Sunday, April 6, 2008

Torturous Trail of the Torch

The Olympic torch relay is off to an inflamed beginning. The planned route it will take from Greece to Beijing will be marked by the blazing fury of protests from those who oppose China's suppression of Tibetan self-rule and its atrocious human rights record. What the Chinese government hopes to be its coming out party for the world stage may turn out to be a monumental catastrophe for its image. And, where China is concerned, the Olympic flame that waits to be lit in its soil for the first time in its history may end up becoming the funeral pyre for this grand promotional campaign.

In London, the protesters wrestled with the police, attempted to grab the torch, or douse it with a fire extinguisher. Massed crowds tried to swamp the march at some points. Crowds along the route carrying screaming anti-Chinese signs were venting their ire. The Police had the march transfer to a bus just to avoid large groups which could overpower the relay guards. The torch bearer was surrounded by a protective ring of 10 Chinese flame attendants plus hundreds of policemen along the route. About 500 to 2000 protesters were massed on the streets at any one time.

It is ironic that the flame of peace, truth and sportsmanship is being met with hostility and violence, but protesters were unequivocal is saying they were not against the Chinese people nor the Olympics, but at the brutal Chinese regime that rules them. Hundreds of pro-Beijing demonstrators also gathered in Trafalgar, separated by Police from the Pro-Tibetan protesters. Pictures of the London relay were shown in China, but not the protests and disruption that greeted it.

Celebrities and athletes earlier assigned to take part are split on the issue. Some have opted out, others anguish over the decision. That politics threatens to taint the Games anew is the saddest development of this sports event. Calls for boycott will only hurt the athletes and would not make much of a dent in the way that the host decides to rule its constituents. Participation of athletes does not mean they agree nor condone with what the Chinese are doing by way of human rights, but a better platform for such discussions or resolutions should be found, not the Olympics.

In the meantime, clashes have broken out anew in Tibet and the Chinese Military has taken control of the region of Hezuo. Many Tibetans are despondent with Chinese rule and are getting bolder in the conduct and frequency of protests. China claims it fired warning shots to quell a riot but eight bodies were sprawled lifeless. It is this system of information control, disinformation and misinformation that raise doubts about China's sincerity and true intent in all its dealings with the world at large. Blatant lies that cannot even be justified by plausible deniability, which Condoleezza Rice is so good at; can hardly earn them respect and trust. Hosting the Olympics may have been a result of financial clout, but the expected political gains from the event may fall short of target. Skeletons may yet surface along the route of the torch and during the Games itself.

The route would include Paris, San Francisco, and Buenos Aires where fiery protests are also expected. China still has time to salvage its slowly eroding facade that reveals its iron face. It may view holding talks with the Dalai Lama as a capitulation, but it can promote the same as a preference for peace and unity. Pride is the only thing that's holding them back in this scorching issue. The Olympic torch has been lit, let's hope China is not consumed by it in the process.



The Fitness Diva said...

Wow!! This thing is really heating up, no pun intended!
I had no idea that China's hosting of the Olympics would lead to such controversy, but you know what? It's a good thing that it has. They need to be made accountable, and what better time than now, as they are on the verge of world domination? Ok...I exaggerate just a bit! ;)
China has to figure out a way to "save face" in all this mess. Once that's done, then you'll perhaps see them lighten up on Tibet. But just like any bully, they're not going to let the world see them back down just from words. All this public embarrassment (OMG, they really tried to extinguish the Olympic torch??? WOW!) just might do the trick, though. It's hitting them where it really hurts...their pride.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Fitness Diva,

Believe it, and believe that it's going to get worseas the torch moves to the Americas - San Francisco is next.

It's no exaggeration to say that China is on the verge of world domination, they are. They already have economic domination where most European powers owe them large sums. The United States owes them huge sums for the Iraq War and the stimulus package. Trade deficits of the US with China are huge.

In 5 years, China will have the largest and most modern Navy, Army, and Air Force in the World equipped with the latest weaponry. They have launched a test missile that knocked out (with permission) an old US satellite. The range and power of their missile can destroy 346 of the 514 satellites in space. If they can do this, they could make all western powers vulnerable to attack since their satellites have been put out of service.

You are correct when you say they are acting like bullies and would need a face saving escape to salvage the situation. They should act fast before anything they do is regarded as too little too late. A dialogue is not so hard, theycould say they will speak to the Dalai Lama because they chose peace and harmony instead of confrontational violence. It would even make them look statesmenlike - but I won't believe they are - it's what is referred to in diplomatic circles as plausible deniability. LOL! :-)--Durano, done!