Saturday, September 08, 2007

See No Evil?

The last time the Olympic Games were hosted by a dictatorship, America boycotted the event in protest at the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan (Moscow 1980).

On the previous such occasion, Adolf Hitler made propaganda out of Germany's hosting of the games in 1936.

As the months run down before the start of the 2008 games in Beijing, hardly anyone seems to be voicing concerns at the incongruity of the Olympics being hosted in the world's largest one-party dictatorship. I think we should be making a noise about it.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International published a report critical of China's continued poor human rights record ahead of the Olympics. "There is little evidence of improvement in other areas of human rights related to the Olympics -- and there has been increasing repression of human rights activism and domestic journalism" said Amnesty in April of this year. Click here for a recent example.

There is, meanwhile a small movement in Western nations seeking a Western boycott of the games in protest. Actor Richard Gere, meanwhile, has thrown his weight behind this call and is quoted by Reuters as saying that, "A general boycott to me certainly has value. Why should the world reward people who are obviously so bad to their own people."

Meanwhile, in case we do nothing, a short clip from 1936 to show what an Olympics can look like when hosted by a dictatorship.

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. (Edmund Burke)

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