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China's plan to tame Tibet
July 13, 2008 11:56 AM   Subscribe

China's secret plot to tame Tibet. "Internal Communist party documents have revealed that China is planning a programme of harsh political repression in Tibet despite a public show of moderation to win over world opinion before the Olympic Games next month." Meanwhile, the military has sealed off several monasteries in Lhasa, keeping over 1,000 monks locked up. Another 1,000 monks have mysteriously disappeared, and may have been sent to prisons in a neighbouring province to keep them silent through the Olympics.
posted by homunculus (111 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
However, Zhang’s words make it plain the talks are a diplomatic mask to conceal China’s actual policy. His speeches, which are remarkably frank, show the government’s chosen response is a classic Marxist-Leninist propaganda and re-education campaign backed up by armed force.

The Chinese are going to be tough to beat in the Classic Marxist-Leninist propaganda competition. Only hope really is if they fail the drug tests.
posted by three blind mice at 12:34 PM on July 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


"So, Jane Smith, how does it feel to win to win the gold medal in the Women's Modern Pentathlon?"

"Great, thanks, but really I want to talk about the humanitarian situation in Tibet..."
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:38 PM on July 13, 2008


Where Have All the Monks Gone? and reported here by Geoffrey York. Thanks for this homunculus. I don't normally read the Murdoch press so I would have missed this.
posted by adamvasco at 12:46 PM on July 13, 2008


The Chinese plot to tame Tibet is a secret?

To whom?
posted by humannaire at 12:47 PM on July 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


Why Bush Should Not Attend the Beijing Opening Ceremonies
posted by homunculus at 1:06 PM on July 13, 2008


Oh I think Bush should absolutely attend. It's where he belongs.

I just don't see why we should let him come back.
posted by Naberius at 1:25 PM on July 13, 2008 [11 favorites]


humannaire, these specifics are new, surely? I think it's useful to see them making explicit the thinking that lies behind the police and secret service activity we see on the ground (as far as we can see).
posted by imperium at 1:25 PM on July 13, 2008


UK-born Tibetan Dechen Pemba deported out of China
posted by Abiezer at 1:30 PM on July 13, 2008


I remember the huge push to make NYC the destination of the Olympics- all the hype in the media, the big plans from the city government, the signs and posters literally EVERYWHERE, even co-opting this art installation in Union Square and turning it temproarily into a "countdown to the Olympics Committee decision."

All I could think about was what a disaster it would be, how miserable we would all be as the city scrambled to make good on all those mostly-impossible pledges. It was a huge relief when we lost -- and an even greater relief now, because we would have wound up in exactly this sort of hot-seat, and the US government would have stirred up just as much extra manure trying to cover the shit that was already here.

I hope that everyone ultimately gets what they deserve from all of this-- and I'm grateful to be watching it from a distance instead of from my own rooftop.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 1:39 PM on July 13, 2008


"Great, thanks, but really I want to talk about the humanitarian situation in Tibet..."

I'd wager that US officials will make it absolutely clear to US competitors that they should not do or say anything that might embarrass our most important trading partner and debt-holder.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:49 PM on July 13, 2008


so ... what if there's nary a peep from the athletes who choose to go (rather than boycott)? what if every single athlete stays silent on this, and accepts their gold and silver and bronze with no protest? does that mean we've finally crossed the line into full-on human disconnection and hopelessness?

were there no protests at the Berlin Olympics? should there have been?

armbands? voices? banners? will every athlete be told by their coaches to *obey* and will they?

will anyone risk being arrested by the Monolithic Chinese Police State in a very public way?

i mean, i recognize that it would be hard, were i a young obsessed world-class athlete, to look beyond my medal and my personal best. it's a narcissistic kind of pursuit, really, at its heart. but i would really hate to look back on myself blithely accepting a prize while people just out of my earshot were having boots ground into their necks. i mean, you'd have to *know that*, right? so what do you do? what do you hope they do?
posted by RedEmma at 1:53 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about the Chinese in Tibet a lot recently. This is what I've concluded: fait accompli.
posted by MarshallPoe at 1:57 PM on July 13, 2008


What did one pot lobster say to the other pot lobster?

The greatest gymnast who ever lived was Mary Lou Retton; a staunch Conservative Reagan Republican. God bless her! And support the troops!
posted by ZachsMind at 2:03 PM on July 13, 2008


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_Olympics_Black_Power_salute
posted by phrontist at 2:04 PM on July 13, 2008


RedEmma, why do you put so much stock in symbols when the suffering and oppression are not symbolic?
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:04 PM on July 13, 2008


Athletes urged to show hands for Tibet at Olympics
posted by homunculus at 2:24 PM on July 13, 2008


Pope Guilty, are you in turn expecting the non-Chinese athletes to march as one and liberate Tibet?Or does attendance and participation in a spectacle intended to reinforce a totalitarian regime not equal complicity for you? Your comment could be taken either way.
posted by imperium at 2:33 PM on July 13, 2008


I've often wondered why these two guys didn't put the same hand in the air. I mean it's a powerful image. I was born that year. I haven't ever known a world in which Tommie Smith and John Carlos hadn't taken that stand, but a passing thought I've had multiple times is why not both hold up their right fist? Or their left? Wouldn't it have looked better? Then I dismiss it as it's not about looking symmetrical it's about taking a stand and I smile to myself and move on with my life.

This is the first time it's occurred to me: it's the same pair of gloves. They were sharing the same pair of gloves. I can't explain why, but for some reason, for me, that suddenly makes this image that much more cool.

I've always also thought it annoying that the white guy on the left there didn't put his fist up too. What I didn't know was that Australian Peter Norman was wearing a badge in support of their statement. That's even more cool. Australians rock! What's even more cool, is that according to Wikipedia, it was Peter Norman's idea that they share the gloves. There's actually multiple conflicting stories behind that, but I'm going with it was Norman's idea. Cuz it's cool.

What's not cool:

"Australia's Olympic authorities reprimanded him and the Australian media ostracized him. Despite Norman qualifying 15 times for the 100m and five times for the 200m during 1971/72 the Australian Olympic track team didn't send him, or any other sprinters, to the 1972 Summer Olympics, the first ever where no Australian Olympic sprinters participated."

Not all Australians are cool, apparently. Peter Norman took flack for standing by two black men fellow Olympians in support of what's right. Perhaps Norman didn't get death threats like the other two guys did. Maybe jobs didn't become scarce, but Norman never performed in the Olympics again, and he died in 2006 in relative obscurity.

I've done a search, but I can't find an obit thread for Peter Norman, and Norman's presence is notably absent from this statue.

I don't want any of the American Olympians to take a stand for what's right, if the IOC, the media, and a closed minded international populous are gonna ostracize them for doing the right thing. To paraphrase Carlos, they should just stand there, take their proverbial peanuts, accept their pats on the back, and their attaboys, and not stick their head out cuz it'll just get cut off.

