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August 11, 2008 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Olympic Tyranny

Olympic Tyranny

The Olympics have long been the destroyer of nations, the crusher of souls and the taker of lives.
The early Olympiads were merely hilarious prolonged brutal orgies, in which naked men would grapple and attack each other in a wacky sexually violent bloodbath. But the times changed and now we are led to believe that the Olympics are a uniting force, bringing nations together – nations like Zimbabwe, North Korea, Syria, Burma and of course the hosting nation of China. These nations are run by tyrannical dictatorships that Amnesty International has vilified for their abhorrent human rights records and threats towards other nations.


This year’s host have been the scourge of human rights activists since the conflict of Tiananmen Square. Their use of censorship and almost non-existent political freedom, along with their fondness for capital punishment are amongst some of the worst in the world.

China’s involvement with fellow Olympic nation Sudan – specifically Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir – points to China’s ‘hands off politics/hands on oil supplies’ policy in the third world. State-owned Oil Company PetroChina has been criticized for their investments in Sudan and turning a blind eye to the ongoing conflict in Darfur, which has taken roughly 200,000 lives. The International Criminal Court accused al-Bashir of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, and requested that the Court issue a warrant for his arrest.

China promised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that they would not censor the internet in the Olympic Village (besides the facilities for Chinese Athletes) including the international press centre. However when foreign journalists showed up and logged on all found that they were subjected to the same restraints that the people of China live with everyday. BBC journalists found that they couldn’t check their own website as it had been blocked by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the censorship and propaganda wing of the PRC.

The IOC didn’t find any of this to be of concern and is quoted as saying that the political system is “working for China.”

Tibet: used to be a country, now it isn’t. That works for China, too.

Nazi Germany

The 11th Olympiad introduced much of what we see as integral to the spectacle of the Olympics, and helped introduce the notion of sports being no place for politics, a fallacy that is alive to this day. US Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage justified his decision to vote for Germany by saying that “politics has no place in sport.” This has helped the Olympic bids of other ‘controversial’ nations such as Soviet Russia and the People’s Republic of China.

Opened by Adolf Hitler himself, it was the first Olympics to be televised live in history and was used by the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda to spread Nazi vitriol to the world and boost nationalism within the German nation.

Hitler enlisted one of his favourite artists Leni Riefenstahl (who had captured the 1934 Nazi rally in Nuremburg with her Triumph of Will, a powerful and shocking view of the nature of military might) to produce a propaganda piece on the supremacy of German athletes and use the same powerful imagery she produced with her previous films. What she did was create a piece of art that has and will be debated for generations. Broken into two parts – Olympia 1 Festival of Peoples and Olympia 2 Festival of Beauty – it utilized the most advanced camera techniques of the time and she was given free reign of the entire city. Her most well known change to the Olympic ceremony was her invention of the Olympic torch run, a tradition that stands to this day. It’s easy to see what would attract Hitler to the idea: strong German athletes running through the pristine Berlin streets proudly carrying the symbol of the strength of the human spirit, the flame. Olympia is one of the most aesthetically beautiful films of all time and must be considered a success, but such praise cannot be given without considering the implications of this film.

Not since DW Griffith has a director been so praised and abhorred at the same time. Her support for the Nazi party is inexcusable but her use of footage of Jessie Owens defeating all in every event he chose to participate in, and her inclusion of Hitler’s pain-struck reaction to this hints at something below the surface. Whether she was a pawn or a knowing conspirator we will never know, but this wasn’t the last time the Olympics were used as a tool of propaganda by a tyrannical empire, and it’s sure to happen again.

The IOC’s position on national politics is lax to say the least: through their not wanting to be seen as a partisan organisation they have turned a blind eye to the detestable crimes committed by host nations and fellow Olympic countries. China’s hosting has been heralded as a possible turning point for their human rights, but this is optimism at its most naïve and the practically non existent loosening of certain laws will be reversed once the attention of the games are over.

While asking the IOC to change their way after such a history could be seen as unfair and would threaten to fracture the games, complete inaction would be much worse.

By Haimona Peretini Gray

Hey Mummy Wat’s a Olympics

The first Olympic Games were the first time in our known history when all the nations on this earth came together for a nonviolent cause. These days, the Olympic Games are televised live INERNATIONALY! What this means is that there are a whole lot of people all around this sphere of matter, focusing through their television portals, on a specific time, place and event. The Olympic stadium is no longer its original size, but now also extends to millions of households all over the planet. Do you see how far we have come? The Olympic Games are like a local sports tournament where all the clubs in a specified area get together to compete. Except this sporting competition’s “clubs” are our nations, and the “specified area” is the whole of this globe. This single event unites all of the peoples on this planet. This is a very significant thing, especially considering that the Olympic myth actually describes to us a deep understanding of our universe, the afterlife, and how WE all came into being.

