Torching Tibet

Hearing an apparatchik on yesterday’s news, conjuring up disturbing realpolitik regarding the demonstrations against China’s conduct in Tibet was just about as reprehensible as could be imagined. This Olympic Official said that the protesters were without political conviction and were just jumping on a new bandwagon to air their personal grievances and gain attention to themselves. This man ought to be subjected to Chinese justice.

The Olympics are no longer the clean dream of Baron de Coubertin. There is nothing innocent about them. They may be so for some drug-free athletes and a proportion of starry-eyed, blinkered spectators but they are also an arena for media wars, profiteering, cynical manipulation by Governments and a gravy train for their careerist representatives. The rings have become manacles.

It could be argued that choosing China for these games had a hidden agenda. The eyes of the world and all that guff – opening her up to international scrutiny. Making her more democratic. You just have to look at the eyes-of-the-world scenarios in Iraq, Darfur, Zimbabwe, Russia, Palestine and on, and on, to know that is economic realism and revolution that brings down regimes, not the eyes of a mainly self-interested world.

Whereas any campaign attracts agitators who have personal grievance, it will, if authentic and moral, gather momentum through international empathy fuelled by constant exposure. These days this is usually the result of the work of committed, honourable individuals, in direct action and using the internet. People can now talk openly to people – not sieved through the sanitised medium of the Official Spokesperson. News can no longer be glossed and standardised by endemic bias or direct intimidation. The result is that the path of the Olympic Torch illuminates, for all to see, China’s monstrous behaviour in Tibet rather than being, as China hoped, an internationally hallowed symbol of its undertakings and its honoured place among nations.

What more hideous counterpoint is there than the images of peaceful Tibetan monks, following their gentle and loving paths and a torch which now symbolises the burning of their culture?

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