RIP Peter Norman. I'm sorry your sacrifice was in vain, but y'know, A for effort and all that.

.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:37 PM on July 13, 2008 [9 favorites]


Correction:

"I don't want any of the American Olympians..."

I don't mean just American Olympians. I don't want Australian Olympians to do it either. I don't want anyone to ever stand up for what's right ever again. I don't wanna see any more monks pouring gasoline on themselves and setting themselves on fire. It's bad for the environment. I don't want anyone taking a stand. If you stand up, you become a target. Just sit there like a good little lobster. Pretend that the water getting hotter is just your imagination.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:40 PM on July 13, 2008


I.O.C. Rules Will Limit Protests by Athletes

Athletes who compete in the Beijing Olympics will not be allowed to wave flags, make gestures or alter their external appearance to make a political statement, according to guidelines issued in April by the International Olympic Committee.

But the one-page memo did not specify what punishments athletes would face if they violated a rule.

posted by dhartung at 2:42 PM on July 13, 2008


i don't think i do, Pope Guilty. i just think that's the unfortunate best i can hope for from someone attending the Olympics, as a tourist or as a participant.

what would i have them do, really, besides something symbolic? what more power does an individual or a small non-Chinese group have, besides the symbolic protest? even were the entire population of olympics participants to, instead of walking the parade route, to show up with backpacks and take every nation's flag and march straight to Lhasa, that's still a symbol. (if they all went to jail, would that still be a symbol?)

what the monks did was symbolic too, was it not? or do you think they honestly believed the Chinese government wasn't likely to stomp down on them, hard? the point of a protest or even riot (a out-of-hand expression of the same sentiments) is to draw attention to injustice. hope for some alleviation of that injustice. are they hoping for armed peacekeeper troops to come in and provoke the drowsing dragon? would that be "real" enough for you? these are buddhist monks. they don't want a war.

the oppressed only really have symbolic protest to put out against their oppressors. it's when you convince enough of your oppressors to stop being such dicks that you succeed. (cutting off their heads is tempting, but that seems to, hydra-like, increase the number and bite of the oppressor, so we've learned.) doing that convincing at the point of a gun doesn't make something "real"--it only makes everyone more angry. a buddhist knows this well--a protest is supposed to shame the oppressor into being a better human. that includes, naturally, a whole lot of symbolic acts. and setbacks and failures. but the long view is taken--every act toward right action is a step toward buddhahood.

i don't think it would be meaningless to have some child with a bare grasp of the situation stand up on her podium and unfurl a message of peace to the world. i don't think the monks would find it meaningless.

of course we crave more. we crave people around the world standing up and saying Stop. but that doesn't negate the potential of acts at the Olympics. as an event, it is all about symbols.
posted by RedEmma at 2:46 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


"...did not specify what punishments athletes would face..."

It will lessen their future job prospects.

The media will turn their backs whenever possible. Unless they do something that makes them look worse. Then the media will be all over them like ants on waffles.

It will lessen corporate endorsement opportunities.

They may get death threats even years after the event. This may place friends and members of their family at risk from those who vehemently disagree.

The fickle public will forget their name. Or they will be remembered not for a silver medal but for making a political statement during the Olympics. Regardless, they will die in relative obscurity.

At best, none of this will happen. At worst, all of it will happen. If you happen to be a participating Olympian and you're reading these words? Don't do it. Just be a good little pot lobster.

Free speech is not.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:54 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it is just awful what China has done to Tibet. There are many, many groups and nations who are, like, oppressed and shit but Tibet is by far the worst. And not just because Richard Gere is for freeing Tibet. And not even because the Beastie Boys are for freeing Tibet. Not even because all of my friends and I have "FREE TIBET" bumper stickers on our cars next to the "John Kerry" bumper stickers that we lovingly removed from our old cars to place on our new ones to show that we were right.

It is the worst because Tibet is buddhist and that makes them very peaceful and nice. Some people assert that Tibet was, like, a feudal theocracy before the Chinese took it over and the average Tibetian is no more or less free than before the Chinese took power, but I know that is not true. Because many of my friends and I are buddhists and they are very pleasant. The four noble truths of the Buddha are very beautiful and I try to follow them all and it makes me a better person and it is very easy for me because avoiding want is easy when you have never wanted for anything in your life. So I treat everyone according the the eightfold path except for total dicks and narcs. Also, there is a particularly cool type of Buddhism called "Zen Buddhism" and girls love it when you talk about it. The precepts of Zen Buddhism are a lot like four of the ten commandments, except that they are Eastern and cool instead of being Western and Christian and boring and just like what everyone else believes. There is also a fifth one where you avoid unnecessary consumption-- some people say that it applies to consumer goods as well as food, but I think it was written before all the really modern conveniences came out. I mean, if you didn't have a car, where would you put the bumpersticker? I put one on my PowerBook too so I feel good about using that at Peet's and telling everyone to free Tibet. Also, there's some thing in there about avoiding mind-altering substances but we can all agree that they obviously don't mean really good pot.

So Tibet is the most oppressed country in the world and you should be doing more to make them free. I'm not sure what the plan is beyond the bumperstickers and some really cool concerts and bad-talk about the Chinese, so if anyone knows please fill me in.
posted by Mayor Peace Love and Unity at 2:55 PM on July 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


Pope Guilty, are you in turn expecting the non-Chinese athletes to march as one and liberate Tibet?Or does attendance and participation in a spectacle intended to reinforce a totalitarian regime not equal complicity for you? Your comment could be taken either way.

It just annoys me to see this hippie crap promoted as "fighting oppression". The Chinese don't give two shits what the rest of the world thinks about their occupation of Tibet- if they did, they'd have knocked it off already. Symbolic protest feels really good and makes you feel like you've accomplished something, but when all you've done is protest, you haven't actually done anything useful at all- and people feeling accomplished without having accomplished anything is bad both for them and for the people being victimised by the Chinese.

it's when you convince enough of your oppressors to stop being such dicks that you succeed.

That's well and fine, but oppressors usually require force to be convinced, not asking nicely. Protests and symbolic statements are completely worthless, since the only audience for them is people who already agree. As I say, the Chinese? Do not give a shit about what you, or I, or the Dalai Lama, or anyone else thinks about their occupation of Tibet. All this taking a "step toward buddahood" is bourgeois self-distraction and self-satisfaction. "have some child with a bare grasp of the situation stand up on her podium and unfurl a message of peace to the world"? You've got to be kidding me. This isn't Wizards; tear-jerking, bourgeois-pleasing displays of peace and love aren't going to get China out of Tibet, and they're not going to melt the hearts of the Chinese government or some other hippie shit like that. They're just going to make white people feel better about buying things from China.

