Friday, May 9, 2008

Olympic Boycott

I see there are more calls for a boycott of the forthcoming Olympics appearing on the blogsphere. has a developing thread making renewed calls for Ireland not to send athletes on the basis of the refusal of Burma to allow access to international aid workers.

It seems China's allies have a bit of history in this regard, something I wrote about during a previous career in relation to North Korea. Still to this day the numbers who died in the North Korean famines of the 1990's are unknown.

A post on the thread captures some of my feeling on the boycott issue, saying "we knew they were assholes when we gave them the Olympics and we didn't care , so it would be a bit dodgy to suddenly start caring now".

In Ireland that has been almost a weekly roll out of politicians calling for a Olympic boycott because of Tibet, Burma or Sudan. Yet some of these same politicians don't seem to have the same concern about our cultural cousins abuses around the globe.

China should have never been awarded the Olympics but now that they have, what to do.

A Olympic boycott is the easy way out and would represent cowardice by Iveagh House. Most of the Irish Athletes have as much chance of winning a medal than I have of being Taoiseach in 2012. Its a possibility, just a very, very, very slim one. But similar to an aspiring Taoiseach an athlete rated 45th in the world, has to train and sacrifice as hard as those in the top 5. All their earnings go into their sporting ambitions and family and career developments are shelved. Most of these people probably couldn't even find Burma on a map.

We seem to think it appropriate that these athletes non participation will alleviate our guilt and establish our empathy with the oppressed in Lhasa.
A complete cop out.

If the Government wants to make a statement on China, it can do it, by withdrawing ambassadors, expelling diplomats, taxing imports, petitioning the UN or EU or even handing out melted Ferrero Rocher at the next embassy knees up.

If a citizen wants to protest against China do it with your wallet. Next time your out shopping check the "made in" label. If its China, purchase an alternative.

A reasonable course of action would be for a boycott of the opening ceremony and for no Irish diplomats or TDs to attend any part of the games.

And as a Councillor I would appreciate if the Department of Foreign Affairs would stop trying to twin Dublin with Beijing.
Irrespective of what goodies are offered I will not support Dublin being twinned with any City that is not democratically represented.

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