WickedEye's Quotient

2/07/2014 at 08:30

Olympics-Sponsored State + State-Sponsored Violence = Olympics-Sponsored Violence

Russian art, literary and otherwise, is a vast vein of platinum-webbed gold--but the coal-mine poverty of Russian human-rights practices seems eternal.

Russia's treatment of LGBT people isn't merely hostile: Its 'propaganda' ban is the glossier side of a state-condoned lynch-mob mentality that smiles at indiscriminate violence against LGBT human beings...and human dignity as a whole.

The Olympic coming-together of the world to celebrate human potential is a high point of living in the modern age. But by that very fact, holding the Olympics in Sochi, Russia--flying the Olympian banner, however temporarily, over the kind of oppression that the Olympic Games are supposed, by their very existence, to oppose--makes a mockery of the Olympic ideal.

Hosting the Olympics is enormously politically profitable for the host country's ruling regime (see this article in The Economist on why countries undertake such massive expenditures). Hosting the Olympics constitutes, in fact, an endorsement from the International Olympic Committee of the host country's ruling regime. (It's also an Olympic sponsorship of the money-stripping apparatus through which athletic organizations and tourists are fed at each Olympic Games.)

Did the International Olympic Committee permit the Winter Olympics to be held in a country with such appalling ongoing human-rights violations because of Russia's economic and political clout? It's certainly possible. The IOC has denied lesser powers--Istanbul's Olympic bids have failed for more than a decade because of Turkey's state-sponsored violence against dissidents. Certainly the Committee is politically savvy enough to have recognized that Russia's 'propaganda ban' is merely boilerplate--palliating language that allows the Russian government to at best turn a blind eye, and at worst contribute, to a culture of horrific violence against LGBT people.

Why else, other than state sponsorship, would perpetrators of such violence feel free to post, en masse, tens of videos of organized assaults? (Be warned: Some of this video content is graphic, and unsuitable for minors or the workplace.)

Russia's 'official treatment' of LGBT citizens is detailed in this Human Rights Watch report: Government officials--including Putin--publicly term LGBT people “perverts” and “abnormal,” while equating homosexuality with pedophilia. A director of a government-controlled TV-and-radio outlet goes so far as proposing to “burn or bury” the hearts of LGBT organ donors rather than use them for transplants because they are “unfit to continue anyone’s life.”

This is the regime that the IOC chose to host the Olympic ideal--the Games that celebrate humanity's potential.

Whatever regrets the IOC may have about their decision--and IOC President Thomas Bach's statement that he's willing to consider including language on sexual orientation in the Olympic Charter's ban on discrimination does read, at least partly, as a statement of regret--cannot change my refusal to support that decision.

I wouldn't patronize a company that lent its prestige or contributed money, directly or indirectly, to the Klu Klux Klan or the Aryan Nations, or any other sponsor of violent bigotry.

I fail to see why flying an Olympic flag over a place that does the same is any different.

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