Monday, February 24, 2014
The Putin Games and the Fascist Circus
Like millions of others I was dazzled by the closing of the Sochi Games, for it was a spectacular display of the best that Russia has to offer.
And I was happy to see the smiles on the faces of our athletes after such a successful Olympics.
But I have to admit I really didn't feel like celebrating, not when the biggest winner of those games was the sinister thug Vladimir Putin.
Putin did not speak at the closing ceremony – host country leaders never do at such events – but Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of the Sochi Organizing Committee, seemed to take the words out of Putin’s mouth. “This is the new face of Russia,” he said.
Who would boast that his games are the new face of Russia.
When in fact this is the real face of his fascist country...
And in the face of that brutality.
Or this one...
I have to admit I found the silence of the athletes deeply disappointing.
Before the Sochi Games, a number of Olympic athletes pointedly spoke out against Russia's controversial gay 'propaganda' laws. The law mandates fines for speaking in defense of gay rights or saying gay relationships are equal to heterosexual ones in front of minors.
Once the Games got under way, the public criticism all but went quiet.
For there wasn't a single gesture of defiance, a single sign of solidarity with Putin's many victims, gay or straight.
And at worse there was this...
Which made me shake my head in disbelief, or feel like vomiting.
But then maybe I was expecting too much, because I was also reminded how easy it is for all of us to be distracted by these kind of sporting events.
To get caught up in the excitement, and forget everything else, even when what we're really witnessing is a fascist circus.
Just like people did during the Nazi Games, where Adolf Hitler was the big winner...
And where when the games were over, Germany's Jews asked the world not to forget them. But everybody did, until it was too late.
So I'd like to think that some good will come out of the Sochi Games.
If the Olympics hadn’t come to Sochi, there wouldn’t have been such a tough but needed dialogue over whether the International Olympic Committee needs to stop awarding the Games to countries that commit human rights violations.
I'd like to think they will help the Russians head for the light instead of further into the darkness.
But when I saw how the ghastly I.O.C. boss Thomas Bach was slobbering all over Putin...
Like his predecessors slobbered over Hitler at the Nazi Games. I doubt that anything will save the Olympic movement.
And when I read what 17-year-old, Vladislav Slavskiy, the only openly gay teenager in Sochi told Billie Jean King:
Said Slavskiy: “They try to rape me, they send me awful things, they put me dirty water, they put me urine.”
King: “If we could do one thing for you, what would it be? How can I help you?”
Slavskiy: “I don’t know how you can help me.”
I doubt that things will improve in Russia. I can only see them getting worse. Especially now that the games have made Putin more popular than ever.
So yeah, it was a dazzling spectacle, a great sporting event, a monumental circus.
But I can only think of those who were forgotten.
So I'm giving the Sochi Games and Putin's Russia, a big thumbs down...
But I will remember that horrible silence.
And I won't forget them...
Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.