Solving the World's problems with common sense and a flamethrower.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Shame on our Sportsmen and Leaders

In 1980 several countries, led by the US, participated in a boycott of the Moscow Olympics in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. South Africa was barred from the Olympics (and other sporting events) until 1992.

And yet here we are, in 2008, watching the Olympics being glorified by a nation with a horrendous record of human rights abuses.

Not just brutal repression in Tibet.

Executions. The country executed more than four times as many convicts as the rest of the world combined in 2005.

Forced abortion and coercive birth control.

Repression of spiritual and religious groups.

Censorship and repression of free speech and access to impartial information - and repression of those who stand up for it.

And yet, despite all this, we are greeted with the obscene image of grinning sportsmen and 'celebrities', flanked by a phalanx of stone-faced Chinese security guards, carrying this tainted flame across our capital.

We see our own police being used by this brutal regime to repress our own protests at this sick parade.

We hear nothing from our leaders, who refuse to condemn, and still participate in this farcical ceremony. Their limp excuse is that they 'didn't touch the flame' - as if that makes standing, grinning inanely and wringing their hands a la Uriah Heap as they welcome this symbol of repression and greed somehow acceptable to their electorate.

And the reason why nobody will condemn? Why nobody in power (with the notable exception of Nicola Sarkozy) will even THREATEN a boycott? MONEY. We didn't do as much business with the USSR and South Africa. Banning Cape apples was somewhat different to risking the loss of all those cheap, imported knock-off goods we are so reliant upon.

And I say to all those who took part in this parade - be you sportsman, celebrity or politician - save your lame lies and justifications. This flame should never have entered this country, and YOU should hang your heads in shame at having participated in, and perpetuated, this disgusting political charade.

And you'll all go to Beijing, and you'll all smile and shake the hands of the leaders of this vile regime.

Does the medal count matter more than the people of Tibet, or those in China like Hu Jia, who dream of freedom?

Does it bother you that the billion-dollar circus of the 2008 Olympics will simply enrich the regime further, and provide more money with which to repress, torture and murder those who disagree with Mao Zedong's teachings?

Every person who wore a t-shirt. Every person who waved a flag, set off a fire extinguisher, booed and protested has more honour and decency than every single individual who carried that flame COMBINED.

You are all guilty of as big a case of appeasement as those who attended the 1936 Summer Games when the tradition of the Olympic Torch was reinstated - incidentally by another abhorrent, genocidal regime.

Shame on all of you.


Anonymous said...

I'm honestly not sure what I think on this issue. I can see the arguments for "boycott" (though I'm not convinced they ever made a difference in the past), but also the arguments for "engagement."

I'd also hate to see those of our athletes who have committed years of their lives to nothing other than excellence in their sports be denied the opportunity to compete because the IOC decided to hold the Olympics somewhere with problems.

Thanks for bringing the debate to Twitter and the Blogosphere.

George Bolam: InZaneCountry said...

The issue of China and it's human rights record not withstanding, the Olympic Games is an already discredited series of events.

The Olympic Committee has an all too recent history of corruption, questionable ethics and moral values, and far too many of the Game's participants have shown themselves to be far less than honourable, cheating the public, their friends, their families, and their country's with performances that owe more to chemical expertise than athletiscism..

I am appalled by the whole expensive and pointless business of the Olympic Games, which has long since lost any meaning, in my view, and, certainly, now bears no relation to it's original concept and former aims..

We should get rid of this valueless anachronism.

George Bolam

Brother Tobias said...

Well put. I agree whole-heartedly...and am ashamed for not having been there yesterday.

Ophelia Chong said...

i don't think a boycott would prove anything. what if jesse owens boycotted? we would've never had the chance to show true athleticism lays not in race but in the human spirit.

I was there this summer for a month going back and forth from the US. everytime i went back i saw more construction and the wholesale destruction of entire neighborhoods. however, this is nothing new to chinese history. Each regime has destroyed to unite.

Ophelia Chong said...

sorry about the deletes, i was typing too fast and i am only on my first coffee. :O)