Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in the Business Mirror, April 16,2008 edition, p. A10.
“It is unfortunate that the Olympics has been prostituted to politics.” – Tony Abaya, newspaper columnist
Hitler used the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics to showcase Aryan superiority. Too bad Jesse Owens showed up and showed him up.
Still, German athletes had an impressive harvest of medals in those games and that helped make the Nazi Party look good. The message of the 1936 Olympics was clear: a fascist system produced better human specimens than liberal democracies.
Seventy-two years later, the Chinese government, fascist, communist, totalitarian, imperialist, and capitalist all rolled into one, is using the Olympic Games to sell Deng Xiao Ping’s cockeyed notion of growth and development: “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.”
Too bad for Deng’s disciples, the Dalai Lama showed up and reminded us all that the color of the cat is what really counts. Human beings, after all, are more than just means to make money to buy pancit and under-aged virgins.
The Olympic Games cannot be separated from politics despite the ridiculous claim of Hein Verbruggen, head of the International Olympic Committee’s coordination commission for the 2008 Beijing Games, that “there is a very thick, fat red line between the two.” History shows otherwise.
Heracles created the Olympic games to honor his father, Zeus the god-king of Olympia. That’s politics, sports, and religion all rolled into one.
The Ancient Games also encouraged “good relations between the cities of Greece” because wars would be suspended while the games were going on. In modern times, the opposite is true. Olympic games were suspended to allow the world to wage two global wars uninterrupted by goodwill competitions.
The acknowledged father of modern Olympics, Pierre de Fredy, Baron de Coubertin, had other reasons besides world peace when he resurrected the Games.
Peter McKnight of the Vancouver Sun:
“[D]isturbed by France’s loss to the Prussians in the Franco-Prussian war when he was a child, Coubertin believed that France had become weak because its educational system focused almost exclusively on mental pursuits, in contrast to the Germans and the British, who also emphasized athletic activities.
“Sport therefore represented for Coubertin a way to restore France to its former glory. This is not to suggest that Coubertin encouraged sport to create better soldiers—as did many supporters of ancient Greek Olympics, including Plato—since Coubertin hoped that the Olympics would help lead to world peace.
“However praiseworthy, that is an explicitly political aim, a goal that goes far beyond the Olympic motto of Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger), which, incidentally, Coubertin proposed. And this reveals, as sports historian Allan Guttman said in a recent lecture at Harvard Law School, that the Olympic movement ‘really was a social and political movement.’”
Politics has always been at the heart of the Olympics so China will have to live with the consequences of hosting the Games before learning the art of public relations.
But all hope is not lost. There is a way for China to make the world forget about Tibet.
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, says: “During the ancient times normally only young men could participate. Competitors were usually naked, not only as the weather was appropriate but also as the festival was meant to be, in part, a celebration of the achievements of the human body.”
Naked Olympics! Beijing is hot during the summer.
With naked games, China can reasonably claim that politics should have no part in the Olympics because it is purely “a celebration of the achievements of the human body.”
The whole world can celebrate naked men wrestling each other to the ground, naked gymnasts swinging on uneven bars, a naked Maria Sharapova volleying fuzzy balls to a naked Serena Williams without giving a passing thought to politics.
China’s dictators can keep their body politic completely covered and they can proclaim:
“[N]o power on earth can block the dreams of the people of China and the world for peace and their pursuit of the Olympic spirit. The lighting of the Olympic flame in the Bird’s Nest stadium on August 8 will be a moment of pride for China and also for the whole world, as justice will finally defeat evil.” (People’s Daily)
Because the Beijing Olympics is really about realizing the dreams of Han Chinese like Fan Yang and Yu Yong of ZTE and Hu Haifeng, the x-ray manufacturer who was awarded the $465.5 million cyber-education project because his father, President Hu Jintao of China, lent Gloria Arroyo the money to do it. Justice triumphs over Evil, Beijing style.
Let’s liberate the people of Tibet first and then we play the Games. Au naturel, naturally.