The Olympic myth goes as such- The Greek god Heracles (who the Romans called Hercules) was the Son of Zeus. Heracles was the creator of the Olympic Games; he built the Olympic stadium and surrounding buildings as an honor to his father Zeus after completing his 12 labours.

According to that legend, he walked in a straight line for 400 strides and called this distance a “stadion”which later became a unit of distance. This is also why a modern stadium track is 400 meters in circumference.

The core of the story of Heracles has been identified by Walter Burkert as originating in Neolithic hunter culture and traditions of shamanistic crossings into the netherworld. To me this sounds awfully similar to what early Egyptian and early Mayan civilisations were focused on in their religions. Where is this knowledge today? Do you know what happens to you when you die?

The classical scheme of the Twelve Olympians who reside on top of mount Olympus consists of the following gods: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hestia. The Twelve Olympians were also known as the Dodekatheon. This aspects of the myth intrigues. 12 is an interesting historical number. Jesus had 12 disciples, King Arthur had 12 knights of the round table, there are 12 months in a year, Heracles completed 12 labours, there are 12 notes in the musical scale, and most importantly, there are 12 signs in the zodiac. I may be connecting the dots here, but it turns out that Plato also ties the 12 Olympians of Mount Olympus with the 12 signs of the zodiac, in his book “Phaedrus”.

What does the zodiac have to do with the Olympics? Well, we are at the dawning of the age of Aquarius. Each zodiacal “age” lasts 2160 years and so all of the 12 “ages” last a total of 25920 years, which is also called the Platonic year. In connection with the Egyptians (where Plato got most of his knowledge), the area inside the great pyramid of Giza is 25920 Egyption cubits. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide for yourself.

The interest in reviving the Olympics as an international event grew when the ruins of ancient Olympia were uncovered by German archaeologists in the mid nineteenth century. At this time, The Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin was searching for the reason why the French lost the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871). He thought the reason was that the French had not received proper physical education, and sought to improve this. He also wanted to find a way to bring all nations closer together, to have the youth of the world compete in sports, rather than fight in war. So in 1890 he attended a festival of the Wenlock Olympian Society, and decided that the recovery of the Olympic Games would achieve both of his goals.

The first Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896. The total number of athletes at the the first International Olympic Games was less than 250, which seems small, but the games were the largest international sports event ever held at that time. The second Olympic Games took place in Paris, France. Paris was also the first Olympic Games where women were allowed to compete.

The Olympic Games do a great thing to unite all the peoples of this earth. And as the people of this earth are now discovering, “it’s a small world after all.”

By Tony Barnao


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Comments (14)

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  1. Mel says:

    I think you’ll find a more accurate death toll for the genocide in Darfur is minimum 500,000. It’s more likely 800,000.

  2. Dr. Peter Manglethwaite says:

    So goes the argument, that if you are comparing someone/something to Hitler/Nazi Germany you have lost the argument. Just because Nazi Germany invented something something doesn’t make it bad. Look at Volkswagons, a struggling company till Hitler came along, now their Beetle and the Kombi van are icons of the 21st century. Also Hitler was a vegetarian, should we persecute vegetarians because Hitler was one. There are very few or even comparable links between the PRC and Nazi Germany that stand up.

    In fact, unlike China, Nazi Germany made an effort to clean up its act in the lead up to the Olympics. They stopped persecuting Jews, and even made it so that foreigners were not subject to the anti homosexual laws. Indeed Jesse Owens was freer in Nazi Berlin, than he was in the streets of his hometown in the USA.

    The Olympics in 1932 were held in Los Angeles, California, USA also gave us some Olympic firsts. The USA as we all know was was not outrighly genocidal, but still, African Americans did not have the vote, and were segregated from public transport, paid less, lynched etc etc. So the ’32 Olympics were the first to have an Olympic Villiage, the first to use a podium to award medals. They also had the first known interstex competitor, and a competitor was kicked out for being a professional, thus setting the standard for future modern Olympics. (Incidentally Ghandi was there as a press reporter… WTF?) So should we call these parts of the Olympics into Question too?

    Also why is it automatically assumed that because Nazi Germany was “bad” that everything that came out of Nazi Germany is tainted by Hitler’s evil, just as we assume that everything that comes out of the Peoples’ Republic of China is tainted by their supposedly “totalitarian” government and “disgusting” human rights record. We need to move past this finger pointing and comparing to Nazis and embrace people of all colours and creeds if they can get me my Nikes for cheaper.