Whether it's Tsars, Kings, or Emperors, there's only one tool that has been historically proven as an effective weapon against oppressors. Wielding it, or approving of others wielding it, may hurt your precious sense of moral purity, but as you're not doing anything productive to help out, I'm not sure why anyone should care.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:00 PM on July 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Tsering Shakya - Tibetan Questions
posted by Abiezer at 3:03 PM on July 13, 2008


"... as an event, it is all about symbols."
posted by RedEmma at 5:46 PM on July 13

It's that kind of thinking that got us the massacre in Munich, and the bombing in Olympic Park in Atlanta. Not every international gathering should be subverted to crude political ends, particularly when the very safety of participants, spectators and media is at risk, because there are an infinity of political agendas of moral merit.

If you are of a mind to "use" the Olympics for issue politics involving Tibet, why shouldn't others, at the same time, justifiably demonstrate for animal rights, reproductive rights, arms control, and the 10,001 other top "issue" agendas we can surely list? Surely you are not going to argue that Tibetan repression is morally superior to nuclear disarmament, or women's reproductive rights, as a worthy cause, are you?

Of course, if you see that a soup of issue politics forced into the Olympics reduces the utility of such tactics for all who try them, and muddies the very message you are trying to promote, you understand that there are more effective ways to make your point, than trying to boorishly co-opt someone else's celebration.
posted by paulsc at 3:07 PM on July 13, 2008


Would it help if China set aside "Free Speech Zones" for potential protesters, several blocks away from where the media will be allowed to set up. These zones could be guarded by Chinese troops, for their own protection of course. Olympians can go over there after they compete, and shout all they want without being heard. It'll be great, and after the Olympics are over, the chinese will have all these loud and boisterous malcontent protesters inside the free speech zones so they can be disposed of properly.

We're at five minutes to midnight, but we only have four minutes to save the world. So grab a guy. Grab a girl. Time is waiting. No hesitating. Tick tock tick tock tick tock...
posted by ZachsMind at 3:09 PM on July 13, 2008


...party like it's 1999...
posted by ZachsMind at 3:09 PM on July 13, 2008


RIP Peter Norman

"Thanks for watching White Moments in Black History -- Tune in next week for an interview with Jesse Jackson's garbage man, and a peek at the recently unearthed journals of the little boy who taught Frederick Douglass how to read!"

Norman's role in that iconic image ought to be downplayed; it has nothing to do with him, his country, or his ethnicity. That he consequences he suffered are unfortunate, but should not be blithely muddled with those that Smith and Carlos were protesting.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 3:12 PM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Some people assert that Tibet was, like, a feudal theocracy before the Chinese took it over and the average Tibetian is no more or less free than before the Chinese took power

Except that it actually was a punishing feudal theocracy. Two wrongs dont make a right but understanding the context here is important. Assumning Chinese == evil and Tibetans == super awesome is showing a real lack of critical thinking.

Also, there is a particularly cool type of Buddhism called "Zen Buddhism" and girls love it when you talk about it. The precepts of Zen Buddhism are a lot like four of the ten commandments

Zen has nothing to do with Tibetan Buddhism. Are you high? I mean your post reads like a stoner wrote it.

Lastly, are you American? Your profile says Massachusetts. Are you willing to give up your home to native americans? Lets not pretend we're innocent. I imagine ending suffering stops first when ending hypocrisy. So, are you going to move back to Europe and give up your land? If not, why not? I also imagine peace will come when we have less religion in government, not more.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:13 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, I seem to be the only one who wants to keep politics out of the olympics. Shame really. The games are fairly interesting on their own without useless grandstanding by the atheletes for whatever pet cause is the hotness today.

If this is such a problem, perhaps it should be in Athens every time and people just get used to historical brutalness of the Greeks and call it a day.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:15 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Shorter damn dirty ape: *whoosh!*
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:16 PM on July 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


ZachsMind: there's a documentary about Peter Norman being released soon. Reviews aren't that good, but it's an insight into one of history's fascinating little sidebars.
posted by Pinback at 3:20 PM on July 13, 2008


Oh, is that satire? I cant tell. Most people Ive talked to about this stuff talk exactly like that.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:25 PM on July 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


it's when you convince enough of your oppressors to stop being such dicks that you succeed.

Gandhi suggested that during World War II, the Jews being held by the Nazis should make displays of non-violent protests ranging from fasts to mass suicide(!) to shame the Nazis into changing their behavior. He didn't realize that the most severe forms of oppression are committed by leaders so shameless and convinced of their righteousness that outsiders' opinions don't matter to them.

I think there's a lesson to be learned in that.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:28 PM on July 13, 2008


At this point, if you don't boycott you're an accomplice of these fucks
posted by matteo at 3:30 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


It was a huge relief when we lost

I think this every time Toronto loses its bid for the Olympics and hope they never come here.
posted by dobbs at 3:41 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, you can always watch what happens to Vancouver in a couple years - actually is already starting to happen now - if you need a reminder.
posted by Naberius at 3:49 PM on July 13, 2008


although i think the Chinese government (as so many govts) is a confident and uncaring beast, i wonder why they have taken such steps to ban protest if they are so unconcerned about symbols.

and yeah, buddhism is not a bourgeois pursuit in Tibet. i'd bet you'd be hard pressed to find many Tibetans who like the idea of "forcing" the Chinese government to do anything at the point of guns. they know that their only hope is to use the sympathies of the up-and-coming Chinese yuppie and the world to call attention to their distress and hope for inspiration towards more resistance--long-term and unrelenting--until the beast gives up. violent revolutions have very often proven to be unproductive in the long run when it comes to human rights. the people there know that, and so should any student of history.
posted by RedEmma at 4:00 PM on July 13, 2008


Perhaps in another 1000 years Tibet will conquer China... again.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:06 PM on July 13, 2008


trying to boorishly co-opt someone else's celebration.

if i am an athlete who has chosen the route of going to the Olympics rather than boycotting, then as a participant i have the right to protest in any way i see fit. (or not, as the case may be. we are all individuals with rights, are we not?) consequences come from acting, but that doesn't mean the act should not exist.
posted by RedEmma at 4:10 PM on July 13, 2008


Just because some people who would like to see justice in this world are fools does not mean that the cause is foolish, Mayor Curley. But, you know, keep up with your Buddhist bashing if it makes you feel better. We've seen it here before.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 4:14 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


"At this point, if you don't boycott you're an accomplice of these fucks"
posted by matteo at 6:30 PM on July 13

By the same dualistic logic, if you do boycott, you're a tool of the bourgeois, inciting class warfare, possibly for profit. And your Momma dresses you funny.
posted by paulsc at 4:50 PM on July 13, 2008


you know, keep up with your Buddhist bashing if it makes you feel better. We've seen it here before.

