Thursday, March 20, 2008

What to Boycott?

[Guest post]

In 1949, Mao's communist peoples army began its so-called“"liberation"” of Tibet. Over half a century has passed and after the flight of the Dalai Lama, tens of thousands of people are dead or missing. This includes Gendun Nyima, the 6 year old successor to the Dalai Lama who was kidnapped by the Chinese in 1995. To mark the anniversary of the occupation, there have been recent protests in Tibet. There have been calls for an Olympic boycott to highlight the suffering in Tibet as well.

But the US Olympic committee spokesman said that a boycott will accomplish nothing and that it ranked among the worst ideas ever conceived. However, talks of an "atheletic boycott" are misplaced. A boycott will not accomplish much more than punishing young athletes who have spent a lifetime preparing for their moment in the spotlight. (Remember the US boycott of Moscow in 1980?) Instead, what about boycotting corporate sponsors who are in a position to do something about the tragedy in Tibet but will be profiting from the Olympic games instead? If consumers decided to boycott Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Visa and GE, a message would be sent about corporate responsibility. The greatest way to strike a blow for freedom is not to prohibit some 20-year-old in a Speedo from swimming 50 meters in a pool, but to ensure that corporate sponsors who remain silent on the issue of Tibet don’t profit from the games. [editor note: I totally agree. US companies who participate with China are complicit in its abuses in Tibet]

The Straw.


Pagondas said...

As regrettable as it is for the athletes, the games in China should be boycotted. Why contribute to the illusion of international harmony in a country that occupies Tibet, supports (with arms) Sudanese genocide in Darfur, violates trade agreements, and poisons the environment? (List not exhaustive)

The merits of the Moscow boycott may seem dubious in retrospect: The Taliban replacing the constitutional monarchy, Al-Qaeda given carte blanche. However, Carter was 100% right. Better to keep the boys (and girls) at home than let the totalitarians re-create Berlin in 1936 ---which is EXACTLY what Beijing is doing.

Of course, what better testament to the moral bankruptcy of Bush (and the courage of Carter) than the fact that a Beijing boycott isn't even considered.

Anonymous said...

Point of clarificationa to The Straw, was the 20 year old in a Speedo a hot co-ed, or some gangly dude with swimmer's ear?

Pagodas - with logic like that, it's CHINA that should be protesting the US participation in the games, given the US illegal occupation of Iraq, illegal murder of its citizens, stifling of dissent by clowns like Bush/Cheny, etc., ad nauseam.

I think the answer is for all athletes who want to make a political statement against China's long, disgusting list of misdeeds, to simply moon the entire nation when presented with a medal. It's the athletes, and not us passive couch potato bloggers, who should enjoy the right and privilege of such political free speech. They're the ones that trained, they're the ones that any of this means anything to, and we shoudl get to see their asses - the 20 y.o. coeds', that is, not the dudes'.
- The Camel's Back.