24 March 2008

An Olympic Boycott is Worth Considering

Human rights are an issue very important to me. I make a monthly donation to Amnesty International, I work for women's rights through the White Ribbon Campaign, and I regularly denounce vile dictatorships which persecute, torture, and murder their own people. What is currently happening in Tibet is an atrocity, and is has many people calling for a boycott of this summer's Beijing Olympics. I have no love for the Chinese regime that suppresses the rights of its people, holds Taiwan hostage, and is now attempting to label the Dalai Lama, one of the world's great men of peace, a "terrorist."
Those of us who stand for human rights cannot turn a blind eye towards what is happening in Tibet, especially not for the sake of the Olympics. While sport is something which I regularly enjoy, and is a uniting tool for people all over the world, is it worth giving China a free pass on its repression in order to have the two-week festivities? China will receive billions of dollars for the Games, in the form of tourism and everything else associated with the Games. This is money that can be used towards further persecution.
Is it worth it?
What if the repression stops in the immediate term? When the event passes out of the news cycle, to be replaced by the latest issue du jour, what happens? Do we forgive and forget? What about the dead, estimated to be over one hundred already (though the official Chinese response places the figure closer to 20--still, one unjust murder by a government is an atrocity, so we're already at that point times twenty)? Do we say that their lives mean less than a sporting event?
It is time for some serious discussion, with our Prime Minister and the government at the centre of it, whether or not Canada should turn a blind eye to what is happening in Tibet and whether it should send its finest athletes to participate in the Beijing Olympics.

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