Thursday, August 11, 2016

Something to Think About . . .

Everyone loves the Olympics. They allow people all over the world to set aside their political and religious differences and enjoy a few weeks of healthy competition between a few thousand people who have spent years honing their skills.

At least, this is what we tell ourselves.

In fact, not everyone loves the Olympics. Often, the poorest sectors of society within the host countries experience displacement and other forms of oppression as authorities work hard to impress visiting athletes and spectators. In Brazil, the first South American country to serve as the international showcase, this was certainly true; more than 20,000 families were displaced to make way for Olympics-related infrastructure. In fact, the state of Rio de Janeiro, where the games are being held, is in such desperate financial circumstances that state workers are not being paid and health care centers cannot even afford to take on the Zika virus crisis. Rio declared bankruptcy ahead of the games, and the state’s governor declared a “state of calamity.”

But the mayor of Rio de Janeiro was quick to assure the world that the economic disaster “in no way delays the delivery of Olympic projects and the promises assumed by the city of Rio.” Apparently, delivering basic services to the city’s residents is a lower priority than accommodating the Olympics.

– Sonali Kolhatkar
Excerpted from "The Olympics Are a Colossal Waste
and a Shameful Distraction
August 11, 2016

Related Off-site Links and Updates:
This One Photo of the Olympics Sums Up Everything Wrong With Society – Vic Bishop (Waking Times, August 11, 2016).
Behind the Rio Games Lies a Calamity on an Olympic Scale – Sue Branford (Global Justice Now via Common Dreams, August 9, 2016).
Celebration Capitalism: Olympics Economics – Jules Boykoff (, August 8, 2016).
The Olympic Refugee Team: A Beacon of Hope in Rio – Natasha Hakimi (TruthDig, August 13, 2016).
Refugee Olympic Team Turns Dreams Into Reality in Rio – UN Refugee Agency (August 13, 2016).
For Future Summer Olympics, Climate Change is No Game – Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan (Common Dreams, August 19, 2016).
Rio Summer Games Go Down As the Queerest Olympics Ever – James Michael Nichols (The Huffington Post, August 20, 2016).
Ethiopian Marathoner Makes Political Protest at Finish Line – Kevin Kaduk (Yahoo! News, August 21, 2016).
The Olympics May Be Over, But the Anger and Disillusionment Among Brazilians Remains High – Glenn Greenwald (Democracy Now!, August 29, 2016).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The "Dubious Politics" Behind the Olympic Torch Debacle
Let the Games Begin
Openly Gay Diver Wins Olympic Gold
Making a Splash

Image: Photographer unknown.

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