August 7, 2008

boycott

I am boycotting the Beijing Olympics, which start tomorrow. People are being forcibly deported from Beijing (Which I hear is happening in Vancouver in prep for the games there in 2010, and I might boycott them as well), children with athletic talent are allegedly taken from their parents as todllers and forced to train to become gold medalists one day, and their environmental standards are appalling; however, the straw that breaks the camel's back is how they are trading with and - even building infrastructure for - The genocide-crazed government of Darfur!

I'm sorry, but I can't let this be an Olympics where I turn a blind eye because I want to see Canadian rowers win races. Yes, no country is perfect. Lots of them have human rights abuses, and I don't always boycott even when they do. I want to support the world's athletes, and I like the idea of a sporting event symbolically dedicated to replacing war with sport and fostering world peace. But if it's about peace, why the hell are you awarding The Olympics to a country that props up genocide? I consider myself something of an anti-genocide activist, so maybe people might think I'm being melo-dramatic when I say that supporting governments who commit genocide by giving them money is basically as bad as doing it yourself. Still, when you deal with people with conduct genocide, while you aren't hacking a group of five year olds to death with your own hands, you're funding the people who pay for the knives....

The Olympics make lots of money. The host cities, Television networks, The BAY McDonald's and Coke all make more because of them. Well, I don't want to act like this money is earned fairly. This event is tarnished by essentially legitimizing China's crazy policies by allowing them to host the games. Sometimes Othering nations is the way to police them, so I'm boycotting the Beijing Games. I will not watch them and try not to read about them (though the latter might be hard. All countries doing shitty things, unfortunately, but where I draw the line is when they commit, or are accessories to, genocide. No nation has the right to obliterate another people's entire existence....They are not a normal happy nation that deserves praise for what it has become. For the people of Darfur, I offer this small, small individual gesture...For them, I will not watch....

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