Instead of shooting each other… by underground

If nothing else, the Olympic games provides a fortnight of positive, feel good stories to relive us of the troubles of the world. I think this story does just that, providing a glimpse of hope for the Caucus region as Georgia and Russia fight over the disputed South Ossetia. Amusing that a Georgian and a Russian join each other on the podium for shooting’s women’s 10 metre pistol though!

The Olympics are said to bring the world together, united by fair play and the pursuit of human excellence. This is the message the Chinese like to repeat, even condemning the Russians and Georgians for fighting during the games! The Chinese would like to use the games as a propaganda tool, but this is unlikely to happen. The world’s attention is on Beijing and the country is under great scrutiny. Protests will no doubt occur and the world will be watching when they occur. No one is going to forget about China’s crimes anytime soon and no amount of fireworks and hospitality will change that. China has opened its doors to the world, and the media has done a great job of highlighting the plights of those oppressed. Even George Bush (credit where it is due) has (hypocritically!) criticised the country’s rights record before arriving in the Beijing for the opening ceremony. China can not escape the criticism if it tried.

Just as the Chinese wish to use the Olympics for their advantage, rights advocates can do the same. Let’s not boycott the Olympics, let us use the event to draw attention to the issues. And lets enjoy the sports while we are at it! (Come on Kiwi!)


6 Comments so far
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Ah Paul, the working class has no country; let’s not celebrate jingoistic capitalist claptrap. What about Tibet?

Comment by ethicalmartini

Admittedly, I’m always going to struggle to not watch sporting events, I’m an addict!
I do not believe China should have been awarded the rights to host the Olympics, but that cannot be changed. I am not for cricket teams touring Zimbabwe and I would have opposed the ’81 Springbok tour if I had have been alive. I am not for the extravagent bullshit opening ceremonies when the money could be spent so much better.
I don’t see what boycotting viewing the games will achieve. The world’s attention is on Beijnig, China is now open to the world for scrutiny and much has recently been printed and broadcast about the plight of Tibet and rights abuses in China. As much as the ’08 Olympic story is about sports, conversation revolves around the smog, the rights of the media and citizens, Tibet, Sudan, etc.
It is impossible there will no protests by athletes during the games, and when they occur China’s attempt to use the Olympics as propaganda will be undermined. Let’s be watching when it happens.
Meanwhile in Georgia…

Comment by underground

The war in Ossetia is not the Georgians war but initiated by the President and will probably lose him his presidency.

Thus far the Olympics have been wonderful with many world records broken and a pretty good feeling except for the ‘haze’ (natural to an extent though?).

Comment by JL

I thought the Georgian public largely supported his actions. What makes you think his days are numbered?

Comment by underground

I don’t support a boycott either, but the Games are a chance, while the world is watching, to press China for change.

Without change China will carry on executing more of its citizens than any other country in the world, it will continue censoring the media and the Internet and it will continue locking up and torturing those who try to stand up for their rights and the rights of others.

What happened to the promises China made in its bid for the Olympic Games? Who will hold them to account?

Liu Jingmin, vice-president of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee said, in April 2001: “By allowing Beijing to host the Games you will help in the development of human rights.”

Isn’t political. To stand up for human rights is to stand up for the values enshrined in the Olympic Charter.


Comment by kim

Got this off the BBC today: Ironic isnt it?

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili struck a conciliatory tone on Monday as he called for talks with Russia, saying: “Let’s resolve problems through civilised methods.”

Comment by jl

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