Olympic Torch protests too successful?

Saturday, 25th April 2009 at 8:00 UTC 1 comment

The BBC reported some time ago that the Olympic Torch procession around the world that occurred before the Athens and Beijing Olympics will not be repeated, mostly because of security issues, i.e. because the protests last year were too much to handle.

The torch provided an excellent ‘hook’ for campaigners to use in putting across a message, and it appears the threat of future protest has been identified as too big a problem. Sadly this means that no one outside of Britain will have the chance to disrupt the torch relay, despite Britain’s human rights record right now looking distinctly “Chinese”, for want of a better expression.

There are plenty of reasons for the world to protest against the 2012 torch relay, especially as London is part of the global financial apparatus that has made many people’s lives even more miserable in the last year, and yet with bail-outs a plenty, the impact of the meltdown that began not just in New York but also here are likely to be felt much harder in countries without the resources to counteract it. I could suggest plenty of other issues.

Whilst we should take this as a sign that the anti-Beijing protesters were very successful, we need to realise that a key chance to protest against not just individual countries but the organisation of the world into separate and oppositional states is now gone. Sometimes, you can just be that bit too successful.

The Olympics promotes national pride and rivalry along nationalist lines, with athletes forced to represent, and give legitimacy to, nation-states to which they often owe very little, unless they’re a member of royalty in the show jumping team, and to act in opposition to those who share a common background but for the flag they are forced to promote.

But all is not lost, especially for the human rights activists in London protesting against the Beijing Olympics, as they’ll get to protest the next torch relay anyway. And seeing as ID cards are being tied to Olympic Security (as are Oyster cards), we’ll have plenty of reasons to be out protesting.


Entry filed under: Activism, Free Speech, Human Rights, Nationalism, News, Olympics.

Quick mix Pot Pouri A need for speed?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Simon  |  Saturday, 25th April 2009 at 22:16 UTC

    And I was hoping the Chinese would get their own back with a “Free Ireland” campaign. . .


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