Tuesday, August 26, 2008

'Lympics Shlympics

I'm proud to say I didn't watch the opening ceremonies. I didn't watch diving, swimming, running, jumping; I didn't watch the closing ceremonies or follow the number of medals Canada won. It wasn't so much a boycotting issue (although I recall that in 1980 61 countries boycotted Russia's Olympics over its invasion of Afghanistan), and it wasn't only because I don't have a television connected to cable or the complimentary 4 channels Calgary offers. I don't give a flying fuck about the olympics. The papers were filled with gleaming and teary faces. Bush got drunk and stumbled about Beijing while Georgia and Russia faught for control of South Ossetia. I have always felt that the Olympics eclipse the news that actually impacts the world. ANYWAY, with all the attention on China's political history and past and current strategies, the world shakes fingers at a nation with dirty hands. But as Yves Engler rants in Rabble News, as Canadians let's take a look in the mirror at our own dirty faces:

So many words written or spoken about human rights violations, lip-synching, suppression of Tibet, taped fireworks, Communist dictatorship, evil Chinese nationalism and yet what about context? Or what about how Canada might seem to them?

Has any media discussed Canada’s decades-long support of British imperialism in China? Opium War anyone? Dividing the country up among European powers?

How about Canadian business, missionary and diplomatic support for Japan’s brutal invasion of China in the 1930s? What about the weapons and $60 million Ottawa sent to aid Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang fighting Mao’s forces after World War II? Certainly one of the outraged Canadian columnists could have found room to mention Ottawa’s refusal to recognize the Chinese Communist government for 21 years?

For many years this refusal to recognize the new government was justified by citing Chinese "aggression" in the Korean War that left four million dead. During that war Canada sent 27,000 troops halfway across the world, partly in response to China’s revolution the previous year. China, on the other hand, only intervened after 500,000 hostile troops approached its border with northern Korea.

From historical amnesia concerning Canada-China relations through Tibet and Sudan the media’s double standard is glaring.

Does anyone believe that prior to Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics we will see a media barrage about the British Columbia land stolen from First Nations? Interviews on all the TV networks with spiritual leaders of the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh? Does it take a graduate degree in history to see the parallels between the actions of the Chinese government in Tibet and the European settlement of Canada?

Or, how about comparing Canada’s role in the Congo to China’s role in Sudan?

Ultiimately, it's our own personal responsibility to know what's happening in the world and take whatever action we feel necessary. But whether or not we watch the Olympics or even, in 2010 & 2012, attend the Olympics in Vancouver and London, the chess games of military powers go on and in my opinion that very Chess Game is the ultimate and most important, world-impacting game of all.

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