We are used to being able to display our political views on our property. During elections – municipal, provincial or federal – we are used to being able to display a sign on our front lawn, or in our window, which proudly proclaims which candidate we are supporting. One election, my in-laws each supported a different candidate: and proudly displayed two political signs on their front lawn!
Now, imagine a place where doing this: displaying your political views (either on your front lawn or inside your window) would earn you a $10,000.00 per day fine… and 6 months in jail! Plus, the police would have the power to come onto your property, inside your home, and remove the ‘offensive’ sign.
Where is this place?
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – 2010!!!
We are used to being able to protest – publicly – for or against any cause or issue. Sure, we ought to get a permit and obey rules of public order. That is the civilized way to do it. A government has the right to regulating the ‘HOW’ – but only in the respect that the protest does not interfere with public order and safety (like, say, shoving your kids into the middle of a busy highway, to make your point…). It does not, and MUST NOT, have the right to regulate THE SUBJECT of any protest.
Now, imagine a place where all protests regarding a specific subject were 100% banned! A place where people were forbidden to express a specific, non-violent, non-hate-mongering point of view! Where any expression whatsoever which contravened the ‘official line’ was forbidden.
Where is this place?
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – 2010!!!
Any and all signs (including private ones!) which ‘do not celebrate’ the Olympic Games are banned.
Any protest which might mar the festivities is banned.
Any commercial ‘in, on or above’ the official venues – but whose sponsor had not paid the incredibly high IOC ‘sponsorship’ extortion money (and, they only allow for one ‘sponsor’ in a particular field: if you are a small, local business – how will you compete with the multinationals?) … any such sign is, predictably, banned. (Consider a scenario where you have two restaurants in one building: one sells Coca-Cola, the other a small, local gourmet-made-in-small-batches Cola – and both have neon signs advertising their beverage of choice. If the business below became ‘official venue’ of the Olympics, because ‘their’ drink became the ‘official sponsor’, that business would be allowed to display their signs and attract customers. The business above would be forced to remove or cover up their sign (at their own expense) and would not be allowed to even try to attract customers…. Some law!)
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, non-IOC approved ‘voice amplification equipment’, from private boomboxes to megaphones, are – banned.
These are the rules which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is imposing on Vancouver while it is hosting the 2010 Olympic games!
Oh – and while they’re at it: they have exclusive ownership of such specific words like ‘winter’ and ‘2010’ !
OK – I have been a very vocal critic of the Olympic Games.
For a long time, I have ranted on and on that this abomination ought to be abolished. And, prior to the Bejing Olympics, I have written about it. Now that they are being held in Canada, I have not changed my mind. To the contrary: I wish this corrupt and corrupting organization stayed out of my country!
In addition to my objections to the Olympic Games on that whole unbelievable institutional corruption basis, I also object on the grounds that it degrades sports and diminishes the spirit of sportsmanship. Sports are supposed to be about being healthy: healthy body, healthy spirit and all that. A balance in life.
Yet, today’s top athletes push their bodies way beyond the point of what is healthy! In their attempt to be the best of the best, athletes do thing to their bodies (both legal and illegal – but, I am focusing on the ‘legal’ bit here) way past what is actually healthy or good. From microfractures in many bones – including the spine (like, say, gymnasts whose pursuit of Olympic ideals delays even the onset of their puberty by years, if not a decade…a summer sport, true, but it is just the tip of the iceberg) which spell a future racked with arthritis to pushing their tendons and muscles well beyond their healthy limits. In a very real sense, we have taken what ought to be a healthy hobby and turned it into a self-destructive, government-funded job. No more, no less…
And as for sportsmanship….please, don’t make me laugh!
It is no longer about a friendly sports game! Winning is now a matter of national pride! How many medals a country wins – or looses – somehow becomes a measure of the whole nation’s worth! No, not how they treat each other, not how well they treat and educate their kids, not how good their economy or how excellent their science programs. No. These things no longer matter. In a very real way, Olympic athletes are turned into weapons in a war!
But, those are not the reasons for this particular rant. No, my fear here is about something much, much greater than some public funding of private hobbies or glorification of physical self-mutilation… I speak of nothing less than our freedom of speech!
The IOC – an organization which has, over and over and over, been demonstrated to be corrupt to its core – is now in charge of what free citizens of a supposedly free country may – or may not – express! On their private property, none the less!
If I am still not making myself as clear as I ought to (and, I do know that is my weak spot), let me approach it from a different angle…
Some people have experienced how the ‘Patriot Act’ south of our boarder had, in the name of security, taken some serious ‘liberties’ with the American citizens freedoms (pun intended), as guaranteed them in the US constitution, see how the ironically named Human Rights Commissions are trampling over real human rights in Canada (and other places, too), and fear that ‘governments’ are a serious threat to our freedoms in general, freedom of speech in particular.
Others have pointed to the oppressive copyright laws – the ones which treat all consumers as criminals, before any evidence is even gathered – and other corporate ‘protections’ will be the greatest threats to our freedom of speech and expression to us in the future. Frankly, I agree with this point of view: the evidence is overwhelming…
In the Olympic Games, the worst aspects of both of these are rolled into one: there is a political body which is suppressing all opposition to itself, silencing all criticism of it. At the same time, this same political body had sold exclusive rights for commercial activity and advertising to a select group of large multinational corporations and is willing and able to persecute any and all small businesses (or, indeed individuals) who refuse to submit to its ‘regulations’.
There is a word which defines collusion of government with big business in order to control the marketplace and silence opposition. That word is fascism. By definition.
And I, for one, do not want any fascism in Canada!
We the undersigned call on lawmakers at all levels of government in Canada to: A) Examine all legislation within their jurisdiction intended to protect and promote human rights, and
B) To amend said legislation to remove those provisions that prohibit or otherwise limit the free and sincere expression of opinion.