11 April 2008

Olympic fallout

Olympic sponsors:
Atos Origin; BOCOG; Coca-Cola; DB Schenker; General Electric; Johnson & Johnson; Kodak; Lenovo; Manulife; McDonald’s; Mizuna; Omega; Panasonic; Samsung; Visa

Protest the Olympics with your wallet. you don't need those Chicken McNuggets. your heart will thank you.

Vanessa has a great post about Bush boycotting the Olympics. Obama and Clinton have called for a boycott of the opening ceremony and McCain condemns China's oppression of Tibet. well, duh.

You know Bush won't boycott, but don't get me started on this. I'm tired. instead, let me post some stuff that other people are saying....

How San Francisco Became Beijing for a Day

"Democracy took a dive in San Francisco yesterday.

Earlier this week, the International Olympic Committee was considering scrapping the entire Olympic torch run due to the controversy and protests surrounding it. Apparently, PR-value and face-saving prevailed over common sense, and rather than cancel the contentious run, the IOC, the City of San Francisco, and the Chinese government collaborated to make the run happen in the only way possible -- they transformed the City into Beijing for a day.

At first I watched with mild amusement as police officers, secret service, and Chinese officials went to comical lengths to disguise the torch route and prevent protesters from approaching. Like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, the torch was hurriedly moved from one mode of transportation to the next, from boat to van to ... Duck Truck? However, my amusement soon gave way to anger, as the charade developed into an ugly display of first amendment violations and thuggish police tactics, and everything the City of San Francisco stands for was trampled on. People's Armed Police -- the same force implicated in the shootings of unarmed Tibetans on the Tibet-Nepal border -- roamed freely through the streets. Tibetans with flags were forced to vacate public gathering spaces while Chinese nationals were allowed to remain. A phalanx of riot cops -- five deep -- guarded the torch at every step, shoving protesters out of the way."

This is an email I received from a friend who works in San Francisco:

"The coworkers and I were out at lunchtime...and suddenly we heard a thunderstorm of motorcycles, long before we saw them. We stopped, and noticed unmarked black sedans (you know, the FBI type of official looking vehicle where the glass is so tinted you can't see inside) parked on both sides of the street....about twenty of those, and then the 50 + SFPD motorcycles were moving fast down the street...and we noticed they were protecting a big bus...again with the tinted windows...the motorcycle cops all took positions in front of the bystanders watching this weird parade, glaring at us...behind the bus were some pretty expensive shiney SUV security vehicles...then they were gone."

Rogge says Olympics in Crisis

"The protest-marred Olympic torch relay and international criticism of China's policies on Tibet, Darfur and human rights have turned the Beijing Games into one of the most politically charged in recent history and presented the IOC with one of its toughest tests since the boycott era of the 1970s and '80s.

"It is a crisis, there is no doubt about that," IOC President Jacques Rogge said Thursday. "But the IOC has weathered many bigger storms."

At the same time, Rogge called on China to respect its "moral engagement" to improve human rights and to fulfill promises of greater media freedom. He also reaffirmed the right of free speech for athletes at the Beijing Games.

Rogge, who has come under pressure from critics to speak out on China, was asked whether he had second thoughts about awarding the games to Beijing seven years ago.

'I've said that it is very easy with hindsight to criticize the decision,' he said. 'It's easy to say now that this was not a wise and a sound decision.'

But Rogge insisted Beijing had 'clearly the best bid' and offered the strong pull of taking the Olympics to a country with one-fifth of the world's population.

'That was the reasoning for awarding the bid to Beijing.'"

(emphasis supplied. DUH!)

While we're all dissing the Chinese government, let's not forget the Chinese dissidents who risk their lives to protest repression.

Go to Sirensongs' blog and read her April 3 post about the protests at the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.

(original Sirensongs photo)

I'm tired. sick and tired.




  1. The thing I keep thinking as I watch news coverage and read blogs about the Olympic controversy is why can't we work up the same kind of passion and take to the streets energy to protest what our own government is doing in our names to kill, maim, and in many ways large and small destroy the lives of the people in Iraq. We still haven't finished taking care of the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina or the way our own government bails out corporations and ignores the people made homeless by the greed of corporations. I could go on and on. If we want to protest all the atrocities around the world, I'm good with that--but let's not forget we are a perpetrator of atrocities, we are becoming "The Evil Empire." Why don't we take to the streets to protest the wrong doings of U.S.?

  2. I am right there with ya, Utah, believe me.

    I'm an old protester from way back -- viet nam war, women's lib, farmworkers, all of it. what I see in my neck of the woods, which is white bread suburbia, is that people are so caught up in their own dramas, getting worked up about something outside their own little world is way too much work. it takes too much effort.

    so I do my own thing, teaching yoga at a women's shelter, writing letters, living green...'cause most people don't want to march with me!

  3. Sister Grrrl, I'll march with you. Where do you live? I'm on my way. The thing about young Obama supporters is their willingness to put themselves out there--to volunteer, to walk the neighborhoods, to make calls, to organize block parties, fund raisers. So for the first in a long time, I am hopeful. Si, se puedes!
    Did I spell that right?

    I have a very dear, close friend from my life as a small time fashionista, who still works in the industry. If you read my story called Aging Barbie Takes on EST she the one who said that wonderful line, "Fuck you, eunuch!" Well, she's about to saddle up and head for her job slapping powder on the noses of the on-camera network personalities who will be covering the Olympics. She has traveled the world doing this sort of thing and in that way I cheer her on and admire her sense of adventure. Once in an exotic local, after the event requiring powder is over, she heads off for the time of her life and has racked up some impressive frequent flyer miles. Still, this time I'm scared for her. But before we turned China into a capitalist monster and borrowed all our money from her, I longed to go there. This accounts for the three semesters of Chinese in my long distant past, sadly now mostly forgotten.

  4. Great Blog. Thanks for your hard work.
    Money IS the motivator. I WILL boycott and encourage others to do so as well.
    May I quote you?

  5. One interesting item I ran across in the past week is that the modern Olympic Torch Run was actually started by the Germans for the 1936 Olympics. It was their way of having a Triumphal Tour while they scoped out the neighbours for what we all remember starting a few years later. It's not nearly the holistic, auspicious occasion we've been given to believe.

    I was invited to participate as a US contestant in the Iron Man event this year but I'm boycotting.



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