Thursday, 10 April 2008

Politics in the Olympics

The year is 1936. Adolf Hitler's Germany is hosting the Olympic Games, the 8th edition of modern times. Nazi Germany wanted to make the Olympics a showcase for the superiority of the Aryan race, one of his horrible misconceptions. History gave him a foretaste of his eventual defeat through the victory of Jesse Owens in four events. Owens was a black man, the grandson of a slave.

The Olympic Games have been abused for political ends ever since. 2008 is no different.

I have to sound one note of caution. Ostracising China at this point in history is like cutting off a limb. Do not forget that a large proportion of goods in our shops are manufactured in China. Particularly the UK has lost a large chunk of its manufacturing base to low-wage countries like China and India. A piece of fair competition without a doubt. I am not saying we should pass over the human rights abuses that occur in China, or Tibet - or any of its provinces or annexed territories. Whether the Olympics are the right forum, I very much doubt. It is one thing that protests occur in London, Paris or San Francisco. Any dissent on Chinese soil will be brutally and ruthlessly suppressed. I dread the passage of the Olympic Torch through Tibet.


  1. Good points well made Guido,like you I fear taking the torch through Tibet would be ill Jan xx

  2. Well said.

  3. Here!  Here!  Guido.
    I have never agreed with politics in sport.  
    Sports should never be used as a political weapon.


  4. I saw the 1984 Olympic Torch pass through Santa Barbara, California.  How exciting that was, uniting the entire world!  I did volunteer work for that Olympics.

    I hate to hear of the abuses in Tibet.  I can udnerstand the anger against some of the policies in China.

    I grimace at the beauty of the ideals of the torch, altered, tarnished in a way, I think in part as people don't know how else they personally CAN protest China's atrocities, grimace when I see the protests on the front pages of the newspapers, even when the official route is altered and not announced in advance.

    I'm torn as to what is the right way this should be handled.  I suspect it'll get uglier before it gets, well, peaceful again.