Should the london Olympics be boycotted?

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07 April 2008

How many tens of millions did last Sunday's Olympic pageant across London cost to the public purse? Given the number of cops on overtime, not to mention the Wembley Stadium and the O2 arena, the expense must have been huge. And for what? Was it to celebrate sport or, rather, to allow Brown to justify the growing black hole of the 2012 London Olympics while providing free publicity to a myriad of companies for which the Olympics are just a milch cow, whether in Beijing or in London?

Some may say that, at least, this grandiose display gave human rights protestors an opportunity to make their point. Maybe so, but what point? That the Chinese regime oppresses the Tibetan people (as well as Chinese workers!)? Who would dispute that? But demanding that, for this reason, Brown should organise the boycott of the Beijing Olympics is both naive and hypocritical.

It is naive because for Brown, China in general - and the Beijing Olympics in particular - is just a source of profits for British capital that he will not give up. Besides, what difference would it make if the British athletes did not turn up to the Games?

But such a demand is also hypocritical, because it would be a bit rich on the part of a British government which has been occupying Iraq for five years, after bombing its population, and is waging a 7-year long war against the Afghan population, to criticise Beijing over its human rights record!

Had these demonstrators asserted, at the same time, their determination to boycott the London Olympics as a protest against Britain's policy in the Middle East, they would have been just as naive, but at least, less hypocritical.