Pride of a Nation, Success of the people
Pride of a Nation, Success of the people
By Roger D. Snyder August 9, 2008
Seven years ago I wrote a brief article about China being awarded the 2008 Olympics. It seems an eternity ago that I wrote those words.
In the days and years since that time, leading up to the Olympics in Beijing, tensions and questions continued to be raised about China hosting the 2008 Olympics. Many voices around the world (including here in the U.S.A.) did all they could to spotlight China’s short comings regarding freedom of speech, religion, Tibet and human rights. Some leaders even threatened to boycott the opening ceremony (French President Sarkozy in particular) while others used their attendance as a soap box to chastise the Chinese government (President Bush specifically).
All of the actions of those people and leaders is contrary to the Olympic spirit and tradition. Over 2000 years ago the Greeks had the idea of the Olympics and that all countries were invited. Neighbors who were at war would call a truce to participate in the games. It’s an ideal, certainly, something hard to attain. What makes it harder to attain is when people fail to even try to practice the ideal. Instead they prefer to heap scorn on the hosts nation and rather than embrace the “ideal” and the “spirit of the games” they prefer to use the games as an opportunity for their own political gain or point out what that they consider being China’s short comings.
Certainly, China has short comings. But, it has also come an enormous way towards being part of the international community and the third largest economy in the world. The standard of living in China has grown at the fastest rate in the history of man kind, an economy that grows 9% per year with over 1.3 billion people.
The issue I have with people throwing words at China that cut like a knife is that those same leaders and people fail to recognize the short comings of their own countries. France, for instance has instituted immigration policies that are so stringent that they can be construed as racist and anti Muslim. The U.S. jailed people without trials in Guantanamo Bay for over 5 years. The U.S. preemptively strikes out militarily in Iraq wasting its precious treasure and the blood of its youth. The U.S. executed a man in this past week Houston, Texas who was an illegal alien in violation of its own treaty under the Geneva Convention which guarantees Consulate access to foreign nationals, legal or not, accused of a crime. So, the U.S., and Texas specifically, essentially said to the rest of the world “go to hell” and “we’ll do what we want regardless of a treaty”.
Now, all of these things are the same things those other leaders and people say about China, but their own countries have the same problems – except they don’t have to worry about managing a country with over 1 billion people and 56 different ethnicities. It’s easy to throw stones; it’s much harder to catch them.
Politicizing the Olympics serves no purpose except to make those who criticize look bad. As I watched the opening ceremony and saw French President Sarkozy there, and President Bush, too, I couldn’t help but think how bad it looks talk bad about your host.
My mother taught me “don’t worry about cleaning your neighbors’ house when your own is still cluttered”. She also taught me “If you can’t speak something good it’s better to not speak at all”. Good advice then, great advice now. I advise those who pick on China to heed this advice. It will serve you well.
Despite all of the tensions raised in the past 7 years by China’s nemesis around the world, and despite their best efforts to sabotage these games, China put on an opening Ceremony that will be remembered long after those who witnessed it are gone. To say the ceremony was spectacular or stunning would be an understatement. To say it was the grandest Olympic opening ceremony ever – would be the truth.
Seven years ago I wrote that China deserved to host an Olympics.
Last night they not only proved they deserved it but they indeed set the standard for all future Olympics.
“Xie Xie” China for an opening Olympic ceremony that was breath-taking and I will never forget it.(end)