I’m usually a fan, but I’ve got to say that I think Chris Core is being hopelessly optimistic when he takes this position on the Olympics and the protests following the torch around the world:
Ok, what is the deal about attacking the Olympic Torch? Have people lost their minds? Yes, I get that some activists are upset because China dominates Tibet, and the Olympics are going to be held in China this year. Maybe China was a bad idea, but it’s too late now, so please stop it! Now, wherever that wondrous Olympic procession goes, that passing of the torch, these idiot demonstrators are threatening to extinguish the flame! The ETERNAL flame! What do they not get about the world “eternal”? And so, in city after city, including in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, events are being canceled or truncated. What kind of a message do these nuts think they are sending?
The whole point of the Olympics is for a few weeks to put aside our political differences and compete in athletic events just for the fun of it. And for pride of country. These athletes have been training their whole lives for these couple of weeks. The modern Olympics goes back over 100 years and the ancient games go back almost 3,000 years. During all that time the people of the earth, who, trust me, had many political differences, managed to get along and hold these games. At the height of Nazi power, Germany held the Olympics in Berlin and we and the other Western countries attended and played nicely. So you are telling me that today, in 2008, over an issue that maybe one per cent of the world even knows about (China’s domination of Tibet) that we cannot let it go?
There are actually a couple points worth addressing here.
First of all, what’s so bad about the idea that here, in the United States of America, people are voicing their opinions, loudly, and speaking out against an evil regime and it’s evil repression of the Tibetan people ? Frankly, I’m more embarressed by the tactics of the officials in San Francisco and their willingness to allow the Chinese security thugs to dictate what is considered an acceptable protest than I am by the protesters who are doing nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights. And if their protests result in the exinguishing of the flame, who the heck cares it’s a flame, and the fact that the IOC chose to legitimize a dictatorship this year removes whatever moral respect that flame might have had.
Second, the Olympics have always been about politics. That may not have been the original intention, but that’s what they quickly evolved into. The Nazi’s turned the 1936 Olympics into a glorification of their ideology of hatred and the so-called Aryan race, and the world let them do it. For nearly 40 years, the Olympics were pretty much a proxy for the Cold War itself — with most of the attention being paid to the medal counts between the United States and the Soviet Union. Even the end of the Cold War didn’t end the politics as we’ve seen fights over who represents whom in the former Yugoslavia. To put it plainly, as long as their are nation-states and international politics, there will be politics associated with the Olympic Games.
Rather than being outraged by the protests, Americans should be outraged by the fact that the IOC finds it perfectly acceptable to silence athletes so that they don’t “offend” their Chinese “hosts.”
This whole thing is, as I’ve said, just one big mistake.