2008 Olympics: To watch is to support
I am flummoxed by Sophie Zavaglia’s (April 10, p., 4) case for why we as Americans should watch the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. After going to great lengths to highlight China’s innumerable sins, from domestic repression to the tacit sanctioning of genocide in Sudan, Zavaglia somehow concludes that the U.S. should actually support the Communist regime that perpetrates these heinous crimes by attending and watching the Games.
Zavaglia’s appeal to the “official purpose” of the Olympics serves to provide nothing more than a weak justification for America’s support of the event. Zavaglia asks the question herself: how will the Games change the Chinese people and government? The answer is not at all, and we won’t need to lend our support to a brutal regime by watching the Games to learn that the hard way. It isn’t difficult to see the irony in Beijing’s “One World, One Dream” slogan. The idea being promoted by the Communists is that everyone will be able to pursue their one greatest dream; unless of course that dream includes things like freedom of speech and religion, independence or democracy.
Zavaglia says she does not support China’s human rights abuses, but that is precisely what her entire editorial proposes we do. By fully participating in these Olympics, America will once again render itself completely hypocritical on the world stage. How can we possibly continue to argue with any degree of credibility for freedom or human rights in any country if we ultimately decide to grant our stamp of approval to the world’s most oppressive government? We cannot. History will not remember us for seizing the opportunity to “get a small glimpse” of China as Zavaglia puts it.
History will remember us for inexplicably repeating the same egregious mistakes of the leaders that preceded us. If you want to know what I am referring to, I implore you to go to YouTube and search for “1936 Berlin Olympic Games opening ceremony.” Take five minutes to see how utterly blind we were then, and how crucial of a decision we face now. We now have a chance to learn from our past transgressions. Which side of history do you want to be on?
Alex Shoucair, Sophomore