Friday, August 08, 2008
I guess the Genocide Games begin today in China. As I blogged in April (and repeat some of that post here), I think it's time to re-think the Olympics.
It's a travesty that China is hosting the games, and its the worst sort of dark comedy that the IOC actually believed all the promises the Chinese government made them back when they were bidding to host the games and is now shocked, yes shocked that the Chinese government is now reneging on many of those promises.
I do feel sorry for the athletes, but in my book human rights are more important than sport, and we need to stop and ask ourselves whether it is morally right to ignore political repression, cultural genocide and the complete muzzling of all speech and dissent for millions of people, just so a few thousand people can play games for a few weeks, the rest of us can watch, and the television networks and Coca-Cola can make heaps of money. When criticizing the host government gets its citizens five years in prison, I think it trivializes the concept of human freedoms to say we'll look the other way so that somebody can run a 100-yard dash.
The problem does not begin and end with the China Games, of course. It began back in 1936 when Nazi Germany hosted the Games. The theory that the Olympics foster international understanding, and the notion that awarding the games to a certain country will have any effect whatsoever on their internal political policies, is an utter crock of bullshit. Nice idea -doesn't work.
So let's rethink the idea of the Olympics completely -they're too damned expensive for most countries to build facilities for anyway. The answer is to have all countries contribute to building and maintaining an international Olympics facility in Greece, and use it for every Olympics. Let every "nation" participate, and yes, I mean every "nation", not country. Nations of peoples- united ethnically and culturally, have been around for millenia, even as national boundary lines get re-drawn every generation. Let's cast aside the absurd argument about, for instance, "which" China gets to come. Let them both come. Let Tibet send a contingent, along with any other ethnic group that can claim "nation" status. That would include groups such as our own Sioux nation. Why not? I think that would be a blast.