Sure thing Bodhisatta, as long as you're aware that it's white, first-world, converted Buddhists I'm bashing, not the real ones.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:08 PM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


"if i am an athlete who has chosen the route of going to the Olympics rather than boycotting, then as a participant i have the right to protest in any way i see fit responsibility to respect the rules of Olympic competition and to act in a manner that promotes peaceful, fair competition and the safety of other participants and spectators. ..."
posted by RedEmma at 7:10 PM on July 13

FTFY. No, no charge. Glad I could help.

"consequences come from acting, but that doesn't mean the act should not exist."

Sounds a lot like Eric Rudolph (warning: link to his hate rant allocution, on ArmyofGod site), the guy who bombed Olympic Park in Atlanta, in '96.
posted by paulsc at 5:10 PM on July 13, 2008


as long as you're aware that it's white, first-world, converted Buddhists I'm bashing, not the real ones.

You must point us to the complexion/religion chart so people know what beliefs they qualify for. Don't keep us in the dark!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:17 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


paulsc, the glaring difference you cluelessly insist on missing is that there is a vast difference between a violent protest and a non-violent one. everyone has the right to non-violently protest. everyone. always. everywhere. i almost wrote "nearly everywhere", thinking of funerals, but i could imagine having a grudging admiration for someone who chose to forget bad taste and protested the funeral of Rev. Phelps.)

"respecting the rules" only works if the rules are just. and a bad rule might involve keeping your mouth shut in the face of grave injustice.

the question of whether someone is being unduly disrespectful is given to the people observing the event to decide. protesting in some places can be considered in bad taste. running around screaming is generally considered unseemly. unless, of course, there's something to scream about.
posted by RedEmma at 5:21 PM on July 13, 2008


Sure thing Bodhisatta, as long as you're aware that it's white, first-world, converted Buddhists I'm bashing, not the real ones.

Japan is 'first-world' too, so you I hope you include all the Buddhist converts there, too. But I'm curious how you developed this economics-based system of bigotry?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:24 PM on July 13, 2008


Oh, I didn't see the "white" qualifier there. So you're just a racist. That's easier to understand.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:28 PM on July 13, 2008


Durn Bronzefist:You must point us to the complexion/religion chart so people know what beliefs they qualify for.

Here it is. It's simple so you can memorize it:

Adopting a totally different religion from the one you were born into while past puberty and not for show (i.e. marriage) = pretentious and/or crazy.

If you disagree, I don't know why you'd actually care enough to make a sarcastic comment. You have Right Knowledge presumably, so why do you care what I think, Kundun?
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:31 PM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, I didn't see the "white" qualifier there. So you're just a racist. That's easier to understand.

Unreasoned, grasping logic aside, I think you're straying from the Path. Right Attitude, man! Right Attitude! You're losing it! Go meditate!
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:37 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


everyone has the right to non-violently protest. everyone. always. everywhere

Everyone has the right to slap deep-fried fish against their faces while jumping up and down, as well, and it's just as effective at changing the world.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:41 PM on July 13, 2008


As a bit of trivia: this article is not (yet?) blocked in China.
posted by absalom at 5:44 PM on July 13, 2008


"... and a bad rule might involve keeping your mouth shut in the face of grave injustice. ..."
posted by RedEmma at 8:21 PM on July 13

Thank whatever deity you like that Jesse Owens put the boot to that tired line of thinking, way back in 1936. Film of him crossing the finish lines in some of his 4 gold medal events was prominent in newsreels of the day, all over the world. Intercut with you-know-who's frowning face. But as Wikipedia recounts, Owens remained factual about his experiences in Munich, throughout his life, regardless of the propaganda uses to which his images were put:
On reports that Hitler had deliberately avoided acknowledging his victories, and had refused to shake his hand, Owens recounted:[6]
“ When I passed the Chancellor he arose, waved his hand at me, and I waved back at him. I think the writers showed bad taste in criticizing the man of the hour in Germany. ”

He also stated:[7]
“ Hitler didn't snub me—it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram."
And despite his disappointments after the '36 Olympics, he supported the '68 Olympics too, and refused to endorse the protests that are subject of this FPP.

Classy guy, and remembered as such.
posted by paulsc at 5:57 PM on July 13, 2008


"everyone has the right to non-violently protest. everyone. always. everywhere."
posted by RedEmma at 8:21 PM on July 13

Absolutely wrong, RedEmma. Military personnel do not, on pain of court martial. Diplomats do not, sometimes on pain of treason. And people and athletes acting, even informally, as national ambassadors, training on money raised on the premise that the Olympic movement is apolitical, shouldn't.

There are world class international sporting competitions where individual athletes may enter as individuals, and if they want to act like louts in those venues, on their own dime and time, more power to them. But wrapping themselves in the flag of some nation, to grab the limelight for unrelated "issues" is reprehensible.
posted by paulsc at 6:11 PM on July 13, 2008


Given that the Olympics are far more about nationalism than athletics (it's an ends-means relationship), I'm not sure how such a protest could be termed "reprehensible."

Unless you're a screaming nationalist jerk who- ohhhh, right.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:21 PM on July 13, 2008


"Given that the Olympics are far more about nationalism than athletics ..."
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:21 PM on July 13

Given that ham-handed attempts to orchestrate the Games for nationalistic purposes have never been very successful, and have several times been propaganda failures, I fail to see your premise as factual, much less a "given."
posted by paulsc at 6:28 PM on July 13, 2008


You're losing it! Go meditate!

I'm not a Buddhist, Curley, so your childish taunts look even sillier. But I do find your bigotry amusing, since you so enjoy bashing people like Southerners for their supposed moral inferiorities. Turns out you're just another racist yourself.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:38 PM on July 13, 2008


The very premise of the Olympics is nationalist, paulsc.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:44 PM on July 13, 2008


Cheese, making fun of petit bourgeois whites who get bored with their parents religion, read Kerouac (at best) or Paulo Coelho (more likely) and decide that meditating is cooler than going to Church is many things, but certainly not racist.
posted by matteo at 6:50 PM on July 13, 2008


The very premise of the Olympics is nationalist, paulsc.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:44 PM on July 13

Tell that to the 1980 Russian hockey team, please. Teams and sportsmen stand on those podiums, and receive medals, under flags while listening to national anthems. But it's international because, on any given day, any flag can be raised highest, and any anthem can be played, while all watch and listen, depending on who is best at sport that day.
posted by paulsc at 6:58 PM on July 13, 2008


or who injected themselves with the most steroids
posted by matteo at 7:03 PM on July 13, 2008


making fun of petit bourgeois whites ... is not racist

No, but Curley's assertion that when whites convert it's somehow pretending is racist. The implication that the religion is only right for brown or yellow people, and that whites should know better or something.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:10 PM on July 13, 2008


Adults should know better, but I guess that's beside the point.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:22 PM on July 13, 2008


Adults should know better, but I guess that's beside the point.

