Thursday, April 10, 2008
There's been a fair amount of controversy about Bejing being chosen to host the Olympics this year. In San Francisco yesterday, the torch came through with lots of drama in tow. The protesters (who are trying to make people aware of the human rights violations committed by the Chinese in places like Tibet) have come out in mass. On Monday, a few people breeched security and climbed the Golden Gate Bridge to hang protest banners and Tibetan flags. The actual running of the torch was yesterday. I thought it would be great to go but it was supposed to start downtown and I wasn't interested in hauling my kids down there with all the demonstrations going on. Then all of the sudden the city opted to change to a secret route in the hopes it would keep the protesters away. Once I realized it was heading towards the marina (and no one knew where it would go which meant the traffic might be bearable) I hopped in the car and drove down to the Marina Green. There were cop cars all along Marina so I figured the procession would make it there eventually, which it did... right in front of me! And then it was total insanity when a mass of people caught up to it. I can't even describe to you how many cops came out of nowhere to line the streets and body barricade the torch.
This is what it looked like just before the procession got there:
Two minutes later it looked like this:
Here's my two cents (even though no one has asked for it and Zach wishes I would shut up about it). The Olympics should always be less about politics and more about the accomplishments of the athletes, but the honor to host them shouldn't be given to a country with a recent history of extreme oppression and disregard for human rights and lives. It would obviously be unfair for to the athletes to cancel them when they had no choice when it came to the venue, so the good that comes from it is that people are being made aware of what communist China is capable of. Most of the protesters yesterday were respectful (there were only a few idiots condemning the torch bearers and they probably couldn't tell you where Tibet was if they had a map in front of them). To make a very long story short, I totally support the athletes and think the Olympics should go forward, but I'm glad people aren't forgetting that less than 20 years ago Bejing hosted another even called the massacre at Tiananmen Square where the communist government killed and imprisoned it's own people who were peacefully calling for democracy and an end to oppression.