Monday, August 25, 2008

A View of the Olympics

As much as I admire those who can do great feats of athleticism, I must share that the 2008 Olympics didn't make a blip on my world. I did see Usain's amazing 100 meter race. I did see Phelp's superhuman achievements, but has anything changed? It seems like the China of the past has faded into the dim recesses of our memories.

We should remember, or consider, that this is all a fa├žade. It is a front for the world to see. Reporters and journalists, broadcasters and news outlets have brought us images of China that have shown us technological advance and historical beauty. The Olympic event itself has shown us athletes of the world at their best. But don't forget, this is a world in which Britney's underwear, or lack thereof, and the opening of The Dark Knight can seem like real news.

I'm not the first to say this but I will. What Were They Thinking?

What were they thinking by bringing attention to a country that has a poor civil rights record?

I wonder, as I've watched the media unfold this event with an idle curiosity, has this country really changed? I'd venture to suggest that the only things that China has changed is that it has learned to hide its dirty laundry.

But will its human rights be brought to those who have been oppressed be restored by bringing world attention to it?

I also could wonder why China invited such scrutiny in the first place. But on reflection, it might well have been about economics and validation. But has anything really changed?

As the world demands more Chinese products, do I believe that workers rights will be enforced? That people will no longer be jailed without trial, even killed without justice being served? I think not. Perhaps Tiananmen Square is in the past, but only driven underground, not gone.

At this moment, the Chinese are drawing a sigh of relief as the reporters and journalists are packing up their mikes and cameras. Sports fans and curiosity seekers are similarly packing their souvenirs, digging out their passports and taking cabs to the airport.

The Outsiders are going home, and China is resuming business... business as usual.

Contributed by Jamie Naessens

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