Those of you who know me know that I detest politics with the fire of a thousand suns. That being said, I’ve decided not to watch the Olympics this summer. Yes, I’m using politics of my own to protest politics. The hypocrisy isn’t lost. I had typed a huge tirade regarding governments and protestors in general, but rather than post a long rant I’ve decided to keep it short and simple. Sort of.
According to the IOC website, “The Games have always brought people together in peace to respect universal moral principles. The upcoming Games will feature athletes from all over the world and help promote the Olympic spirit.”
Unfortunately the Olympics are not about individual amateur athletes gathering in friendly competition to celebrate years of personal hard work and training. Issues of performance enhancers, lying about athletes’ ages, high-tech swimsuits, and a plethora of other questionable acts have killed the spirit of sportsmanship.
Politics between the countries and activist groups is hardly new when it comes to the games either. Some of the more prominent examples include Hitler’s actions at the 1936 Berlin Summer games (wtg Jesse Owens), the kidnapping of 11 Israeli athletes by a group of Palestinian activists and their subsequent deaths during the 1972 Munich games and the 1980 US led boycott against the Moscow games.
In addition to the politics, there are issues of costs. Countries spend exorbitant amounts of money campaigning for the privilege of hosting the Olympics. The chosen country then spends billions of dollars creating a venue to host the two to three week event. Arenas must be built, hotels and transportation need to be created or overhauled to accommodate the influx of visitors and surrounding areas usually receive cosmetic face lifts to impress foreigners. China is no exception. Many families and businesses were displaced without due compensation to make way for the facilities in Beijing. Then on May 12 of this year a devastating earthquake hit the Sichuan province. Red Cross statistics estimate that 32,400 people died, 220,100 were injured and another 408 million people remain homeless. Any government’s first and foremost duty is to provide for the security and safety of its people. (Don’t even get me started on Hurricane Katrina, I could write for days). Yet preparing for the Beijing Olympics appeared to take precedence over caring for those effected.
Finally, the issue of China’s 50+ year forced occupation of Tibet comes to light. During this time Tibetan government officials have lived in exhile, while thousands of people have been wrongfully imprisoned and tortured all at the hands of the Chinese government. http://www.savetibet.org/ Sadly, genocide in many other places, such as Darfur and Rwanda, are also over looked by more powerful governments because there is nothing to gain strategically or monetarily by interference.
These are some of the reasons for which our television shall remain off during the next few weeks. I’m not naive enough to believe that my silent protest will make one bit of difference to the IOC, the Chinese Government or the Networks covering the games. However, I will know.
I also know that there are others who share similar opinions to mine. Beverly has not only posted regarding the Tibet issue and she is going so far as to hold a contest. Pippi, of Pippi Kneesocks, has created a colorway called, “Free Tibet” which features the colors of the Tibetan flag. I am no where near as eloquent or informed as either of these ladies. Pippi does have a wish to see the following words on at least 40 blogs today,
“None of us are free until ALL of us are free”
I hope she sees it on 140. Over the next few weeks I hope to make some hats and socks. With a little research and luck maybe a charity or aid group can be found who will take them along to that region.