Monday, April 21, 2008

Olympics & politics

I've avoided commenting on this up to this point, thinking that I needed to do some more reading before saying anything. Having said that, there really are some things that should be obvious.

The suggestion that politics should be kept out of sport is a naive and disingenuous one. The charter states:

"Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles."
Olympic Charter, Fundamental principles, paragraph 2

How then can one give the games to a country like China that not only tramples on human rights, invading countries, exterminating aspects of cultures it does not likes and executes more people than all other countries put together and then bleat when representatives of the persecuted (read Tibetans) is bringing politics into sport? There is nothing ethical about China's rule in other countries like Tibet.

It is also amusing when you see protesters bloodied up and then abuse them for being violent!

As for Australia's sportsmen and women, well they do it for them in the end. Glory, sponsorship and ego. Good on them for their hard work, their natural abilities. Now show some moral backbone.

Engagement won't always work. Was that model applied to South Africa during Apartheid?

In the end, sport like everything else in life is tied to politics. In a globalised world it is time to 'love your neighbour as yourself'. Love the Tibetans by not participating in this Olympics and ignore the self interest of repressive governments and self interested Olympians and officials.

The obvious postscript: Australia has screwed up indigenous issues over 200+ years, but at least people own up to it and are trying to work towards a solution with an apology and programs. A long way to go. I wonder if a Tibetan will be involved in the Beijing opening ceremony?

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