Olympic Protest Campaigns: Which is More Effective?

9 years ago

The Olympics open today in China to a multitude of emotions, including anger from Tibetan, Darfurian, and Burmese human rights activists about China's role in the conflicts in these countries. To protest China's financial support of the genocide in Darfur, actress Mia Farrow is hosting a daily webcast report from a Darfurian refugee camp during the first week of the Olympics (August 8-15). They are asking people to Switch Over to Darfur, and watch the webcasts when sponsors' commercials air.

Here's their first video:

Alternative Opening Ceremony

On the other hand, Avaaz is promoting the Olympic Handshake. On May 22nd, Avaaz organized a 3-mile long "human chain handshake" of 2000 activists in London that began with the Dalai Lama, and ended at the Chinese Embassy. Participants wore T-shirts that said, "Give Real Talks a Hand" in English, and "One China--Talks on Tibet" in Chinese.

The handshake is being continued during the Olympics as an online initiative. After you join the Olympic Handshake, you can view a video of the handshake's path around the globe, and learn who you virtually shook hands with. I shook hands with, "Kittner of Roseburg, Germany, part of a chain of 85,626 people in 192 countries who have joined the global handshake."

This video by Avaaz explains how the Olympic Handshake campaign began:

I think both kinds of campaigns are important, but I do find the Olympic Handshake to be more appealing. It inspires, not tires. What do you think?

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