“Do not think of how big the universe is, it will merely hurt your head.”
U.S. Jewish Leaders Urge Boycott of Olympics
In a statement, the group said it is urging a boycott because it believes China is using the Olympic Games as a way to deflect attention from its human-rights record, much the way that Nazi Germany used the 1936 Olympic Games to distract attention from its persecution of Jews.
So... it seems China is squirming a bit under all this global visibility. Do nations have egos?
We still have a ways to go but there are signs of change -- or at least some minor tremors -- that China doesn't like the criticism. Well, duh... considering that China's purge of Tibet is half a century old and some 1 million people are dead and/or disappeared... and now more people are becoming aware of China's assault on a very peaceful Tibetan civilian population... I hope they squirm right out of Tibet.
On the news front, this was the headline I saw this morning on GoogleNews that prompted this post:
Dalai Lama's office: Envoys leave for China for Tibet talks (and let me know if this link breaks, the article is only an hour old)
Beijing has faced a chorus of calls from world leaders to open a dialogue. The decision comes as something of a reversal in the face of Beijing's relentless claims that the Dalai Lama and his followers had orchestrated March's violence in Tibet.
The recent protests in Tibet marked the most widespread and sustained action against Beijing's rule in decades, focusing attention on accusations that China's policies in the Himalayan region are eroding its traditional Buddhist culture and mainly benefit Chinese who moved there since its 1951 occupation by Communist troops.
The people of Tibet deserve help. This is not a political issue, this is not an issue of religion, this is an issue of import to all humanity. We cannot exist for long in a world as tumultuous as ours by ignoring the daily wrongs perpetrated against people by governments anywhere.
Since I became aware of the scope of world hunger some 30 years ago, the number of people that starve to death or die from malnutrition related disease has not changed. There are still tens of thousands dying each day. How is it that governments can afford huge military arsenals? How does it happen that day after day humanity marches on and nothing, really, changes? Is this wave of humans spreading across the globe like a snowball rolling downhill, getting bigger and bigger, rolling faster and faster as it gains weight and momentum... and all of us swept along for the ride, knowing that there is a bottom, somewhere, to this hill...?
How do we make governments accountable? The problems today are as old as the day when humans began living in communities and hierarchies became established. But today it is happening on a scale that is an indictment that should appall each and every one of us. And nowhere is there any religion that is founded upon any truth, that advocates vioence against another. If there is a monk, a preacher, an imam... a rabbi... whatever... that advocates death, that calls another an enemy... that one is an imposter, a fake and a fraud. And the same for governments.
Being 56 years old I remember a lot of the politics shadowing the Olympics over the years... John Carlos and Tommie Smith lowering their heads and giving the black power fist raising salute in Mexico City's 1968 Olympics:
...the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics:
and there were those games I don't remember (borrowing from Wikipedia's Olympics page here):
...the 1956 Olympic Games which were boycotted by the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland, because of the repression of the Hungarian Uprising by the Soviet Union; additionally, Cambodia, Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon, boycotted the games due to the Suez Crisis...
And some I do...
- In 1972 and 1976, a large number of African countries threatened the International Olympic Committee with a boycott, to force them to ban South Africa (Apartheid), Rhodesia, and New Zealand...
- In 1976 China itself used the Olympics to make a political statement when it told the Taiwan Olympics team it could not compete using the name "Republic of China"...
- Sixty-five nations refused to compete at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan...
- The Soviet Union and 14 of its Eastern Bloc partners (except Romania) countered by skipping the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, arguing the safety of their athletes could not be guaranteed there and "chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria are being whipped up in the United States"...
- Even pot/marijuana/reefer/ganja has held a position as an Olympics controversy when snowboarder Ross Rebagliati was stripped of his Gold Medal in 1998's Japan Winter Olympics for testing positive for cannabis, a medal later restored to Rebagliati when (IMHO) the situation came to the point where no one officially wanted to call the much maligned herb a "performance enhancing drug."
But now... even the world's highest mountain has become part of Olympic's controversy:
Olympic torch to scale Everest amid tight security
The flame could reach the summit as early as this weekend or early next week. Already, one American climber, who has been carrying a pro-Tibet flag, was kicked off the mountain and heavy security is reportedly enforcing the no-climb rule in effect from May 1 to May 10 in Nepal, which, like China, controls access to part of the mountain. Nepal's forces have reportedly been urged to shoot at protesters.
Humanity is not well. Its governments are even worse... if you are one of those agreeing with those of us calling for pressure on China over its human rights shame, please keep the pressure on. Tell your friends -- and your enemies if you have them -- to boycott the Olympics, tell President Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies...
And in one final note... I did not know that China was involved in Darfur (Sudan, Africa), but the recent announcement by Steven Spielberg to resign as artistic advisor to the Olympics because of China's muliple problematic situations involving Tibet and Darfur, brought that aspect of the issue to my attention. It seems China buys 2/3 of the oil produced by Sudan:
while selling it weapons and defending Khartoum in the U.N. Security Council. Fighting in Darfur has killed more than 200,000 people since 2003.
So... remember... Boycott: the sound of one hand not opening a wallet.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.