Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Beijing Olympics

Originally posted to Xanga on January 25, 2008

So the 2008 Summer Olympics is this August. Are you excited? You know, I vaguely remember reading an article two years ago, shortly before the Winter Olympics, about how the television rating for the Olympics were going down, down, down. And I thought to myself, that's lame. I love the Olympics! I've looked forward to them since I was old enough to know about them. The Olympics have been like vacation for us - I remember being allowed to take time out of school to watch the Olympics, time to stay up late to watch the Olympics, time to discuss the Olympics fervently with my sisters and friends. So yeah, I'm excited!

Or, I was excited. I've never been a huge fan of China, mostly because it get such negative press from the media, but you can't deny that China isn't exactly "the model nation." In regards to the Beijing Olympics, I was optimistic, though. China has such extremely rich heritage; I knew it would be interesting. I was so excited, in fact, that I decided to write about the 2008 Beijing Olympics for my composition class. And naturally the first place I turned to for research was CNN. Yeah, I know. And what the search engine produces is an article about the people who have been displaced from their homes to make room for the Olympics Village.

Hold the phone? I was stunned. The pieces of the puzzle fell together for me. I was vaguely aware of what was going on with China politically - their involvement in Mayanmar and Darfur, as well as human rights' and workers' conditions. But the news this article informed me of was unpalatable. I did a little more research, and the more I learned, the more disenchanted I became with the Beijing Olympics.

Many argue that an Olympics in Beijing would further open up the nation to democratic ideals. Yeah, just like free trade advocates argue that free trade would open China up to democratic ideals. See how that's going?

Think back to the last time a communist nation hosted the Olympics. Yeah, USSR. They were determined to prove themselves through the competition, and would stop at nothing to do so. The Games were a sham! There was blatant rule breaking by the USSR, and it was a Games that left a bad taste in everyone's mouths. And the time before that? Yeah, Germany. Commonly called Hitler's Olypmics. Also a regime trying to prove itself, only this time through racial slurs. There were no Jews on Germany's team. This Games, too, was a disaster. And people expect the Beijing Olympics to be different?

I know better than most that the spirit of the Olympics is friendly competition between nations, a way to bring countries together. And I want to believe that spirit will be preserved in the Beijing Olympics, but history tells us otherwise. Besides, why would the United States want to be a part of a Games that is so marked by blatant barreling over the rights of life and property? I wish with all my heart that the United States would boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but there's no hope left for that.

Enjoy the Games!

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