Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Beijing Olympics and Human Rights Abuse
The Olympic Torch being extinguished multiple times. Disruptions of the Torch relay beginning in Greece and continuing in London and Paris. Disruptions and protests in San Francisco before the Olympic Torch even arrives. What does this tell us? It tells us the leaders of the Western Democracies are out of touch with their constituencies.
China refuses to use its influence to stop genocide in Darfur. China does virtually nothing while the regime of Burma viciously attacks Buddhist monks protesting the military dictatorship. And now China putting down protests in Tibet so severely it results in deaths.
What do our leaders do, the champions of human rights? At best they consider having their respective heads of state not attending the Opening Ceremonies. This is an insult to the brave people for Sudan, Burma and Tibet. It is an insult to the citizens of the Western Democracies.
Athletes’ rights to compete are not more important than basic human rights and the right to vote. Business is not more important than the right to stay alive. Having a massive national debt in the hands of the Chinese government does not translate into looking the other way while blood flows.
While the “leaders” of the democracies begin to get use to the fact that they are sharing in the human rights abuses of China by doing virtually nothing we can make it clear we do care about human rights. We can boycott watching the Olympics and boycott sponsors. Just because our leaders are incapable of leading does not mean we should be immobilized or prevented from showing our support for those who so desperately need it.