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Joey Cheek Talks About Darfur and the Olympics

timv's picture

I'm a couple of weeks slow in getting this up, but there's a video clip online of Olympic ice speedskating champion and Greensboro native Joey Cheek talking to Stephen Colbert about human rights abuses in Darfur and why his visa to attend this summer's Beijing Olympics was suddenly revoked. I thought that he came across very well.

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roadskater's picture

More Joey Cheek and Darfur Audio and Video

Bob Costas mentioned Joey Cheek to the President of the United States in an interview on August 11, 2008:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/08/20080811.html

In part, Costas (referred to on the Whitehouse.gov site as "Q" for question):

Q China is a nation that warmly received Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, who has since been indicted by the International Court on charges of genocide.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q Then this past week they revoked the visa of Joey Cheek, an exemplary Olympian who had planned to come here not to directly protest China's government, but to call attention to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q What's your reaction?

THE PRESIDENT: My reaction is I'm sorry Joey Cheek didn't come, he's a good man. Joey Cheek has just got to know that I took the Sudanese message for him. My attitude is, is if you got relations with Mr. Bashir, think about helping to solve the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. That was my message to the Chinese government.

Q As you attempt to press these points with them, do you find Hu Jintao not just warm toward you personally, but is he receptive? Do you sense any movement?

THE PRESIDENT: It's hard to tell. I mean, it's -- all I can tell you is, is that it is best to be in the position where a leader will listen to you....

Tavis Smiley interviewed Cheek on August 19, 2008, and you can listen and watch here:

http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/archive/200808/20080819_cheek.html#

Cheek was as ever polite and cast a positive light on the President of the United States' level of access to world leaders.

It is very good that Cheek is still on the case, with others, and that Costas didn't pull back in this or other discussions from making clear points regarding this and similar issues, while almost all others in his company were giddy with irrelevance.

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