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Posts Tagged ‘Olympic Games’

Olympic Heroes

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 27, 2008

Since this Summer will see the Olympics Hosted by China, a highly controversial choice due to the Human Rights violations that we all know is being committed both in-side China and out-side, in Tibet, I think it’s proper to remind people of a few good things that can come of such an event. The prime example is the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

Two of the heroes there were Jesse Owens and Lutz Long.

Jesse Owens 200 meter dasah start

It is important because if the world, including the US had boycotted those 1936 Olympics on account of the Human Rights Violations Hitler and his Minions committed before, during and after those Olympic Games, we would never have seen the picture above – Reproduction of photograph in “Die Olympischen Spiele, 1936″ p.27, 1936.”Jesse Owens at start of record breaking 200 meter race.”- Jesse Owens would nopt have been a Olympic Gold Medalist on 100 and 200 meters sprint, 4×100 m relay nor would he have been the Olympic Gold Medalist in Long jump.

Jesse Owens himself credited the Long Jump Gold Medal to Lutz Long, his fiercest competitor and Olympic Silver Medalist, whom Owens claimed had helped him with his technique: According to Owens, Long went to him and told him to try and jump from a spot several inches behind the line. Since Owens routinely made distances far greater than the minimum of 7.15m required to advance, Long surmised that Owens would be able to safely advance to the next round without risking another foul while trying to push for a greater distance.[…]”It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler… You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the twenty-four karat friendship that I felt for Lutz Long at that moment.” —Jesse Owens on being advised and congratulated by Luz Long at the 1936 Summer Olympics.”
Would that have been possible without the Summer Games of 1936? No.
Funnily enough, Jesse Owens’ great-nephew Chris Owens is a member of the German basketball league team ALBA Berlin. Might it be that he is because his great-uncle once had the guts to befriend a German? We probably won’t ever know, but I don’t hold for implausible that this might be the case.
Let’s remember people like Jesse Owens this summer, and do what Jimmy Carter didn’t – separate Sports from Politics, as Jesse Owens pleaded with him:

“A few months before his death, Owens had tried unsuccessfully to convince President Jimmy Carter not to boycott the 1980 Olympics held in Moscow, arguing that the Olympic ideal was to be a time-out from war and above politics.”

Lutz Long (left) and Jesse Owens, Summer Olympics Berlin 1936

The Story of Jesse Owens and Lutz Long, apart from telling a story about an Olympic Gold Medalist who would not have been, had the Summer Olympics been boycotted, also shows that Sports is above and beyond Politics.

Yes, horrible things went on in Germany at the time. But a boycott would not have changed that. The Story of Long and Owens further show us that in the midst of horrible events friends can be made, tricks and tips can be shared for the betterment of people. Many Athletes going to the Summer Olympics in Bejing 2008 will only have one chance to be seen, be applauded by the world, will only have one chance to be an Olympian. For us not to be there and cheer them on is as much a betrayal of the Olympian Ideal as it would have been for Jesse Owens to refuse help from Lutz Long based on his nationality and the actions government of his country. Let’s also remember that if Lutz Long had chosen not to help Jesse Owens on account of his skin-color, that too would have been a betrayal of the Olympian Ideal, and it would most likely have made Lutz Long a general Nobody in history, because there would have been no story to tell.

As a Human Rights Activist I see myself as obligated to try and find fairness and balance , look for when the human and the political collide and protect the human from political decisions that violates the rights of the Human. In this case I see the line between the Athletes and the Activists, and I stand firmly with the Athletes in their right to be sportsmen, not political pawns.



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Olympic torch lit despite protest

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 24, 2008

Olympic Torch Relay ProtestThe Olympic torch has been lit at a ceremony in Greece that was briefly disrupted by pro-Tibet activists. Protesters from media rights group Reporters Without Borders broke through the cordon of 1,000 police officers in Olympia as China’s envoy spoke.Activists had vowed to protest over the violence in and around Tibet.The torch will now be carried around Greece before being sent to China to start a journey through 20 countries, returning to Beijing on 8 August.

The route includes the torch being taken to the top of Mount Everest and through Tibet.

See map of Olympic torch relay route

As Liu Qi, head of the Beijing Olympic organising committee, spoke ahead of the torch lighting, three men broke into the ceremony venue.

One ran up behind him attempting to display a black flag depicting the Olympic rings made from handcuffs.