  3. Electrum Stardust says:

    From a Chinese ( and therefore non-neutral) point of view, all the fanfare surrounding the Beijing Olympics must be seen in historical context. Two things come to mind:

    1. The epithet “東亞病夫” (“Sick Man of East Asia / Sick Man of the East”) –
    best remembered in old Chinese movies as engraved on wooden plaques (and invariably smashed to bits by Bruce Lee);

    2. The cartoon:,
    which exemplifies the lingering sense of humiliation felt by Chinese people, dating back more than a century, all the way to that fateful year, 1840.

    It appears to me that China *needs* a grand display on the world stage to be able to move on from those collective memories, so it’s more about internal catharsis than anything else.

  4. Jenna Powell says:

    Tony rulz!

  5. Haimona Gray says:

    To Dr Manglethwaite, That was my point.

    “Also why is it automatically assumed that because Nazi Germany was “bad” that everything that came out of Nazi Germany is tainted by Hitler’s evil” while Leni Riefenstahl was working for a tyrannical dictator, her work can be seen as nothing short of a masterpiece. While the intention of holding the Olympics in Berlin was to use it as a propaganda tool, her work went beyond that.

    Dali was a good friend of Franco, Sartre supported Guevara, our own politics editor Jackson James Wood & Associates has a tattoo of Ali Hassan al-Majid on his inner thigh, that doesn’t make any of their work less important… it just makes them jerks.

    I wasn’t trying to compare the Nazi’s with modern day China (any attempt would he futile) I was just using the games as an example of how a tyrannical government can use the Olympics.

    and Mr Stardust, “the lingering sense of humiliation felt by Chinese people” do the people of Tibet share this sense, or are the PRC humiliating them in different way.

  6. Jackson Wood says:

    Actually I think you’ll find my tattoo is of Gandhi being molested by a polar bear.

  7. Laura McQuillan says:

    This has NOTHING to do with dinosaurs. I am SO disappointed in you guys.

  8. Haimona Gray says:

    Tristan edited out the Dinosaur talk just like he removed the picture of my tattoo which shows Mario Moretti spooning Madeline Albright

  9. Michael Oliver says:

    Salient’s really just one big circle jerk when you think about it

  10. Electrum Stardust says:

    Obviously, the preservation of a group’s cultural identity must be guaranteed (especially in the face of capitalist oppression), in order for China to remain a multi-national state (as it has always been). But in the historical context (again), foreign agitation has long been part of the problem. In the 19th century, for example, Russia and Britain engaged each other in the ‘Great Game’ (‘Bear vs Lion’) in Afghanistan (of all places!), and neighbouring Xinjiang and Tibet were, even back then, in real danger of being prised away from China (by Russia and Britain respectively). (Outer) Mongolia became ‘independent’ (a Russian vassal in reality) under similar circumstances, so it is not surprising that China is very assertive when it comes to its territorial integrity.

  11. Karl Bronstein says:

    “assertive” “territorial integrity” haha wow you are quite the apologist,
    I agree that they can do no wrong because they were wronged once too, I also think Israel should be free to invade any country it wants (use of Nuclear weapons optional but damn us if we dare judge them for it) because they were the victims of an abhorrent crime. And in fifty years time the super heroes that rise from the nuclear fallout shall be free to slaughter them in turn for they were wronged too.

    the cycle of idiocy continues.

  12. Electrum Stardust says:

    Obviously, what China does from now on will determine how the secessionist claims should be judged.

    What kind of idiot will equate ” ‘it is not surprising’ that X does A” with ” ‘it is justified’ that X does A”?

  13. Wang says:

    I know it may be hard to believe.

    However, it is absolutely true that Ronald Wilson Reagan committed horrible, racist, hate crimes during his presidency.

    A lot of people know about Reagan’s infamy.

    And a lot of people will know about Reagan’s infamy–even until the end of human existence: they’ll find out.

    Numbers 32:23: “Be sure your sins will find you out.”

    Respectfully Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang, J.D. Candidate
    B.S., With the Highest Level of Academic Honors at Graduation, 1996
    Messiah College, Grantham, PA
    Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

    (I can type 90 words per minute, and there are thousands of copies on the Internet indicating the content of this post. And there are at least hundreds of copies in very many countries around the world.)
    ‘If only it were possible to BAN invention that bottled up memories so they never faded and never got stale’ (an analogy: like scent is held in or restrained or inhibited or suppressed or ‘bottled up’). Off the top of my head—it came from my Lower Merion High School yearbook.

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