Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dropping the Olympic Torch

By Alan Caruba

I confess I have been enjoying scenes of mayhem as the Olympic torch, destination China, gets doused and various runners find themselves in the middle of bedlam.

Given the seizure and annexation of Tibet, a quite separate and ancient nation, the trouble that China is encountering as it prepares to host the games is entirely appropriate. China literally had to ditch Communism as an economic system in order to survive. There are more people fluent in English in China than in America. Why? Because if you want to get rich, you have to learn how from us!

Holding the Olympics there is just wrong for a lot of obvious reasons.

On Tuesday, a friend and fellow blogger put it this way, “Those ‘non-political’ Olympic Games are SO political they are a hot potato which has become nothing but a gigantic soap box from which the hosting nation publicizes it’s brand of despotism! It has become a humongous propaganda engine… and very little else.””I lost interest in the Olympic Games along about the time Mark Spitz won all those metals (seven) at the Munich Games in 1972. Oh… yes… that was the year the “Black September” took the Israeli athletes hostage, inside the Olympic Village, and murdered eleven of them before the incident was brought to a bloody close. That was 36 years ago. Nothing much has changed, except that we, as a country, are at war against the terrorists.”

His suggestion is that the games be played permanently in Greece where they originated. It’s a very good idea.

An earlier Munich games in the 1930s had permitted the Nazi regime to show its whitewashed Hitlerian face to the world and, after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, probably one of the few intelligent things Jimmy Carter ever did was to disallow American athletes from participating in the Moscow Olympics. The latter Munich games were an equal abomination for their determination to continue while the bodies of dead Israelis were being shipped home.

These days the primary concern for any of the games is security, security, security. For this we can thank the Palestinian terrorists whose memory and remorseless hatred of Israel continues.

The Olympic games have been plagued, too, with problems of corruption, bribery and judges more attuned to their nation’s politics than the merits of the athletes.

Granted that it is hard to ignore China and its billion-plus citizens, but why should this nation, famed for its on-going oppression of Tibetans, the Fulong Gong religious group, and just about anyone it wants to oppress, be given a pass?

Shouldn’t games aimed at increasing international friendship begin by requiring the host nation to not throw dissidents into ghulags or engage in public executions of criminals and the like?

As things are now, why not just drop the farce of soaring Olympic rhetoric and hold the next games in the Sudan, Myanmar, North Korea, any place where intolerance and repression is the national sport?


Michael D. Shaw said...

Points all well taken. The Olympics were forever political once Hitler did his thing at the Berlin version in 1936. As it happened, Jesse Owens kinda rained on Adolf's parade...

Even beyond all the politics was the obscene way the Eastern bloc--especially the Ruskies and East Germans--took kids from their parents at about the age of four, and plied them with drugs and God knows what else, to produce champions.

BUT--The Olympics do serve one purpose: They are the only sports spectacle even worse than the WNBA.

Longstreet said...

Right on, Alan!

We are way past the facade of The Games as any acceptable sort of diplomacy... at least, any diplomacy supporting world peace. They have become ridiculous.

Best regards!


Andy said...

Do the decathalon sports really mean anything beyond high school track meets and the olympics?

If the olympics are supposed to gather a good crowd and show the world is united through games, lets do it in a respectable place. FFS, not China.

And who was the ad-wizard that picked San Fran as the sole city the torch is passed around in? Could they have picked a more protesting city? Genius. I bet it was a gathering of journalists with nothing to write about.

Where's Tatiana the tiger when we need her?
Oh right they killed her.