When Beijing was selected to host the Olympics, a lot of us guessed that there would be problems...turns out we were right. France and Belgium have both threatened to pull out of the Olympics amidst concern over a bloody uprising in Tibet. Can we just free those guys already?
I'm not saying that any nation is perfect, but China has some issues that make other world powers look like a Utopia. In the last year alone, China has also faced international exposure for human-trafficking, brick-kiln slavery and a general lack of human rights. Personally, I'm glad that a few countries aren't content to turn a blind eye.
It would be easy enough to ignore the situation. Heck, that's what our president said that he would do. After all, the problems won't be evident by watching on television, or probably even by attending in person. I'm sure that the Olympic venues will be immaculate, there will be fuzzy Chinese mascots running everywhere, and tourists will be able to visit local attractions and pick up trinkets for their friends back home. Oh yeah...there will also be amazing feats of athleticism, and people with no professional sports future will walk away heroes because of some new gold or silver bling.
Through all the recent trouble, the Olympic Committee has tried to maintain that the Olympics have nothing to do with politics. Are you kidding me? Have these guys ever watched the Olympics?! The entire theme of the event is, "my country is better than your country."
It's great for patriotism. I think that's why American interest has dropped off since the end of the Cold War. Think about it, if you're old enough. No matter what happened, we just wanted to beat those Soviet commies in the medal count. Let's face it, since that political background went out the window, things have been a lot less entertaining.
Today's Games may be much more about economics, but the fact is, the Olympics have always been intertwined with politics:
- 1936: Jesse Owens stuck it to Hitler and his superior Aryan athletes.
- 1956: Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon boycotted in protest of the Israeli invasion of Egypt. The Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland boycotted in protest of the Soviet Union's invasion of Budapest, Hungary.
- 1968: Tommie Smith and John Carlos place 1st and 3rd in the 200m. On the medal stand, the two unite in a black panther solute. The second place finisher, a white Australian, wears a patch on his chest in support of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. The OPHR is a group of black athletes boycotting the 1968 Games due to apartheid in South Africa.
- 1972: Israeli Olympians are taken hostage and killed by Palestinian terrorists.
- 1976: Boycotts were held by 26 African countries because New Zealand's rugby team toured South Africa. Taiwan was not allowed to compete because Canada would not recognize them as the Republic of China.
- 1980: Moscow's 1980 Summer Olympics had the largest boycott in Olympic history. The boycott included the USA and 61 other countries, and was in response to the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan.
- 1984: In retaliation of the 1980 boycott, the USSR, East Germany, Cuba and 14 other countries boycotted the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
In the end, I don't expect much response from the United States. After all, the Olympics are an international wee wee contest, and in most events of this kind, the U.S. is reluctant to give up it's turn at the pot. Still, I think that a boycott by Belgium could make a difference. While not a world superpower, their absence would be noticed, and would provide a talking point for the media, athletes and politicians.
Great job, Belgians. Let's try not to waffle on this one.
From the blogosphere...
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Giga pleaz gives us three reasons why "KoMe" Bryant should not win the NBA MVP. Well, what do you know? One of these is the same reason that I posted in yesterday's Blog Cabin. I'm not claiming genius status, though. It should be fairly obvious.
Expecting too much in life is human nature. Accomplishing more than you expected to is human effort. (Not bad...I may actually be quotable.) Sick of his dead-end job, MiamiHuskerFan is wondering if he should be looking for more in life. Why don't we give him a little advice. Or at the very least...misery loves company!
dpaymets wants to talk movies. In his latest blog, this member tells us about his recent viewings of Ratatouille, The Incredibles and the newest installment of John Adams.