The men were from the France-based media rights watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders, or RSF), which has called for a boycott of the opening ceremony of the games. More…

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Chinese Target Practice

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 17, 2008

At least 80 people have been killed in unrest following protests by Tibetans against Chinese rule, the Tibetan government in exile says. Indian-based officials said the figure was confirmed by several sources, even though China put the death toll at 10.

The Dalai Lama called for an international inquiry into China’s crackdown, accusing it of a “rule of terror” and “cultural genocide”.

Chinese troops were out in force in Lhasa, Tibet’s main city, on Sunday.

Chinese Target Practice

Hong Kong Cable TV reported that about 200 military vehicles, each carrying 40 to 60 armed soldiers, had driven into the city.

Loudspeakers broadcast messages, such as: “Discern between enemies and friends, maintain order.”

China tightly restricts Western journalists’ access to Tibet and it is sometimes extremely difficult to verify what is going on.

This is one of the issues I targeted in Anti-Semitism, A Global Issue as one of the issues that does not get enough attention by Human Rights Groups and Organizations.

2008 is an Olympic Year, and yet the protests and the actions are few and far between. A Free, or at least Autonomous Tibet has been an issue since 1950, almost as long a Israel/Palestine. Yet it has not sparked as much controversy or agitation as Israel/Palestine, especially not in those who most vocally claim to be Guardians of Human Rights for the Downtrodden. It’s pathetic.

Oh, there are a few devout souls of fire who have done more than most, and who relentlessly have brought the plight of the Tibetans to the eye of the world, but China is not being criticized as harshly, or as mercilessly as f.i Israel/Palestine by f.i the Left. The neo-cons will criticize, but their criticism is mostly based in political concerns, rather than in a true sense of out-rage that human rights are being violated. In this respect, the New Left is no better than the Neo-cons when it comes to China and Tibet.

China has a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and a veto vote, why it’s really hard to get to China through UN actions. Another reason the UN needs a thorough reform.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (AP) — The president of the International Olympic Committee rejected the idea of boycotting the Summer Games in Beijing over China’s crackdown in Tibet, saying it would only hurt athletes.

Bejing 2008

“We believe that the boycott doesn’t solve anything,” Jacques Rogge told reporters Saturday on this Caribbean island. “On the contrary, it is penalizing innocent athletes and it is stopping the organization from something that definitely is worthwhile organizing.”

Demonstrations against Chinese rule in Tibet on Friday — the most violent riots there in nearly two decades — left at least 30 protesters dead, according to a Tibetan exile group. Tibetan exiles in India reported as many as 100 dead.

China ordered tourists out of Tibet’s capital and troops patrolled the streets on Saturday.

On a six-day tour of the Caribbean, Rogge expressed condolences for the victims and said he hopes calm will be restored immediately. He declined to say whether the committee would change its stance if violence continues or more people are killed.

“The International Olympic Committee has consistently resisted calls for a boycott of the Olympic games,” Rogge said. He declined to comment further on Tibet during a brief news conference.

The head of the Swiss Olympic Committee told state-owned DRS radio that he is against a boycott but wants the IOC to intervene with China over the troubles in Tibet.

“The Rubicon has been crossed,” Joerg Schild said. “I can’t bring myself to say that we’re going to go there and do sport.”

Personally I agree with Rogge on the issue of mixing sports and politics, however I think that it was mistake to even nominate China, and then accepting that it would host an Olympic Game as long as it hasn’t cleaned up its Human Rights record.

Jacques Rogge promised that Human Rights would be high on the priority list when the IOC discussed the 2008 Games with China. He is now going back on his promise – and no “declined to comment further on Tibet during a brief news conference.” I am sorry, Jacques, but you have your rear full of Tibet and China’s Human Rights violations, all because you did not keep your promise.

Olympic Gag Order

British Olympic chiefs are to force athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China’s appalling human rights record – or face being banned from travelling to Beijing.

The move – which raises the spectre of the order given to the England football team to give a Nazi salute in Berlin in 1936 – immediately provoked a storm of protest.

The controversial clause has been inserted into athletes’ contracts for the first time and forbids them from making any political comment about countries staging the Olympic Games.

It is contained in a 32-page document that will be presented to all those who reach the qualifying standard and are chosen for the team.

From the moment they sign up, the competitors – likely to include the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips and world record holder Paula Radcliffe – will be effectively gagged from commenting on China’s politics, human rights abuses or illegal occupation of Tibet.

This is a gag-order. As far as I know, Britain isn’t the only country to take this measure. It is a violation in itself of the Athletes’ Freedom of Expression. It also plays into the hands of the Chinese Government as they will see how Democratic Countries deny the Human Rights of it’s citizens.


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