A World Record

There is an atrocious world record of human rights abuses – from more than just one host nation of the Olympic Games.

A World Record

We so often hear people start a sentence with “I’m not racist, but…”

As you can probably tell from my film Escape from Doncatraz, I’m pretty peeved by all the racist press-influenced talk of refugees entering our nations in record numbers. It’s funny really, when you consider the fact that, if you’re “not racist, but” don’t want these people of colour coming into your country, you can simply have your government stop bombing their countries, and they won’t be wanting to leave in the first place. They have to leave; any of us would leave if we were in those conditions. That’s why they’re called refugees.

When the Western powers aren’t bombing these countries, of course, they’re installing or supporting dictators and their tyranny and terror (until they stop playing ball, like Saddam Hussein did – then it’s curtains for them!)

Where do we think Saddam Hussein came from? If you said “the CIA-funded Ba’ath Party,” you’d be right.

How do we think Indonesia’s democratically-elected leader Sukarno was removed and replaced by the notorious Suharto in the 1960s, leading to as many as a million people imprisoned or tortured or killed? Yep: US/UK cash, my friends, with the West carving up the resource-rich land to share amongst themselves.

Where do we think General Augusto Pinochet came from on September 11th, 1973, to have Chile’s democratically-elected leader Salvador Allende and up to 3,000 others killed? You guessed it.

Heck, how about a better, more recent example? Yeah: Osama bin Laden, funded and trained by the CIA to get rid of pinko-commies in Afghanistan, later using those resources to build up the Taliban, responsible for the murder of 3,000 people on September 11th, 2001, in New York City – as businessmen and politicians in London’s Docklands three-thousand miles away at that very moment hosted an arms fair, selling weapons to any international madmen with enough moolah to buy.

I mentioned some of these examples recently (especially the Indonesia campaign) while speaking at a rally organized by Amnesty International called “Keep the Promise, China,” as meanwhile over in Japan the world’s mafia held their annual G8 conference to – as with Indonesia – choose how to exploit and share the rest of the world’s resources while keeping their own people subdued. Make no mistake about it, it may make Bono and Bob Geldof look credible to hang out with the G8 mob, but in reality the event is like a scene from an Austin Powers movie, with all the baddies getting together around a table…there’s probably even a shark tank kept nearby as a backdrop for the hatching of fiendish plans.

The “promise” I was asking China to keep along with many others at the rally was the one it made when signing on the dotted line to host the Olympic Games. They promised to improve their human rights record. And guess what? They haven’t. Which is a little bit childish, really, don’t you think? Saying “I pwomise” like a little kid to get what you want, but then not keeping that promise? I’m sorry to piss on their Olympic torch here, but really – give me a break!

Now I realize the events include such awesome thrillers as “Walking” and “Sailing,” but personally, I’m not into the Olympics (partially because most of Britain’s potentially sustainable arts funding was apparently cut in favor of pumping money into the country’s 2012 turn to blow their wad hosting the Games). Maybe I’m being unfair here, as I’m aware of more exciting sports featured, but it still doesn’t do it for me. Martial arts? Boxing? That’s about as exciting as it gets compared to the track running competitions. Heck, I just don’t want to see people fighting, and I don’t want to watch anyone going around in circles – I can do either by viewing Parliament television each and every year.

I’ve already said the Olympic symbol ought to be a condom, because, like the politicians, it allows inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects dicks, and gives you a sense of security while, in fact, you’re being screwed. It makes sense. (Incidentally, the organizers of the Olympics have given 100,000 condoms to the 10,500 competing athletes in the hopes it’ll cover their needs, proving that the summer sweat really does get people randy – either that or, as a friend suggested to me, it’s the women’s beach volleyball team).

Still, each to their own, I always say, and the Olympics are certainly effective at economically boosting (as well as disrupting) a city for the same costs as funding that could improve the lives of the natives for decades to come. Plenty of people watch the Games, and it sure gives them all the opportunity to say “I’m not racist” without the “but” when cheering on the often more athletic, fitter, faster, and stronger black people representing their precious colonial country.

The whole world is watching the Olympics, perhaps more so in the wake of all the demonstrations against the hosts while the “torture torch” was being carried through various international cities on the journey to its destination in Beijing – including some protesters inventively utilizing a fire extinguisher!

And so, inevitably, many journalists arrived in Beijing to cover the Olympics…only to find that a number of websites they planned on using were, in fact, blocked (among them, funnily enough, that of Amnesty International!) The International Federation of Journalists called on the Chinese authorities to unblock the sites, with IFJ General Secretary Aidan White asking that the Chinese authorities “keep their promise, and open the internet to access by all journalists.” Some journalists have even experienced harassment already. And we thought it was shocking enough to have Google™ go along with China’s demands for censorship.

It’s easy to see that, aside from just their usual human rights abuses – y’know, regular stuff like restricting organizing, preventing free speech, and a little bit of torture – the Chinese authorities are still up to their usual tricks; up to no good.

The Olympics have always been political – ever since Germany hosted the Games in 1936 and Adolf Hitler had only “Aryans” represent the host nation, to the 1968 Games in Mexico, when Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave black power salutes while standing on the medal podium following the discrimination African-Americans had been suffering in the USA.

The Olympics are not a bad thing; they’re a good thing. The Games were supposed to be about bringing together all countries, kind of like the sporting equivalent of the United Nations! And of course, in all seriousness, I realize the money being pumped into London’s preparations to host the Games in 2012 is just an excuse to conveniently starve the artists craving funds to create challenging movies, music, and all kinds of art to raise important issues and provoke thought. It’s not about choosing either sport or art, one over the other. They could actually fund both the sports and the arts – if only they’d stop funding nasty little campaigns in faraway lands.

So, Britain gets the Games next time. But given that China’s clearly demonstrating its ability to put on a show to challenge even the Germans in 1936 (if you know what I mean), I say we just maintain the trend and give it to all kinds of oppressive little lands. Yeah, let’s let Saudi Arabia host the Olympics! They could hold events such as the Gay Flogging, or The Beheading! Ooh. Or how about Zimbabwe? They could have shooting competitions between child soldiers, or a contest where only someone named Robert Mugabe could possibly win! Open it up! Let everyone have a go! Why stop with China?

And why just blame China? Hmm. Because when we look at ourselves, we realize we in the West still have a lot to answer for, above and beyond the meddling in foreign affairs. The United States supports Saudi Arabia and, like Zimbabwe, had its leader brought to power through very questionable means. And Britain, like China, seems determined to erode civil liberties, with – yep – the highest concentration of CCTV cameras and largest DNA database in the world, this “security” largely operated, controlled, and accessed by private companies, as the proposed compulsory ID cards will be, as well (yeah, I get sick of hearing myself describe this over and again, too!)

The human rights violations are everywhere. It’s a world record of disappointing and disgusting attacks on people all over the place; their freedom, their privacy, and their well-being, including lack of basic access to food, shelter, and health care, the things that simply sustain the ability to exist on our planet – basic rights being refused. In terms of human rights, there’s a lot left to achieve across the globe, and that includes the supposedly “developed” western world, as well. Maybe we should just postpone all Olympics indefinitely until all countries are capable of being up to the task of carrying the torch…