Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tarnishing the spirit?

OLYMPIC  WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

The Daily Telegraph (Au) had an interesting editorial today…

"Part of the Beijing bid committee's pledge for an Olympics, though, was that a win for China would encourage the country to clean up its human rights act.

Yet you wouldn't know it. Last week Amnesty International released a report detailing how, with less than two years to go, China has failed to live up to its promise of improving its human rights record.

"Serious human rights violations continue to be reported across the country, fuelling instability and discontent,'' the report said.

"Grassroots human rights activists continue to be detained and imprisoned and official controls over the media and the internet grow tighter.''

The IOC, as corrupt an organisation as you could ever shovel onto the compost heap, now appears willing to let go the Bejing bid committee's promise.

The Beijing committee has already stated it believes the Olympics and human rights are separate issues. The IOC has been disgracefully complicit.

"It is premature to say China has failed to live up to the promises two years before the Games,'' IOC communications director Giselle Davies said.

An IOC spokesman said it was "unrealistic to expect the IOC to pressure on such complex matters'' as human rights.

Despite this being one of the very platforms the Beijing committee used as bait for votes - amazing.

As far back as 1935 the IOC showed it had no social conscience. The fear then was Hitler's Nazi Germany.

Then US Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage said: "Frankly, I don't think we have any business to meddle in this question. We are a sports group.''

The IOC pushed ahead with the Games a year later. If not for the single miracle of Jesse Owens those Games would have been remembered for very different reasons.

"Slavery Avery'', who went on to head the IOC, was the man who famously and callously declared, "the Games must go on,'' after the 1972 Israeli massacre. He more than anybody shaped the single arrogance that stands today.

Not that Australia has not also had its brushes. Shortly after Soviet tanks crushed the revolt in Hungary in 1956, the Olympic flame was lit in Melbourne. When Hungary met Russia in the water polo, emotions still raw, they say the water turned red with blood.

Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands had already withdrawn to boycott the Soviet march while Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq were also missing from Melbourne, protesting against Israel's move into the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza strip.

The treatment of kangaroos certainly doesn't warrant an Olympic boycott - but a protest must be made.

Hundreds of young Australians will head to Beijing in two years, a place where many people are not allowed to share the same rights they flourish under. Will they go only to compete? Or will the kangaroo spirit be spoiled for more than one fight?" (more)

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