Right, those monks who stood up to the Burmese junta were so childish.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:37 PM on July 13, 2008


Shit is gonna go bad in these Olympics, I can feel it. The CCP is reacting with increased wariness to the outside and has already done a lot of stupid stuff to alienate foriegners in China. With all these outsiders poring in to Beijing expecting to find a normal western country, there is bound to be severe tension. As a westerner living in China, I'm quite scared that my future here is far from secure.
posted by afu at 8:40 PM on July 13, 2008


The implication that the religion is only right for brown or yellow people, and that whites should know better or something.

No, the implication is that the religion is complex, based on teachings that must be ingrained from early childhood and if you pick it up as a western adult you're being pretentious.
You knew that was my point and you're willfully ignoring it because you know that racism is particularly distasteful. Way to crib from the Republican playbook! THREAD 2182501 VETERANS FOR TRUTH!
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:09 PM on July 13, 2008


Right, those monks who stood up to the Burmese junta were so childish.

Whenever you're done with that strawman, I'd like a turn, that looks fun.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:12 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just enjoy pointing out your bigotry, Curley, that's all. It's funny because you love bashing other people from some imaginary throne of moral superiority. And at your core you're just an intolerant hypocrite.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:25 PM on July 13, 2008


Christ Mayor Curley, If the mention of Tibet brings out the hippie hate in you so much, I'd hate to see what happens when you get around hemp products, patchouli oil or unshaven armpits.
posted by afu at 10:09 PM on July 13, 2008


No, but Curley's assertion that when whites convert it's somehow pretending is racist. The implication that the religion is only right for brown or yellow people, and that whites should know better or something.

Likewise, no affiliation, and I completely agree.

religion is complex, based on teachings that must be ingrained from early childhood

All religion? This religion? I'm not sure it's teachings that are "ingrained" if a childhood full of Sunday school taught me anything. More like how to gloss over uncomfortable inconsistencies. An adult could pick that up in year or two, tops. Now Buddhism emphasis scholarly devotion more than some others, but it certainly isn't beyond the scope of an adult to acquire. I thought you were going for a more general bash of religious belief. That I would have at least had a bit of respect for. Oh well.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:54 PM on July 13, 2008


Gee Mayor Curley, I guess you're right. The Tibetans of course have been Buddhist since the beginning of time....unchanging Asia, always mired in history until the coming of the white man. Thanks for reminding me! Bon? What's that???
posted by wuwei at 11:04 PM on July 13, 2008


Curley, whilst any system of thought can be used for a variety of purposes, is it beyond you to acknowledge that there may be some people with, yes, less melanin in their skin who might come to Buddhism with serious minds and intentions? Your flippancy is a bit tiresome.
posted by Rufus T. Firefly at 11:43 PM on July 13, 2008


Through the miracle of the incomparable Dharma, I have been afforded the marvellous insight that it is better to associate with dippy hippies than to be carrying water for an authoritarian regime like a shit person with shit politics.
posted by Abiezer at 1:25 AM on July 14, 2008


Nobody in this thread is "carrying water" for China.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:57 AM on July 14, 2008


If your first thought when the question of national self-determination and civil liberties for Tibetans is raised is to have a crack at the wankier advocates of their cause in the West, that is exactly what you're doing.
posted by Abiezer at 2:12 AM on July 14, 2008


[NOT HERMITOSIS-IST]: "Norman's role in that iconic image ought to be downplayed; it has nothing to do with him, his country, or his ethnicity. That he consequences he suffered are unfortunate, but should not be blithely muddled with those that Smith and Carlos were protesting."

When the press asked Norman about his opinion, he coulda went mum. He coulda just shrugged and said, "y'know I just won the silver. I don't know what you news guys want from me. I stood there cuz I won a silver for Australia. I'm not even American."

Norman not only said he supported Smith and Carlos, Norman went on to add he opposed his country's government's "White Australia" policy. This is what ostracized him. In the eyes of some bigots, in Australia and around the world, Norman stopped being white in their eyes that very instant. He essentially came out to the entire world "a nigger lover."

So I know you're being all sanctimonious and think you're being cute, downplaying Norman's choice to stand in solidarity, that this had nothing to do with him, but hate and fear pointed at any human beings is OUR problem. Anyone with the balls to take a stand should not be downplayed.

With all due respect dude, shame on you for suggesting that. If there were more people like Norman, and less people reacting as you have, we wouldn't have civil rights problems in the first place. More people would stand up for what's right, and less people would treat that like it didn't mean anything, cuz it does.

But hey, like I said before, I don't want anyone getting hurt, so STOP standing up for what's right. So long as there's people thinking like [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST], it won't do anyone any good anyway. They'll just downplay it.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:44 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, and very cool PinBack. Thanks for the heads up! =)
posted by ZachsMind at 2:48 AM on July 14, 2008


Zachsmind (and [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST])

Peter Norman was actually present at the unveiling of that statue of Smith and Carlos. The sculptor had left him off (against Calos' wishes) to enable the staue to be participatory - so anyone could get up there and "take a stand" alongside Smith and Carlos. Norman was completely in agreement (at least he publically said he was, but he was sufficiently effusive I'm inclined to agree). There's a good article, with quotes, about the art, artist and unveiling here.
posted by Sparx at 2:54 AM on July 14, 2008


Pope Guilty: I would like to know why you think China should be given a free ride here.
Not only are they repressing human rights in Tibet; they are also fuelling the war in Darfur. As the athletes will doubtless be leant on not to upset the apple cart, the politicians can make a symbolic gesture by their absence at the opening ceremony. Isn't that what politicians are supposed to do in the democratic world - reflect the opinions of the people. I think my question to you is better summarised: Fiddle much? ( Thank you all for the interesting derail on Peter Norman)
posted by adamvasco at 3:52 AM on July 14, 2008


If your first thought when the question of national self-determination and civil liberties for Tibetans is raised is to have a crack at the wankier advocates of their cause in the West, that is exactly what you're doing.

We're not talking about whether the occupation is right or wrong, we're talking about how people who are neither Chinese nor Tibetan should respond. And you know what? People who protest and think they've done something, anything, worth doing? Are insufferable idiots who can't tell the difference between the symbolic and the real. All the athletes could walk out, all the world leaders could refuse to show up, and you know what it would change? Not a goddamned thing. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Chinese government does not give an ounce of rat shit what you think, nor what Olympic athletes think, nor what the rest of the world thinks. So long as their actions in Tibet continue to have little to no economic or military consequences, they will not stop. They will not be shamed into stopping. They will not stop because you ask them to. They will not stop because "the whole world is watching" or any of that other gee-I-wish-it-was-1968-again happy horsecrap.

Every fucking reference I have made in this thread to the Chinese government has been negative. Go read my posts and see where I explicitly refer to them as oppressors. That I find the Western Tibet solidarity movement to be made of lose, fail, and ineffectual, self-righteous hippie doesn't mean that I think the Chinese government is an a-okay institution which should escape scrutiny. That's a false dichotomy, and using it to accuse me of somehow carrying water for one of the worst governments on the planet makes you a world-class asshole.

