As the reader of this article is likely to be aware, the Greatest Sports Extravaganza Ever, also known as the London Olympics has begun today. If the reader is interested, I hope that he or she will derive great pleasure from it. Despite what I’m going to tell you, please don’t assume I have any desire for you to sacrifice or modify your plans in any way. What I’m going to say applies to me alone.
So this is what: I’m launching my personal, one-man boycott of the London Olympics. I shall not watch a single moment of it on TV. I shall not read about it on the Internet or newspapers. I shall avoid any and all mention of it, unless said mention involves some actual or "planned" “terrorist attack” which can be conveniently blamed on Iran and/or Syria (and, no, I would not rule out one).
The first Olympics I was old enough to potentially remember was Moscow 1980. You know, the one which was boycotted by the West because of the Soviet “invasion” of Afghanistan. I did not actually remember that because back then TV was virtually nonexistent in India (to my non-Indian readers, it may come as a surprise to know that television in India is essentially a phenomenon that began in 1982). I do remember seeing some photos in the papers and magazines, but that’s it.
The next Olympics was the one in Los Angeles in 1984, which was boycotted in turn by the Eastern Bloc (as it was then) with the exception of Nicolae Ceaucescu’s Romania. By then there was TV, and I remember two things about the opening ceremony. First, the wild cheers the (primarily American) spectators gave the Romanian team, for “doing the right thing”; five years later they would cheer equally frenziedly when Ceaucescu was summarily shot after a farcical kangaroo trial. The other thing I remember was the guy in a spacesuit and Buck Rogers jetpack who came flying through the air and landed in front of Ronald Reagan. As for the rest, in 1984 I was thirteen years old and there were more important things going on in my life.
And to date, after that, I’ve never really been very much into either competitive sports in general or the Olympics in particular. Sports, for me, means, you know, sports, as in fun and games – not a business or some kind of gladiatorial contest to be vicariously enjoyed. So, actually, I last had any contact with sports when I threw the hammer back in college and managed to come in last in the 400 metres.
So, it won’t be a stretch to say that my contact with the Olympics has been intermittent and shallow at best, somewhat like an inept rower repeatedly catching crabs (and, yes, I am an inept rower who repeatedly catches crabs). Once in a while I became briefly interested in particular athletes, usually one per Olympics: for instance, Hossein Rezazadeh during the Olympics before last, Usain Bolt last time. But though I cheered for said athletes, and ignored the others, it did mean that I at least watched the events in which said athletes participated. This time I won’t be doing it, though.
This time I am not going to take any part in the Olympics, as a spectator, at all.
These are my reasons:
1. The sponsor: The sponsor for these Olympics is a company named Dow Chemicals, which has contracted with the International Olympic Association till 2020 and in particular with the London Olympics.
This: Dow is the same firm which supplied the Empire with Agent Orange, which was sprayed as a defoliant on the jungles of Vietnam, as a consequence of which children are being born deformed to this day. Dow has refused to compensate its victims, among whom are an estimated 4.8 million children.
Also this: the same Dow Chemicals later acquired Union Carbide, the company responsible for the Bhopal Gas Disaster of 1984, in which an estimated 25000 people were killed, and as a result of which more deformed kids are being born to this day. Dow has refused liability for the crimes of Union Carbide, though knowing perfectly well what baggage it was taking on when it purchased the company; something I have called
saying, in effect, that if you knowingly buy stolen property, it’s yours no matter what the original owner might think.
It might seem that even a cigarette company or a cocaine cartel would be a better sponsor, or at least a less harmful one, but David Cameron says Dow is a “reputable company”; and David Cameron is, allegedly, an honourable man. At least he’s honourable enough to be Prime Minister of Britain, gracing the same 10 Downing Street once inhabited by the charming and meritorious Tony Blair.
When it was announced that Dow would be sponsoring the Olympics, there was considerable disquiet in India, and calls for boycotting the Olympics. But today’s India is no longer the nation which once had had the spine to shun sporting contacts with the apartheid regime in South Africa and the Zionazi pseudostate, so one always knew a boycott wasn’t going to happen. Even so, there was at least the likelihood of a symbolic boycott; by, for instance, staying away from the opening and closing ceremonies. But even that was too much for the invertebrates who comprise our national government, so the talk of any kind of protest quietly vanished. (And meanwhile, Dow is eager to invest in India, and the unelected so-called Prime Minister wants “Indian to progress even if Bhopals happen”; wonder if that had something to do with it as well.)
In an effort, however symbolic, to shame Dow, the handicapped children of the survivors of Bhopal held a “Special Olympic games” of their own, in which
children suffering from cerebral palsy, partial paralysis and mental disabilities parading in wheelchairs and walking with the assistance of others around an outdoor stadium in the shadow of the old pesticide plant. One of the competitions was called "the crab walk": three children who were unable to stand propelled themselves down the 25-meter (sic) racecourse with their hands.
This made not a ripple in the corporate-controlled circus which runs the Olympics, of course; but in my considered opinion, it would be invidious of me to break with these people and the deformed kids in Vietnam to have anything at all to do with an event sponsored by Dow Chemicals. Just because my government is too supine to do anything about it doesn’t mean I have to be stained with the same guilt.
2. Britain. Regular readers of mine will be long familiar with my views on Britain. Yes, I have a great many British friends, and I speak English better than any other language, but that doesn’t mean I can have anything but contempt for Britain as a nation. As I’ve said elsewhere, in the last decade alone, it was Britain
which was the prime mover in the destruction of Libya. It was Britain which legitimised George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq by joining in it with enthusiasm, and continues to help occupy Afghanistan. It’s Britain which continues to openly host, shield and protect Russian mafia oligarchs and Chechen terrorist warlords. It’s Britain which is about to host an Olympics sponsored by Dow Chemicals, responsible for the manufacture of Agent Orange, which to this day maims Vietnamese children, and which is now the owner of Union Carbide, responsible for the Bhopal gas disaster... None of this is surprising. To those of us whose nations suffered under the Union Jack(boot), British hypocrisy and mendacity are so familiar that we’d be astonished by anything else coming out of Perfidious Albion.
With Britain straining at the leash to participate in an invasion of Syria and helping to arm and train terrorists even as we speak, holding an Olympic Games in this mendacious, warmongering little tinpot pseudo-nation which still yearns for its long gone imperialist glory and attempts to achieve that by acting as the loyal tail of the Empire is a travesty.
Britain might get other peoples’ money via cable TV royalties and the like; it will not get any of mine.
At this point it might be claimed – as it very often is – that politics is separate from sports, and should be separate. To this I respond most humbly and reasonably: hogwash. Sports has everything to do with economics and politics these days – its entire structure is built around money and politics. It’s only after political and monetary requirements have been satisfied that any sport gets to be played, if at all. And today, sports events go only to countries in official favour. A few months ago, the Formula One took place in Bahrain while the Empire’s favourite tyrants were shooting protestors with hunting rifles; was that, or wasn’t it, a political act? How would Britain react if a sports meet were to be scheduled tomorrow in Damascus?
I must say I like the horrible – but entirely appropriate – mascot, Wenlock, With its giant staring eyeball, it’s so perfect a symbol for the modern self-styled “free world” that it can’t be improved upon.
So, enjoy your Olympics, during which I hope nobody will be murdered by Scotland Yard for the “suspicious circumstance” of being brown, like the late Jean Charles de Menezes.
But you will enjoy them without me.