Monday, March 24, 2008
Today, in Greece the Olympic torch was lit to mark the beginning of the journey to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The journey to the Olympic games is a time-honored tradition viewed and respected by many throughout the world. The journey of the torch to its new home is always respected and treasured, however this year it is met with protest. Human rights demonstrators breached tight security and tried to hijack the torch lighting ceremony and relay.
Just before the torch was lit inside the archaeological site that played host to the Olympics in Greece, three demonstrators managed to break a tight police barricade. One of them carried a black banned with five interlocked handcuffs in the pattern of the Olympic Rings. These individuals were protesting China's inability to improve its human rights conditions. As citizens believe that China is currently more concerned with preparing for the Olympic games than improving the country's conditions. Also, smaller protests took place during the first few kilometers of the relay, leading to nine total protesters being detained.
The Beijing Games Chief Liu Qi stated this morning that "the Olympic flame will radiate light and happiness, peace and friendship, and hope and dreams to the people of China and the whole world." It is the assumption of the Beijing Games chairs that these will in fact come true, however, it seems that the people of China feel differently. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), vice president Lambis Nikolaou, a Greek, was outraged by the disruptions. "I am furious with the fact that these people did not respect the site they were on...whatever differences they have with China, they should express them in their country and not ours. This is a disgrace."
To me, i was a bit shocked to hear that the lighting of the torch and beginning of the relay to China was disrupted by protesters. The Olympic games, has always been a miraculous occasion that I have come to thoroughly enjoy, and now it seems that most recent news on it is negative. However, in a country like China, where human rights conditions remain poor, are its people justifiable in protesting...even if in this case they were protesting in Greece?