Pope Guilty: I would like to know why you think China should be given a free ride here.
Not only are they repressing human rights in Tibet; they are also fuelling the war in Darfur. As the athletes will doubtless be leant on not to upset the apple cart, the politicians can make a symbolic gesture by their absence at the opening ceremony. Isn't that what politicians are supposed to do in the democratic world - reflect the opinions of the people. I think my question to you is better summarised: Fiddle much?


I find it fascinating that you're talking about how the athletes and politicians should undertake these symbolic, meaningless actions, and then accusing me of playing Nero's fiddle. You know what course of action I endorse with regard to Tibet? Guns. Lots and lots and fucking lots of guns and missiles and whatever the fuck else the Tibetans need to drive the Chinese out. I wanna give them the muhajadeen package, the same thing we gave the Afghanis when they were invaded by the USSR.

That would be refusing to fiddle while Rome burns. The popular support for the worthless symbolic gestures that you advocate, instead of actual, concrete action, is why the Chinese are probably not going to be leaving Tibet any time soon.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:06 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wasn't actually referring to you Pope Guilty and I'm not sure why you thought i was; it was Mayor thingy's rant above set me off. Cheer up chuck.
posted by Abiezer at 7:19 AM on July 14, 2008


That doesn't change the fact that my response to your statement is valid; we're not talking about the occupation itself but the Western response to it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:28 AM on July 14, 2008


in the face of such kneejerk reaction to people asserting their inborn rights, i'm wondering why the monks are exempt from such judgment. after all, if rights are determined by outside forces and malleable by people in power as paulsc asserts, then the monks et. al. by that logic *deserve* to be in jail, since they technically themselves don't have the right to march for their own human rights.

people are *born* with the right to do and be a whole lot of things. (food, shelter, clothing, speech... non-violent action.) doesn't matter what the law says, or whether they have a constitution, or you've signed a piece of paper. people can be easily persuaded otherwise of course, but some of us are stubborn in our clear-eyed view. asserting these rights can often be no small thing. people get offended. how dare we?

if everyone only did what they were "allowed" to do, then we'd be in a pretty sorry state.

which comes to Mayor Curley's belief that adults should be atheists or what their parents made them. by that logic, if i'm born to bourgeois elitist hippies who became buddhists when they were 20, then i'm okay. (why is it that it has to be from childhood? if i spend my entire adult life studying and immersing myself in a religion's teachings, why doesn't that count more than a kid who's studied for the three years he's been literate? that's just weird. even weirder is that faking it for the sake of a marriage is a-okay.) there must be no such thing as conversions--not to mormonism, not to protestantism (that Martin Luther was a pretentious hack!), no reform whatsoever. and if i'm born into the FLDS, then by god, i'd better stay there and stay sweet! does this work the other way? are all the people around the world who convert from animist religions and buddhism to christianity--are they pretentious? no, just crazy?

[for the record, i am an american atheist with a twenty-year-long interest in buddhist practice and philosophy, and a celebratory pagan on holidays. i rarely call myself a buddhist in public, because i suck at it so much. but being an atheist (or an american, for that matter) is not what makes me suck--outside of the variety of traditional ethnic practice, there is no god in buddhism. i exhibit about the same interest in religious practice as i did when i was a lackadaisically-raised lutheran.]

what i really wonder is why he thinks he knows more about who should be a buddhist than the Asian buddhists themselves, who happily send teachers all over the world and invite anyone to participate in the practice. (are they inviting us to be pretentious and crazy? or are they just stupid? those silly monks!)

there is a weird prejudice running through all of this that says that Americans or Westerners are incapable of sincerity or commitment. also--the frequent use of the word "bourgeois" and exhortations against action makes me think that i'm surrounded by Chinese secret police posing as MetaFilter posters.
posted by RedEmma at 7:44 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


ZachsMind, I'm not downplaying his decisions or his actions, but the remembrance of them in any significant way. What Smith and Carlos did deserves the attention; Norman was just doing what (I hope) most people would have done in that situation by participating supportively. You even say yourself that what led to his ostracizing were his comments about Australia, not the US, a fact that separates him yet another degree from the American context of this protest.

With all due respect dude, shame on you for suggesting that.

I didn't; I just suggested that it's important (especially for white people) to resist the urge to recall the black civil rights struggle through the lens of white people who contributed in some small way (ie. acted like genuine human beings).

The sculptor had left him off (against Carlos' wishes) to enable the staue to be participatory - so anyone could get up there and "take a stand" alongside Smith and Carlos. Norman was completely in agreement.

See? Norman gets it even if you don't.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 7:52 AM on July 14, 2008


the Tibetans are a lot smarter than you, Pope Guilty. they know that guns would lead to further and more severe repression.
posted by RedEmma at 7:56 AM on July 14, 2008


Pope Guilty - well, I think you're wrong about the effect of international condemnation. The PRC government certainly isn't going to change tack overnight because of some stunts during the games, but there is sensitivity to how China is viewed in the world within factions of the ruling party. Likewise, it is possible to have impact on public opinion within China. If I were designing the campaigns, I'd drop any crude China-bashing and emphasise civil rights and freedoms. I agree with a point made by Tsering Shakya in the article I linked, that the best hope for Tibetans is in a general liberalisation for all PRC citizens. A skilful international campaign could help make the case that the treatment of minorities is one of the yardsticks by which rights and freedoms are measured. This was something understood by the framers of the original national minorities policy in the early years of the People's Republic.
It's certainly easy to get nationalist backs up by protest overseas, but it does keep sending the message that the current policy is beyond the pale. It also keeps the issue on the agenda when other governments deal with China. I would expect (the unlikely event of) a mass walk-out of athletes to have a major impact. Certainly sections of public and official opinion here would be hardened, but don't be fooled into thinking that's all there is because they shout the loudest and are allowed to speak.
posted by Abiezer at 8:17 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


btw, Pope Guilty, why do you hate the Tibetans so much that you would wish upon them what has been wrought by the proliferation of gun violence in Afghanistan? by the policies of the United States just as much as by the USSR?
posted by RedEmma at 9:07 AM on July 14, 2008


btw, Pope Guilty, why do you hate the Tibetans so much that you would wish upon them what has been wrought by the proliferation of gun violence in Afghanistan?

I was going to suggest that you hate them because you want to deny them the only tool that has ever in history proven effective against oppression, but I'm pretty sure that you're just a deluded hippie and not malicious. Your namesake would roll in her grave.

Ya'll can pretend that it's 1968 and LOVE will overcome all oppression and hate, but it's just the same naivete that it was then. Shame and social pressure work only on people who are sensitive to others' opinions of them. If the Chinese were sensitive to it, they'd have left Tibet years ago.

