Friday, August 09, 2013

Eyes of the World

The call to boycott (or change venue) for the 2014 Winter Olympics is picking up.

If it actually has any effect remains to be seen, but I'm not hopeful.

With hundreds of millions invested and time running out, one would think it is logistically impossible to move the games back to the last site, Vancouver.  It would seem Sarajevo is out.

It is true that I advocated for the boycott of the games a few weeks back and I stand by that.

I commend Obama for canceling his one-on-one with Putin in a few weeks, though he will be in Russia for the G8 summit.  I hate the fact that he went on Leno and glossed over, more than he could have, about the human rights abuses of LGBT people in Russia.  It might have boded well if Barack seemed to know these were the Winter games and not the Summer ones (since he cited, swimming, diving, balance beam, etc - and not curling, skating or skiing).

I commend George Takei going on MSNBC (I thought the MS was dropped after the Microsoft affiliation went bust!) and let NBC off the hook too easily for the feathers and down statement they gave on still covering the Winter Games.

Here is where Takei sort of failed, though he wasn't privy to the statement ahead of time.  And it is where arguments to not boycott, from the likes Greg Louganis, falls flat as well.

The call for boycott or moving of the venue has NOTHING to do with the "spirit of the games". Quite the opposite.

If the games are truly about "unifying people", then NBC needs to take a closer look at the persecution, jailing, torture and deportation of LGBT or their supporters.

Singling out and punishing gay folk and their supporters has nothing to do with unification.  Of course, NBC is only talking about athletes and spectators. Their interest does not lie with the Russian population outside the Olympic Village.

And Greg - we all get that these athletes have trained forever for this moment.  I empathize with them, but not as much as I (or you should) with how LGBT people (or anyone else Putin might decide is a "threat") are treated in Russia.  Get your head out of your ass Louganis, this isn't just about the athletes.

How about we leave you over in Russia for a few months after the games close to see how comfortable you are

While many organizations have made this about how and if athletes and supporters are treated during the games, that is so fucking wrong. What about the folks left behind once the cameras are off?

Sorry that you shusshing down the mountains or doing your half-camel to get a worthless piece of medal is in jeopardy, but at least it is not your physical life.

Yes, I believe there are comparisons to the 1936 games in Berlin and how Hitler used those to his own advantage.  I love how folks think "oh that's not happening again", when it clearly is, right in front of us. But those who forget know the rest.   They're not forgetting, it is worse - they're ignoring, in favour of the almighty dollar or who racks up the most medals.

But it's not Berlin I'm thinking about.  It is Munich 1972.

Since the IOC can't guarantee (and they cannot, no matter what the Russian gov't tells them) that there won't be prosecution and deportation of gay athletes, sponsors, television crews or spectators (it's assumed - at least by me - that they are not stopping persecution with their own citizens), the idea of armed gunman making murderous appearances seem to be quite the possibility.....all in the name of anti-gay beliefs.

To me, this is much more of a possibility than an actual boycott or moving the games. But at least Brian Williams and Lester Holt will be over there to report it live.  Good for them!  {yes, sarcasm}

Sadly, it is not enough for only the U.S. to boycott the games. It has to be several large nations for this to make an impact. We are already seen in a bad light there and if we are the only no-shows, propaganda from Russia makes us look like spoiled children. The impact needs to mean something.

The ideal would be to actually move the games. Everyone gets to participate (except Russia?), Russia doesn't get the economic windfall (though I think usually the expenses override any potential profit) and they're called out for what they are.

About 350.000 have signed a petition to have the IOC to "speak out" against anti-gay laws in Russia. Oooooh.  "speak out".  That should teach them.

I'll admit, I signed it, only because it probably does more than tossing Stoli vodka down the sewer.  But I'm not hopeful that it will do anything. Hell, I'm not even hopeful the IOC will do anything but hit the 'trash' key on their laptop.

Song by: Fleetwood Mac


Ur-spo said...

I don't have enough facts to decide: I see some worth to go and have a 'gay old time' and see what happens.
I don't plan on watching anything.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a boycott will work. What I really worry about is our LGBT athletes becoming martyrs. I don't want to see that. Ever.

Anonymous said...


this is happening starting tomorrow, it split off in 84 or so from
'olimpics"...if these guys don't care the ioc isn't worried no are the sponsors...Americans are there now competeing, like tomorrow, so human rights aren't an issue for these games...sad that no one is talking about the IAAF world championships....