Monday, April 07, 2008

Lighting The Way To Freedom In Tibet

Appropriate that French officials extinguished the Olympic flame today. The light of freedom was snuffed out in Tibet long ago.

In London yesterday, the torch relay was met by protests. Not just discontented ex-Tibetans, but ordinary people turned up to show China that their appalling behavior has not gone unnoticed. There were scuffles and some were arrested when they tried to steal the torch.

When Hitler used the Olympics to showcase his Aryan nation, no one said anything. When Jesse Owens, the great American track star who just happened to be quite non-Aryan, won one race after another and Hitler fumed, no one voiced a concern about Nazism.

How times have changed. This time around, it's China that's looking to use the Olympics as a showcase for their brand of Communism, in which all are equal, but some are more equal than others. This time around, the world is stepping up, giving voice to their protests.

Athletes train for years, all for that one chance that comes but every four years. They should not be asked to give up a dream for the sake of politics.

Thinking of going to the Olympics in Beijing? Don't go. Planning to attend so that you can cheer on a friend or relation? Fly in for the event, and then go home. Don't buy anything. Don't stay in a hotel. Don't eat a meal. Don't do anything to support the regime.

Concerned about the suppression of religion and human rights in Tibet? You don't have to do business with a vendor you find offensive. Snuff out the Olympic torch in a symbolic way.

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