Just some thoughts and ideas going around in my head while trying to figure out where I am and where everyone else is going.

Monday, April 7, 2008

One World, One Dream

I will admit the first time that I heard or even thought about boycotting the Beijing Olympic Games was by reading a post written by the blogger Mes Deux Cents. She had suggested that in order to protest against the actions of the Chinese in Darfur, she would think about boycotting the games and asked if athletes and others should do the same. At the time I said no, but now I’m not so sure.

Like most people, I don’t know about the specific arguments against having the games in China but I am aware of the general disagreements that the world has. I am aware of the human rights violations, the arms for oil deal China has with the Sudan, the oppression of religion and civil rights in Tibet and I start wonder where my 50’s “fight the power” itch is.

Recently, I have seen the disruption of the lighting of the torch in Athens. I have watched the BBC show video of protestors in London express their anger against the games in China. I have observed on CNN the police in Paris dressed as if they were auditioning for American Gladiator protecting the torch on its way through the city streets. And today some people were arrested in San Francisco for unfurling the banner, One World, One Dream over the Golden Gate Bridge in anticipation of the torch arriving there on Wednesday. Angela Merkel of Germany and Nikolas Sarcosi of France both say that they will not be attending the opening ceremonies and Senator Clinton has or asked President Bush to avoid the ceremonies as well and still I question what good will all this do.

After all, a good Olympic event makes for good PR for China. It gives bragging rights for the country to say how good and progressive it is. It helps legitimize the Chinese government public policy and justify the direction that they are taking. And if it doesn’t then the Chinese may just say “oh well” and start counting the cash that they took in.

Perhaps the only way to effectively to protest against the Games in Beijing is to stop financing it. Perhaps if the public stopped supporting American and multi-national companies like McDonalds and Coca-Cola that are sponsoring the Games then maybe whatever political statements that people wanted to say would at least be heard.

Of course by not supporting these industries, one must wonder who would be hurt most, the Chinese government or the ordinary worker trying to make living. If the country and possibly the world is heading for recession, then who really will be hurt most? I suspect it will be those who are trying to feed themselves and their families.

I guess people who are inclined to do so will protest any which way they can. I for one will protest in my own way. I shall stay up late and watch NBC and the track events but refuse to watch the commercials.


  1. I'm glad you posted this info. I was unsure of why people were protesting the games in China. Now I know and I will call McDonald's a second time thanking them for their support of the SGL community but encourage them to make a stand aginst the political practices of the chinese government.

  2. Hahaha I'm not going to watch the commercials during the track events either...so that's two of us now! :-)

  3. Whozhe - Whoa, hold on a minute. Let me be clear before someone decides to sue me. I just assumed Mickey D is a sponsor only because they are among the ususal suspects. I don't really know at this time that they are, but.. they've been the official fast food vendor for the last 20 years at the games so why not this year.
    D - And they say black people don't protest enough these days. I don't know where they get that from, I swear.

  4. I think this movement is getting stronger eac day - maybe it will bring atention to the continent like never before

  5. T - I'm sure it will, but China is one big dragon that the world is going to find hard to subdue.

  6. Very interesting entry (Boycotting The Beijing Olympic) while this has been all over the headlines and you couldn't turn the television evening news on without hearing about this, and yet I still have somewhat of a problem understanding this issue it is most difficult even intricated, and certainly a conundrum.

    I have been subjected on campus to the marching and protest, and I have been intending to stop and have a conversation with one of the students in reference to this issue, but my visits to the campus are generally preoccupied with meetings and training sessions. yes the students here at UW march and protest about everything and this week China.

    That is really shameful that the arrival of the Torch Ceremony had to be altered and treated as if this was the March on Selma, Alabama (Bloody Sunday).

    Your opinion seems to be strong and you have even found a way to show your support or lack of support.

    Curious you are so intellectual and we do appreciate your blog. thanks.

  7. Chet - "you have even found a way to show your support or lack of support", I think you have found me out. But I'll let you know 20 years ago I would have found a way to protest physically and then felt good about dodging the police and arrest. Nowadays, I have too much support payments to make to do things like that, the 1 for Miss Mastercard being the chief among them.


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