Thursday, July 24, 2008

No Iraq in the Olympics?

I just heard the news that Iraq has been banned from participating in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Is it just me, or does this seem totally insane? First of all, it's not like Iraq's seven Olympic athletes are contenders for a medal. Having them there is more of a feel-good story and confirmation that something good is happening in that poor country. Second, when you look at the list of countries who do have the privilege of participating in the games, it seems totally unfair that Iraq, of all places, would be banned. Here are a few of the countries participating in the summer games that one would think should be banned ahead of Iraq: North Korea, Sudan, Zimbabwe...oh, and then there's the host, China, who is currently trying to quell protests by paying off parents of kids who were killed while sitting in less-than-earthquake-proof schools during the May 12th earthquake. Not to mention what they've done in Tibet or what they're currently doing to the environment, to the ratio of males to females, and to wild animals with valuable "medicinal" parts. And they're allowed to host the games? Give me a break. It's junk like this that makes me want to avoid watching the games.

Iraq was kicked out of the games on a technicality having to do with their National Olympic Committee. It sounds like Iraq was trying to reform their committee and got kicked out in the process. North Korea, Sudan, and Zimbabwe all have technically correct National Olympic Committees, so they're allowed to participate despite their disgusting human rights records. Again, their athletes are not going to be standing up on a podium in any event and they're not responsible for the wrongs we can attribute to their countries, but wouldn't it be nice if the IOC would take a stand against governments who are propagating crimes against humanity?

1 comment:

Dad said...

Can anyone say that politics are not part of the Olympics??? I would like to think the Iraqi athletes would receive a tremendous ovation during the opening ceremonies but I guess it won't happen. Really ashame after all they've been through.