Olympics, Politics…and other ‘-icks’

To boycott or not to boycott – that is the question!

At least, that is the question on everyone’s mind.  But why?

So many people who wish the Olympics to go on ‘as usual’.  “Don’t drag politics into the Olympics!’ they say.  “The athletes have trained hard for this pinnacle of their efforts – most will not stay in top shape for the next Olympics!”  “The athletes have two great moments:  when they perform, and when they walk into the Olympic Stadium behind their country’s flag during Opening Ceremonies – you cannot deprive them of this!”  “What would boycotting the games accomplish?”

What a load of dingo’s kidneys!!!

 Let’s take a closer look…

1.  Olympics in the ancient times 

From their inception, the Olympic games were about politics and reilgion!  And there were wars fought over who would control the games – and reap the political benefits from doing so.  Yes, the favour of various deities was vied for, but that would be in the form of real polititcal advantages for the host city-state.

So, for all those people loudly shouting that ‘politics should not be dragged into the Olympic games’ – politics was why they were started!

Of course, if you really want to be true to the ancient Olympic spirit, you will only run 2 footraces for naked men and 2 footraces for 16 women…. Oh, and all the participants must be able to speek Greek.

Ah, but those were just them silly ancients!  We are so way above dragging politics into the modern Olympic games!  Yeah, right.  Pull the other one!

2.  Modern Olympic Games

Why were the Modern Olympic Games revived?  Well, in a nutshell, because the French could not get over loosing the Franko-Prussian war – and thought this would be a political payback.  Some very cynical people (and I would never endorse this point of view myself – I simply report it, since people are questioning the ‘politicization’ of the games) have claimed that the French could not win the war… but they thought that if the discipline was running, they just might excell.  So they decided to put on a running race…  The ancient Olympia was just found by archeologists, so the idea presented itself – and the first games were symbolically placed in Greece.  Legitimacy through tradition, and all that political stuff.  But, to drive the French political agenda, the very next one went to Paris…

Ah, but it was not political after this!

Yeah, right.  And water is not falling from the skies when it rains!  In the interest of brevity (!), let us look at just one example:

Twenty two countries boycotted the Montreal Olympics in 1976, not because Canada did anything, but because they allowed in athletes from New Zeland.  And what did the government of New Zeland do, that was so very terrible?  Nothing.  Just some New Zeland athletes dared to play sports with a country whom these twenty two countries thought (correctly) to be oppressive.

Yes, let us review.  Canada did not opress anyone.  New Zeland did not opress anyone.  But, some athletes from new Zeland took part in a sports event (not paying attention to politics) with non-opressive athletes from an opressive country, and other athletes from New Zeland, who were never part of that sport, were going to the games in Canada… so the Canadian games were boycotted.  That would make Canada, the host, three degrees separated (if not more) from the opression itself.

Gee, I wonder what would have happened if Canada had actually opressed someone…..would have been very lonely games!

So, what country was it, that got Canada boycotted, because one of their visitors once played with them?  What was that country’s crime?  Ah, it was the racial opression in South Africa!  And the racially opressive practices of the South African government of those days truly were deplorable.  Targetting a portion of a country’s population, and brutally opressing them, because of their ethnicity!  Shame, shame, shame, shame!!!

Yeah, that is soooo very differen than the situation today:  OK, so China is targetting and brutally opressing a portion of their population, because of their Tibetan ethnicity… but, well, this is China!!!  They have all the money, and unlike South Africa, we want access to their market and their cheap stuff!!!  Yeah, and the Tibetans are so annoying – represented as they are by that Dalai Lama:  always smiling, preaching non-violence and wanting people to get along!  Sheesh!  And who trusts a religious leader without any major scandals under his belt, anyway???

 So, why is Archbishop Desmond Tutu (another one of them holy men without a major scandal – unless you consider the Nobel Peace prize a scandal – like the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Tutu has one), the one man who truly peacefully laboured for the end of opression in South Africa, why is he supporting the boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games? 

Could it be that he is colourblind?