind behind a long string of organizations conducting campaigns to pressure China to change its policies.” If she knew about this, she would be outraged and perhaps even dissociate herself from the Coalition, right?*

Wouldn’t Mia Farrow, who famously called the Beijing games the “Genocide Olympics,” be ashamed to wear one of these hats?

Oh...I see...never mind. (DayLife)

Oh...I see...never mind.

Although they themselves make money from the sales of these hats, SDC is not afraid to tell other people to disassociate from China. Nope! They famously pressured Steven Spielberg to not participate in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, which he was supposed to “artistically advise,” whatever that means. Additionally, they’ve resurrected their divestment campaign. They’re currently pressuring groups like Vanguard to divest from PetroChina. Before that it was Fidelity.

So if Save Darfur hates China so much, why does the hat I bought from them say “Made in China?”

Tag of author's own Save Darfur hat.  I keep it on a shelf between the lube that Rev. Ted Haggard used with his male prostitute and Rush Limbaugh's Oxycontin prescription.

Tag of author's own Save Darfur hat. I keep it on a shelf between the lube that Rev. Ted Haggard used with his male prostitute and empty bottles of Rush Limbaugh's oxycontin.

Ideally, any organization that fancies itself a proponent of human rights would sell only fair wage products that were manufactured and assembled by unionized workers, under safe conditions, etc. To be fair though, I understand that that can get expensive, especially for a non-profit with a tight budget. But at the very least they should refrain from supporting companies in the very countries they demonize! How seriously am I supposed to take their whole “China = bad” campaign if they can’t even exchange their Chinese slave labor swag for…I don’t know…Sri Lankan slave labor swag? They don’t have to be perfect, but they could at least not be unabashedly hypocritical! I really want to believe, but just meet me half way here, people!

Now, I’m in no way suggesting that SDC helps fund the atrocities in Darfur by supporting Chinese companies, which is what they’ve accused Vanguard and Fidelity of doing, but if they’re going to ask other people to stop doing business with Chinese companies, shouldn’t they do the same? Kinda like how if Foley is gonna chair the Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, shouldn’t he at least keep his mitts off the pages? When you claim to be the moral authority, you need to practice what you preach.

*On second thought, let’s reverse that: Shouldn’t SDC, an organization who has recently been accused of being the humanitarian face of the War on Terror, be wary of being associated with Dream for Darfur?  I mean, in light of growing concerns surrounding their true intentions, they probably want to shy away from anyone who makes them look militaristic, right?  Well, back in 2008 D4D admitted that they were “in contact with [Blackwater] by email.” Yes that Blackwater, the private military company famous for killing at least 14 Iraqi civilians for no reason.  Furthermore, they only admitted to being “in contact” with the mercenary firm after the Financial Times reported that “after becoming frustrated by the stalled deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force” D4D advisory committee member Mia Farrow “approached Erik Prince, founder and owner of Blackwater, to discuss whether a military role was either feasible or desirable.”  So, in order to quell rumors that they’re advocating for the invasion of Sudan, SDC probably shouldn’t be too cozy with Dream for Darfur (although it’s hard when the ED is on your board) or Farrow right now; and should refrain from doing things like gushing incessantly about Farrow’s hunger strike and photographing her in their hats, right?  Just a thought.

This is what Blackwater mercenaries do to Iraqi civilians, the people they were hired to “liberate.”  What do you think they’d do to Darfuris if they were hired to “save” them?  (CNN)

This is what Blackwater mercenaries do to Iraqi civilians, the people they were hired to “liberate.” What do you think they’d do to Darfuris if they were hired to “save” them?

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