Changing China

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Politics and the Olympics over the years

June 6, 2008

WASHINGTON – The Olympics are supposed to be all about sports, not politics, right?


Although the Games began in 1896 with the hope that sporting events between nations could bring about a more peaceful world, they have not escaped politics.

Over the past 112 years, nations have boycotted the Games for political reasons, others have been denied entry by the International Olympic Committee and in 1972 Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian insurgents.

Click here for a photo slideshow “Politics and the Olympics”, narrated by noted American sportswriter Frank Deford published by the U.S.-based Council of Foreign Relations.


“sporting events between nations could bring about a more peaceful world,”

Isn’t that a political agenda ? Events with a political agenda are, of course, political. Purely political.

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“Walking for the Earth”

For the last five months, several hundred Native Americans and their supporters walked coast-to-coast through 26 states, gathering on-the-ground testimonials about pressing environmental and cultural concerns.

Arriving in Washington, D.C., July 11, after walking more than 8,000 miles along two routes from San Francisco, the Longest Walk 2 coalition, representing more than 100 Native American Nations, delivered a 30-page manifesto and list of demands to Congress, which included climate change mitigation, environmental sustainability, the protection of sacred sites, and items regarding Native American sovereignty and health.

“As we walked through this land we were horrified to see the extent in which Mother Earth has been raped, ravaged and exploited,” noted the Manifesto for Change.

The trek commemorates the 1978 Longest Walk, a similar campaign that led to the defeat of 11 anti-Native American bills pending in Congress and the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.

To read the rest of this article, see lking-for-the-earth/


“Protest begins at Home”

“This ‘Shut up and play’? That’s not okay. That’s not the Olympics.” So wrote Sports Illustrated’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, joining a rising chorus of sportswriters criticizing the pre-emptive repression of speech of Olympic athletes.It’s no doubt worthy of their ire.

The British Olympic Association told its teams in writing that they are forbidden to speak out “on any politically sensitive issues.” Other countries have done the same.

Canadian Olympic Committee President Dick Pound made crystal clear to the Canadian Olympians, “If it is so tough for you that you can’t bear not to say anything, then stay at home.” USA basketball and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “None of these athletes [has] a responsibility to be political. They have the responsibility to represent their country.” And International Olympic Committee head Jacques Rogge has also said that “political factors” need to be kept away from the games.

To read the rest of this article, see otest-begins-at-home/


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