It seems that lately the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, have caused quite a stir. And not surprisingly so. The country in itself already made headlines recently by accepting what the world has come to know as the anti-gay law. We do not have to write anything about that anymore. But what is even more shocking is that a respectable organization such as the International Olympic Committee simple seems to ignore this fact and happily accepted Russia as hosting country. The IOC is a powerful organization with members that are educated and high positioned people, so you would think that even if the decision was made in 2007, they could reconsider. Which would be a better message than any boycott that can or cannot be organized. Unless of course a considerable sum has changed hands rather than having a fair pitch. True, the IOC did claim that the controversial law would not affect any of the Olympic athletes, a statement that already raises questions about the rights of athletes versus non-athletes, but Russian politician Vitaly Milonov immediately responded with the statement that the law is the law and no exceptions will be made. Mmmmm, bummer for the IOC. Next, IOC president Jaques Rosse asked for a clear explanation on how the anti-gay propaganda law will be implemented during the Olympics. Much as this is a weak attempt to make a statement, the answer is even more shocking. Russia's sports minister Vitali Mutko told a news conference that "all the athletes and organizations should be relaxed, their rights will be protected... but of course you have to respect the laws of the country you are in."
In 1931 Berlin won the bid to host the 1936 Olympiad. 2 years before Adolf Hitler became Chancellor. Even though it would still be 3 years before Hitler invaded Poland, it was already pretty clear in 1936 that something smelled wrong in Germany at that time. The IOC decided to stick its head in the sand and continued with Berlin as hosting city for the XI Olympiad, which Hitler thankfully used to stage his Nazi propaganda show. We all know what happened after that. Now I’m not saying Russia is preparing for WO III but one cannot ignore the fact that the accepted law seems to be one step further towards a total witch-hunt on a group of people who have every right to live their lives the way they want to, just like everybody else. Allowing a huge global sports event to take place in such an environment, an event that has its roots in values such as equality and brotherhood, what message does that give to other countries that are equally opposed to homosexuality? How far does it need to go before gay men and women, regardless the fact they are athletes or not, become international game?
There has been a lot of discussion on whether a boycott should be put in place or not. An uncomfortable situation that makes me think of the 2 proverbial dogs that fight over one bone. President Obama, whom I tremendously respect, seems to think a boycott is not appropriate. Because “we’ve got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed.” Or could it have to do something with the fact that some of the official partners of the 2014 Olympics are huge American companies. Such as P&G, Coca Cola, Microsoft and Visa? Nah, probably not… I think the real question is, no matter how hard you trained, do you really want to take the stage and receive a gold medal knowing that outside the walls of the stadium human rights are brutally violated? Vladislav Tornovoy was a 23 years old gay man who died after three of his “friends” tortured him, sodomized him with beer bottles and smashed his head with a 20 kg (44 pound) stone only two and a half months ago… Let the games begin… -BM-
BEAUTIFULMAG | …