Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Political Protest Is Not An Olympic Sport
The Olympic Torch Relay is one of the most fascinating events to me.
This year, as usual, the torch relay started in the country of the Olympic's birthplace, Greece, and is currently making it's way through the countryside of England. The final destination will be in London...the home of this year's Summer Olympics. All told, the torch will have traveled 85,000 miles. It will also have gone through most countries.
I remember vividly the 1984 Torch Relay for the Los Angeles Olympics. The torch came down Malvern Avenue in my hometown of Fullerton, CA a half mile from my home and office. Sensing that it was something I didn't see everyday or am not likely to see too many times in my lifetime (sort of like Haley's comet or a tax refund) I picked up my daughter Nadia, who was three at the time and she sat on my shoulders and looked in awe at the spectacle as we saw the runner with the torch appear in the horizon and as it approached and went by us.
Today my friends in the English Countryside will get a chance to witness this spectacle.
And as always there will be political protests along the way of the route. There is even a big protest scheduled at the end of the route when the torch reaches London.
Political Protests at the Olympic Torch Relay were really evident at the Olympics in China in 2008. And for good reason.
China is responsible for some heinous crimes against humanity and supporting governments like Sudan that are also responsible for horrible attrocities. And because of that fact, there were bound to be protests against the Chinese government during the season of the Olympics.
It got ugly, because people don't like it when governments sponsor mass genocide and other attrocities. The torch relay was almost stopped several times during it's run in 2008.
We need to find other ways to protest and have dialogue about gross human rights violations that countries are perpetuating. The Olympics need to transcend all of the politics. It should be the one place where everybody from anywhere in the world can come together in a spirit of peace, brotherhood, competition holding hands and singing cumbaya.
In the final analysis, we can always find something to protest against every country in the world...even the Good ol' United States of America. My modest proposal is to return the Olympics to it's original site Greece if we can't leave politics out of it.
Let the torch runners go in peace.