Pacifists: best friends of the oppressor.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:36 PM on July 14, 2008


God damn y'all.

First of all, it's been almost 50 years. Regardless of how horrible the occupation has been, that's a long time, and what little development has gone on there would get crushed in any sort of armed revolt.

While I forget where to find the article, I remember it was linked here, and it stated that the "Tibetan issue" is a LOT more complicated than you'd think today, the most overt complicating factor in that being the illegal immigrants from Sichuan to the south. That and corruption and the fact that China has been dumping a significant chunk of its own GDP into welfare programs out there and cultural erosion and religious tension and face-saving by the national government clashing with local government initiatives and vice-versa. And and and...

I'm not defending the actions of the Chinese government in Tibet over the last 50 years by any means. And while I hate to bring up the equivocation canard that Han nationalism always plays, I'd never defend the US government's actions against the Native American population. This has validity in the notion that it happened ages ago and the situation is hardly one of independence vs. colonialism anymore. It's an ugly, disturbing fact of the world we live in today, and it's one we have to face on its own terms. They need better, more accountable governance.

How should we as Westerners respond, then? How do we respond when this happens anywhere else in the world? How do we respond to ANY human rights abuses in China, or in our own countries? And is China the evil empire? Hell no. Things need to change here in the PRC, but Olympic boycotts and bumper stickers aren't going to do it.

The West has failed (and not surprisingly, as it's a monumental task, given the media blanket we have to penetrate) to reach the Han people with the message that "we actually like you and respect you". There is an almost universal feeling in China that "foreigners" don't respect them and refuse to see them as equals (and given our historical treatment of Chinese people, you can't blame them, but these days its more isolation than anything that allows that attitude to persist). If there was ever a better chance for the rest of the world to open up dialog with China by showing them that we respect their accomplishments and merits, what they've done right over the last 30 years, the Olympics is it (as much as they disgust me).

I hope to god nobody fucks with these Olympics, because when they're over, I want to be able to say to a Chinese man that I don't agree with the situation in Tibet without worrying about fighting off accusations of neocolonialism. Hearts and minds, people.
posted by saysthis at 6:06 PM on July 14, 2008


you want to deny them the only tool that has ever in history proven effective against oppression, but I'm pretty sure that you're just a deluded hippie and not malicious.

you continue to ignore the fact that the Tibetans themselves have not advocated nor asked for weapons from anyone. are they just "deluded hippies" too?

Your namesake would roll in her grave.

my namesake had a great transformation in her outlook when she was exiled to post-revolutionary USSR. and though she remained staunch in her defense of those who take up arms in their own defense (and i agree with her that they ought not to be blamed or condemned outright for their acts), she began to question what violence begets when used in revolutions. in the end, she was often ambiguous and ambivalent in her feelings about violence--it was a tactic that should probably not be used because it often backfired badly, but that when entrapped and especially uneducated and powerless people use it they should still be supported.
(yes, she had a kneejerk affection for violence as the "quick fix", and she was reluctant to disavow it in her very public word-life. that would be a product of her words being used against her from all quarters, left and right.)

i have no doubt, however--having read her work extensively--that had she the perspective of living another sixty five years and witnessing the latter 20th century and the rise of massive military industrial complexes equal to the Chinese system, she would support the current Tibetan tactics wholly. (okay, she would debate religion and what the people's desires really were, and she'd probably visit to find out, but she would support them in the end. even if they were buddhist.) do you really think that Emma Goldman would remain fixed in her opinions were she faced with today's realities? we all evolve, hopefully. i know i have.

there is no doubt in the world that an armed insurrection would lead to exponentially worse suffering in this case on the part of the people involved--in fact the only power the Tibetans have at this time is the fact that they have taken the "higher road" for the most part--it is the only thing that has saved them from outright extermination. the Tibetans could never acquire enough guns and technology to defeat the Chinese army, and you seem to ignore the reality that this immoral enemy will not hesitate to squash utterly someone organizing revolution in the well-worn ways it's been done before. the difference between unarmed Tibetans marching for their rights and armed Tibetans shooting from alleyways is simple: unarmed equals jail--armed would have equalled much more death. massive, unhesitating death. in the face of nonviolent monks, the average Chinese soldier will hesitate. that crack must be exploited.

Emma knew well that winning hearts and minds was far more important than guns. that's why she gave speeches instead of going underground and shooting people. duh.

finally, she certainly would not believe, as you seem to, that a country such as the United States would hand over weaponry without requiring a people's soul in exchange. she would also not think that her own culturally biased assumptions about another country's revolution should influence their chosen tactics, since they are the best assessors of the risks involved and the weaknesses of their oppressor. to her, it is the People who decide what do about their oppression, and they must be respected for the path they choose. when will you give the Tibetan people that same respect?

"I know that in the past every great political and social change, necessitated violence....Yet it is one thing to employ violence in combat as a means of defence. It is quite another thing to make a principle of terrorism, to institutionalise it, to assign it the most vital place in the social struggle. Such terrorism begets counter-revolution and in turn itself becomes counter-revolutionary."~The Real Red Emma
posted by RedEmma at 8:58 PM on July 14, 2008


Tibetans have tried armed resistance in '59, in a number of uprisings that took advantage of the chaos of the Cultural Revolution and later in CIA-backed guerilla actions out of Mustang in the 1970s. Elements of the Uyghur separatist movement are apparently conducting an armed struggle now (though there's a lot of smoke and mirrors in the reporting of that). It's hard to envision any scenarios where this will create better outcomes for ordinary Tibetans and Uyghurs in China.
I perhaps didn't make it clear enough above that I see any likely progress on rights and liberties in China to come through top-down reform in the first instance. There are various (ill-defined mostly it seems) intra-Party factions contesting policy direction, but by and large more liberal elements are setting the long-term agenda, even if retrograde elements hold sway in particular sectors (like the censors). What won't happen in the short term is any concession which appears to erode the Party's monopoly on power. Yet there is scope for significant improvements in freedoms affecting the quality of life of PRC citizens - in publishing and speech, in the right to association and in protections from arbitrary abuses. That's a potential all people of good will should encourage in the near term - and personally I don't care more (or less) about the rights of Tibetans and Uyghurs than I do poor Han or Miao farmers or coal miners up in Shaanxi. Twenty years down the road a less authoritarian and more self-confident China may well be big enough to concede the genuine autonomy it has always promised its national minorities.
Although the initial reforms will of necessity be top down, this is not to say that the course they take will not be affected by general public opinion. In so far as that opinion supports greater civil liberties for all, there will be space for the preservation of minority culture and religion and improved freedom for debate within minority groups and within China as a whole. In my view there has been little historical popular feeling that Tibet, Mongolia and Xinjiang are inalienable parts of China (in contrast to Taiwan perhaps). I can't see the territory being conceded, for strategic and resource reasons, but you can certainly imagine a Chinese polity that allowed a higher level of local autonomy and cultural and religious freedom. To generalise broadly, there has historically been little sense of imperial mission among ordinary Chinese people and I think most would be happy to let minority groups pursue equal but separate ways of life. Internationally that's the tendency to encourage - the traditions of 公道 (fairness) and 己所不欲勿施予人 (do unto others..).
posted by Abiezer at 2:00 AM on July 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


