Politics of Olympics

WILLINGLY or inadvertently, the manner of abuse being heaped upon the Olympic torch serves nobody’s purpose.

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Published: Wed 9 Apr 2008, 10:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:54 PM

In fact, it embarrasses positions of all stakeholders that circumstances have tied to the event. After years of intense efforts to portray the Olympics as shining brighter than ever in tandem with Chinese glory, Beijing finds itself at the centre of a desperate PR drive as rights groups, politicians and governments exploit its current compulsions. Tibetans have shed tears and blood for greater autonomy, yet despite the Dalai Lama’s calls for calm groups around the world are pitching in to disrupt Olympic proceedings that will do little for Tibetan freedom. As for the Games themselves, their admirable slogan of celebrating mankind is getting increasingly wrapped in ugly politics that will only harm their status.

Statesmen and politicians across the world are urged to display maturity and keep politics separated from the Olympics. The likes of Nicolas Sarkozy, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi become cause for unnecessary friction by advocating boycotting the Games’ opening to further their own political standpoints. Already the Olympic hierarchy is considering scrapping the pre-games march after the Beijing games are over.

At the risk of repetition, it has already been brought home to China that a revision of its Tibet policy is in order. Adding further insult to injury and rubbishing the Olympic Games in the process risks undoing whatever little gains have been achieved. There is still time for sane counsel to prevail, the first measure of which would be to allow the Games to proceed uninterrupted.

The Tibetans are a proud race worthy of admiration. Few can deny the weight of their argument, which makes a pragmatic solution all the more important as implied by none other than their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. For capitals like Paris that apparently share their viewpoint, it would no doubt be more prudent to follow political discourse rather than politicising the Olympic Games.

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