Friday, August 08, 2008

Should we watch the Beijing Olympics?

AP/Yves Logghe
OK, so I'm watching the Beijing Olympics. Should we not watch it because it's in China, a nation with one of the worst human rights records. I think if the Olympic spirit meant anything today, Beijing would not be the site of these Olympic games. But we didn't award China the games. The Chinese government suppresses freedom inside the country and supports genocide outside its borders (Sudan). By attending the Opening Ceremonies heads of state like Bush are legitimating the behavior of the Chinese leadership. No matter what they say. Had they wanted to condemn China's behavior they would have not appeared there and told the world why. I have never believed - once the International Olympic Committee awards the games to a nation that the athletes should be punished by a boycott. But heads of state like Bush don't have to indulge themselves and enhance the prestige of the host country by attending. But, as we know, human rights have never been at the top of Bush's agenda.

Unlike the NBC commentators ( who, I believe, are under orders not to anger the host country) I thought the opening ceremonies were way over the top. They were too big, too loud and just too much. But the evening was saved for us by the parade of athletes. The best moment of the evening was when Chinese basketball giant Yao Ming walked in with a nine-year-old boy who had escaped the earthquake and went back to rescue his schoolmates. When asked then why he went back, he simply said: "I was a hall monitor and it was my responsibility." I hope he is China's future, not the monsters currently in charge. Yao Ming kept an eye on him (holding him up most of the time) the rest of the evening - it was a lovely sight.

Well it's almost time, let the games begin.

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