Off and on I've been watching/reading the reports regarding the protests that have been happening along the path of the Olympic Torch. I really haven't been overly interested in them as I don't think the running of the torch is the appropriate venue for such protests. Now, keep in mind that I'm in favor of people protesting. Many things of the world would not have changed for the better if it wasn't for protests. Still, when I think of the Olympics I think of an event where governments are supposed to put their personal agenda's aside and allow their citizens to compete and show their skills of physical prowess (for the most part).
Then things got a little more in my face this weekend. You see, I have a someone dear to me in China. She was born there, and she was raised there. We talk on a regular basis. For the most part she stays away from serious topics (she refers to them as "heavy"). She lives her life working and going out of her way to help her family and friends when they need. I've seen (so to speak) her go way above and beyond what I believe I am capable of when it comes to helping others. So, when she began to talk about how upset she was with how it seemed the western media was portraying her country I knew it was really weighing on her mind.
Perhaps it was my statements of not liking the protests that allowed her to open up. Perhaps it would have happened anyway. Needless to say she vented her frustrations. Wondering why everyone seemed focused on talking negatively about China rather than speaking about the Olympics. I told her that it was due to their concerns about how China handled human rights and the situation with Tibet for the most part. She than began to speak on her confusion regarding the Tibet issue. I told her my level of understanding regarding Tibet was severely limited (which I think is the same for most, but that doesn't stop them from holding or wearing things with slogans regarding Tibet). So, she shared with me a bit of what she had learned growing up. I was quite taken aback. What I was hearing, I simply couldn't believe.
I have considered putting up a few things she told me. I even considered putting up the key words I used in my search on Google that lead to the things I read. However, I'm not going to do either. My reason? One word, propaganda. Please note that I don't mean that in reference to what I was told by my friend. I mean that in regards to what information she has been given by her country and what information I have been given by mine. I mean that in regards to what information she has been given by her media, and what I have been given by mine. I don't know which is "real" I don't know which is "right" as I don't know to what degree each is "real."
What I can say though is that I believe there needs to be a complete historical review of the connection and interaction between Tibet and China. I also believe that part of that needs to be a review of the societies of each independent of each other. If even a bit of what I've read is true the issue of Tibet and China could be very similar to my views of voting in the past, which is that it might be a matter of supporting the one who makes things less worse. Or as my friends and I have been known to say on occasion, "A higher state of suck."
So, again I say I wish the Olympics would be left to be the Olympics. Keep out the propaganda. The time for people to make focused and meaningful protests were when the location for the Olympics was being chosen. Hell, even up to the time the running of the flame started. To me the form of these current protests only serve to detract and distract from those individuals who have spent a large portion of their lives practicing to compete in these games. If those individuals choose not to compete because of their beliefs about China, Tibet, human rights, gas prices, the names of colors Crayola uses. I can respect their choice to bow out as a protest. I can respect those who wish to talk about the issues on their mind at this time even throughout the Olympics. I just wish they would do so "outside" the Olympics.
Maybe I'm wrong about all this though. My opinion, cut down to the basics? Let the athletes compete and focus on their competition and don't take away from their desire to compete.
I guess we'll all see what these protesters and the media covering them after the Olympics are over. That's when the true level of conviction will show.