"[T]he Olympic Games as an ideal of brotherhood and world community is passé. The Olympics is so obviously hypocritical that even the Neanderthals watching TV know what they're seeing can't be true. Even Neanderthals know that the Russians stomped the Czechs and that the Jews despise the Arabs and that racists rule the US. So, all of a sudden, the Olympics comes on TV - all this smiling and hand shaking, and even the Neanderthal has to sit up and say, "Hey, what the hell? How can that be? All year I watch nothin' but hate on TV; now they come on with the love! It's gotta be phony. The Olympics gotta be a put-on, man."
-- Harry Edwards, 1968
Once upon a time there was something called the Olympic Project for Human Rights.
The Olympic Project for Human Rights was an organization established by sociologist Harry Edwards. The aim was to protest racial apartheid in the US and South Africa and racism in sport generally. Most members of the OPHR were African American athletes or community leaders.
Human rights? the only rights the International Olympic Committee cares about are television rights. what were they thinking when the awarded the games to China? the Chinese government promised to respect human rights, but the repression in Tibet questions this commitment given to the Olympic committee.
Here is an excerpt from Wrydbyrd's Wyrld about politics and the Olympics:
"Olympic Boycotts** (take special note of number three, below—I thought the PRC didn’t believe in making the Games political?—oh, guess that was then)
1956, Melbourne: Boycotted by the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland, because of the suppression of the Hungarian Uprising by the Soviet Union. Cambodia, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon boycotted the games over the Suez Crisis.
1972 and 1976, Munich, Montreal: African countries threatened the IOC with a boycott, asking it to ban South Africa, Rhodesia, and New Zealand. The IOC conceded in the first 2 cases, but refused in 1976. Twenty-two countries (Guyana was the only non-African nation) boycotted the Montreal Olympics because New Zealand was not banned.
1976, Montreal: The People’s Republic of China (PRC) pressured Canada to bar the Taiwanese team from competing under the name Republic of China (ROC). The ROC refused the compromise that was suggested and did not participate again until 1984, when it returned under the name “Chinese Taipei.”
1980, 1984, Moscow, Los Angeles: Cold War opponents boycotted one anothers’ games. Sixty-five nations refused to compete at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, protesting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The boycott reduced the number of competing nations to 81, the lowest number since 1956. The Soviet Union and 14 Eastern Bloc nations (except Romania) countered by boycotting the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984."
In case the photo at the top of this post is unfamiliar to you, it was 1968 when Tommie Smith and John Carlos took their stand at the Mexico City Olympics to raise their black gloved fists in a demonstration of pride, power, and politics. Smith and Carlos were part of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) and they made their stand because of what was happening outside the stadium: the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, the growth of the Black Panthers, the May strikes in France, and the murders of 400 students and workers in Mexico City.
Afterward the International Olympic Committee said it was "a deliberate and violent breach of the fundamental principles of the Olympic spirit."
The actions of the Chinese government in Tibet are a deliberate and violent breach of the fundamental principles of the human spirit.
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