Tuesday, February 26, 2002
The Winter Olympics
Watching parts of the closing cermony of the Salt Lake City Games yesterday, I was struck by the hypocrisy of the whole event. At a time when the U.S.A. is conducting a technically illegal war of indeterminate duration and scope, detaining hundreds of Moslem men without charge in metal cages open to the elements at Camp X-Ray, and making bellicose threats against any state or group it happens to hold a grudge against, it has the nerve to masquerade as a proponent of human fraternity under the Olympic banner. The sickly sentimentality which pervaded almost all the ceremony was more reminiscent of a kindergarten Christmas play that a major international sporting event. Expressions such as "the human family" totally fly in the face of current policy making and execution in Washington D.C. Moreover, the organizers took every opportunity to include images and sentiments of U.S. patriotism, self-pride and self-satisfaction into these suppossedely international celebrations.
No thought obviously for the horrors being simultaneously committed by the U.S.A.'s ally, Israel, against Palestinian civilians and security personnel in violation of international law. No thought for the very real worries of imminent war felt by the people of the Korean Peninsula in the wake of President Bush's "axis of evil" speech. No thought for the spectacular hypocricy of denouncing the abuses of the electroral process in Zimbabwe while maintaining a U.S. protection force of thousands in dictatorial Kuwait.
Clearly, it would be wrong to castigate the entire American people for the actions of their government. Wronger still to attack the sportsmen and women of the Olympics on the same basis. But, to suppose that for a little over 2 weeks the U.S.A. has strengthened the cause of human fraternity is laughable.