Grasshopper Soup: why they protest the Olympics games
February 16, 2010
Squaw Valley hosted one of the greatest, old-fashion, small-time winter Olympics ever. Some say, with good reason, it was the last Olympics of its kind. Have the modern Olympics become a moral blemish on the world landscape? Will Reno host the games in the near future, or should both the summer and winter games be abolished?
Olympic protesters raise these questions, but their full story is not being told on local news. There is too much at stake, and Olympic pride in the Tahoe Basin is extremely strong, deeply personal and well deserved. We wake up to greet Olympic-caliber people and ski Olympic-style mountains, everyday. Olympic fervor is in our blood.
I attended the VIII Winter Olympics as a-nine and-a-half-year-old, and a member of the Sacramento Bishopand#8217;s Boys Choir that sang at the dedication of the Queen of The Snows Church. I will never forget watching the ski jumping contest, eyes wide with awe. My brothers and I climbed to the top of the roof of what is now the Memberand#8217;s Locker Room, and slid down on the snow over and over again until we were exhausted, and nobody told us we couldnand#8217;t. As memorable, and as personally meaningful as that was, a host of locals remember substantially more personal and professional Olympic memories.
As I watched anti-Olympic demonstrators rioting in the streets of Vancouver, I was somewhat amused. One protester tried to break a window with a chair. The window was stronger than the chair, but this person, disguised with a hood and face mask, kept banging the chair against the uncooperative window as if futility itself was an important political point. There was definitely humor in that. Then I wondered, what is their point?
I Googled and#8220;Vancouver Olympic Protestsand#8221; and found a very interesting website called and#8220;Why We Resist 2010.and#8221; To my knowledge, the mainstream media is only telling part of the story, so I decided to summarize the protestersand#8217; main points. It is only fair that even their troubling and controversial story be told in its entirety.
Anti-Olympic protesters give 10 reasons to oppose the Olympic games. They also claim that British Columbia does not have the legal or moral right to exist. That, in my opinion, is proof of an unreasonable extremist agenda. But, not all of their reasons sound radical. However, destroying property and inciting violence to voice moral and ethical concerns may make sense to them, but it makes no sense to me.
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They claim the current Olympics is the most environmentally destructive Olympic venue in history, cost $4 billion more than originally estimated and that the money should have been spent on social services, housing, health care, etc. They also say the Olympic games increase prostitution and trafficking in women.
They accuse the Vancouver police of repressing and harassing anti-poverty groups, environmentalists and native groups, and that the poor have been criminalized to make way for the Olympics. They claim native support for the Olympics is based on ignorance and greed, because native groups depend on government funds. And they say that, since the 1980and#8217;s, the Olympic games have caused the displacement of more than 2 million people, and have become a vehicle for social cleansing.
The anti-Olympic movement also provides the following statement on the website:
and#8220;The Olympics are not about the human spirit and have little to do with athletic excellence; they are a multi-billion dollar industry backed by powerful elites, real estate, construction, hotel, tourism and television corporations working hand in hand with their partners in crime: government officials and members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).and#8221;
At the end of their FAQ page, they add, and#8220;Maybe the Olympics should just be abolished.and#8221;
You may draw whatever conclusion you wish.
and#8212; Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 27 years.