Olympic torch fiasco

The Chinese people have put so much nationalistic pride into the Olympics and the Torch Relay. And now that protests have marred the glorious moment, they are turning their hurt pride and anger against the rest of the world. The Chinese government, taking this as an excuse, will crackdown harder than ever before on dissidents, Tibetan protesters and “criminal elements” out to “split” China.

Read this article by my colleague Kent Ewing in Asia Times for a full account of recent events: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/JD16Ad01.html

On another note, the Chinese were unaware when they embraced the Olympic torch idea that this “ancient, sacred tradition”, was invented by Leni Riefenstadl, Hitler’s filmmaker for the 1936 Olympics! It served Hitler well, and now the Chinese are breaking distance and number of cities visited records! They even plan to take it to the top of Mt Everest. Slate magazine said this about it:

“It seems Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s filmmaker, invented the torch relay for the 1936 Berlin Olympics and then deployed it with “terrifying mastery,” according to Die Welt, in her film Olympia.

What a disappointment this must all be for the China Daily, the English-language organ of the Chinese Communist Party, which last month bragged that the 2008 torch relay “will traverse the longest distance, cover the greatest area and include the largest number of people” since this ancient Greek custom was invented by the Nazis in 1936. After the chaos in Paris, the same newspaper was reduced to spluttering at the French press, the French people, and French culture itself: “Pride and prejudice,” the newspaper intoned, have “cast a shadow on this ancient civilization.”

“How utterly predictable. Even without the recent riots in Tibet, anything as ludicrous as a 130-day, 85,000-mile torch relay was going to attract a healthy dose of negative attention. Why does the thing have to go to so many cities, after all? Why does it need to go through Tibet? Why is it surrounded by track-suited thugs? Why does it travel in a customized jumbo jet? Wasn’t this supposed to be a relay? And what is the symbolic significance of a battery-operated chemical flame, anyway? What does it have to do with athletes or world peace? Any ceremony of such profound inauthenticity—the Chinese are calling it the “journey of harmony”—deserves to be disharmoniously disrupted as often as possible.” http://www.slate.com/id/2188974/