Monday, April 07, 2008

Disruption Of Torch Relay Embarrasses China

Written on M.S. Prinsendam, Approaching Namibia--

I learned as an Olympic reporter that you can try to separate the Olympics from politics, but it won't work.

We see that again today as we learn of protests in London and Paris that have disrupted the running of the Olympic torch relay and greatly embarrassed the organizers of the Chinese Olympics. It is clear now that the rebellion in Tibet is overshadowing preparations for the Olympics this summer and could even severely damage the Beijing Games.

A couple of little historical footnotes are pertinent. First, it was Adolf Hitler who reputedly had the first idea for a torch relay in the Modern Olympics. The torch has caused trouble, or been the opportunity for causing trouble before. Now, it is again.

Second, as long as the International Olympic Commitee insists on awarding the Games to tyrannical regimes, such as Nazi Germany in 1936, militaristic Japan in 1940 (those Games were cancelled by World War II), Soviet Russia in 1980 and now Communist China in 2008, there is no way the Games will not be exploited for political ends, to buttress or condemn foul regimes. The IOC has on these occasions created its own mess, and then been forced to live with it.

It is worth noting too just like the Nazis and the Russian Communists, the Chinese Communists promised the IOC that they would behave properly in the runup to the Games. And all of these tyrannies lied. The Nazis continued to persecure the Jews, rearm feverishly and prepare for a world war. Just months before the Games, Hitler remiliterized the Rhineland. Then, in the runup to the Moscow Games, the Russians invaded Afghanistan. And now, with the Beijing Games approaching, the Chinese have intensified their effort of more than half a century to subjugate Tibet.

It is not at all surprising that human rights advocates and those who uphold democracy might think turnabout is fair play, and if tyrannies try to exploit the Olympics by following aggressive policies, it is fair to resist these policies by using the Olympics too.

That's what's going on now. Talk of another Olympic boycott is rising, and, at the very least, the bloom is off the Olympic rose once again. Even the IOC president is pleading with the Chinese government to ease the pressure on Tibet. The atmosphere of the approaching Games is being polluted by politics.

I don't think a boycott is an answer, because it will only hurt the athletes. But if the silly torch relay conceived by Hitler is going forward in so many localities, it is certainly proper for protestors to disrupt it.


In the latese embarassment for the woeful Clinton campaign, its high-priced media consultant, Mark Penn, has been demoted after it was revealed he was negotiating to represent the Columbian government for trade concessions as a lobbyist at the same time Hillary was opposing the concessions.

The Clintons are not only crooks themselves; they have many corrupt people working for them. Penn is only the latest.

For the good of the Democratic party and the country, it is time that Hillary give up her campaign and let America choose between two honorable candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama.



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4/07/2008 8:09 AM  

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