"... after all, if rights are determined by outside forces and malleable by people in power as paulsc asserts, then the monks et. al. by that logic *deserve* to be in jail, since they technically themselves don't have the right to march for their own human rights. ..."
posted by RedEmma at 10:44 AM on July 14

That's such an incredibly twisted "restatement" of anything I've posted, and such a complete and obtuse failure to understand anything about the Olympic movement, or how athletes around the world join Olympic teams, and train under the sponsorship of those teams, or compete in Olympic Games, or how spectators and media that attend the Games as the premier quadrennial international apolitical celebration of sport they are intended to be, that it amounts to simple baiting. You're trolling, and doing a bad job of it, RedEmma.

Dull hook, funky smelling bait, no rod action, all in waters you've intentionally muddied yourself. Typically ineffective anarchist rhetorical technique. Perhaps Emma Goldman salutes you from her forgotten grave, as ineffectually in death as ever she was in life, but I don't.
posted by paulsc at 6:35 AM on July 15, 2008


Lhasa, Making Sound in Fear – by Woeser
posted by homunculus at 9:44 AM on July 15, 2008


Chinese impose blackout over new Tibetan monk deaths
posted by homunculus at 2:51 PM on July 18, 2008


Chinese impose blackout over blacks and alcohol and that's only the tip of the iceberg.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:07 AM on July 19, 2008


"Beijing police have been visiting bar owners in the popular Sanlitun area and asking them to sign pledges agreeing to not serve black people or Mongolians and ban activities including dancing."

WTF?
posted by homunculus at 11:32 AM on July 19, 2008


Tibetan writer, a rare outspoken voice against Beijing's policies, sues Chinese government
posted by homunculus at 2:28 PM on July 23, 2008


Nepal: Abuses Against Tibetans Protesting China’s Tibet Crackdown. China Leans on Nepal to Stifle Demonstrations
posted by homunculus at 3:36 PM on July 24, 2008


China is planning a sweeping purge of Tibetan monasteries, including banning all worship at those deemed to be major centres of subversion.
posted by homunculus at 2:45 PM on July 27, 2008


Dalai Lama challenged by new generation of Buddhist activists
posted by homunculus at 12:40 PM on August 1, 2008


Guilty of Being Tibetan: Scenes from a Lhasa Prison
posted by homunculus at 12:57 PM on August 4, 2008


Bottom line: The Olympics should not be used for politics.

They are. They have been for over fifty years. They will continue to be used to make international political statements, and this will ultimately destroy the Olympics. Probably sooner rather than later.

Beijing is trying to prove that despite their differences with more democratic societies they can still 'play nice.' Other countries and other interests globally will use the Olympics to prove just the opposite.

This is undermining what The Olympics really represent: fair and legitimate competition between citizens of peaceful nations - good sportsmanship and the challenge of the human spirit to persevere and find the best in itself. If the governments of the participants can't behave themselves, it's like parents at a school play starting a brawl in the auditorium cuz they can't agree on which child is the best. The governments of the world should just sit on their hands and watch the damned spectacle. THIS IS NOT ABOUT THEM! It's about the athletes!

This will destroy the Olympics. Frankly, I'll be surprised if there's another summer Olympics after this one. Wasn't there "The Friendship Games" some years back, when a group of countries that boycotted the Olympics got together and had their own equivalent? I suspect something like that will happen between now and 2012, and historically the Olympics as we now know it will once again become a thing of the past.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:51 PM on August 4, 2008


Bottom line: The Olympics should not be used for politics.

As I've said, the Olympics have always been about nationalism and politics. They've always been opportunities for people of all nations to get together with their fellow citizens and root for athletes based solely on their national origin, for people to take pride in the accomplishments of others based on nothing beyond a shared nationality, for countries to obtain bragging rights through the performance of proxies. There is nothing apolitical about them, and to pretend that they are some intermittent gathering of nations for peaceful, apolitical purposes is to lie grievously.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:50 PM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pope Guilty: "There is nothing apolitical about them, and to pretend that they are some intermittent gathering of nations for peaceful, apolitical purposes is to lie grievously."

There is a remarkable difference between chanting 'USA! USA!' cuz the team just scored or whatever, and some country's politicians telling their athletes they can't compete at all, because X and Y don't get along with Z.

You are right that we can't pretend that they are some intermittent gathering of nations for peaceful, apolitical purposes. However, you are wrong to think we shouldn't strive for the Olympics to BE a gathering of nations for peaceful, apolitical purposes. The world's leaders can be at one another's throats about all kinds of things, but they should be stopped in their tracks and left awestruck and dumbfounded every four years when despite their ethnocentrism and short-sightedness and arrogance, a bunch of human beings interact despite geographic boundaries and find ways to compete in a civil manner, and share in the joys of what it means to be human.

Screw politicians. I want the world's problems hammered out by people who can get along with each other: people who know how to practice good sportsmanship, and aren't sore losers. OR sore winners, which is essentially how Shrub has painted America this past decade. If this great bragging superpower of a country called USA does fall, as many critics predict, it'll be because we've been sore winners. Politicians could learn a thing or two from athletes.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:12 AM on August 5, 2008


Tibet at a Turning Point: the Spring Uprising and China's New Crackdown
posted by homunculus at 6:15 PM on August 5, 2008


If we stopped identifying and grouping the athletes by nation, and stopped draping national flags everywhere, then maybe, just maybe, it could be a non-nationalist event. As long as the Olympics continue to be a competition of proxies for nations rather than a competition of indivudal or teams of athletes, the Olympics will remain the carnival of nationalism that they are now.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:59 AM on August 6, 2008


Bird’s Nest Banner Action
posted by homunculus at 10:47 AM on August 6, 2008


The Olympics are very much a nationalist event. I am completely in agreement there. That does not mean it has to be a political event. When a government orders the athletes from its nation to not participate, that's when it stops being about national pride and starts being about politics.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:03 PM on August 6, 2008


"The Olympics are very much a nationalist event."

...uh, I don't like how I worded that. uhm...

The Olympics are very much an event about individuals who are from nations of which they are proud. That politically correct enough for you?
posted by ZachsMind at 7:05 PM on August 6, 2008


China's Other Face Revealed: Documentary Traces Tibetian Monk's Story of 33 Years Under Torture, Imprisonment
posted by homunculus at 9:41 AM on August 10, 2008


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