Posted Feb 21, 2010 in Arts | 0 Comments

Orchestrated like Hollywood Propaganda

Anti 2010 Winter Olympics Symbol

In 1984, I was glued to my TV watching the summer Olympics as a nine year old kid in Pakistan. It was the greatest show of strength and competition in the world for me and I somehow connected its international scope to Star Trek and Hollywood. So many nations coming together in harmony I thought, in the greatest country on earth… Los Angeles. For me, the USA was Hollywood and Hollywood was USA. I did not know the difference between the different cities of the West, but I knew they were all just marvelous and trouble-free and full of gorgeous people.

Just like a Hollywood film, the fairytale of the Olympics also came to head for me when I realized what a sham the Olympics really are. There is no sportsman spirit in a world where millions are starving while athletes from rich countries essentially compete against one another in order to show off the superiority of their nation and race in comparison with other countries.

The Big Owe

Beyond the concept itself, the institution is highly problematic as well. The Olympics are a corporate brand that makes a few people very wealthy at the expense of the many. In 2006, Quebecers finally paid off their $1.5 billion debt from the 1976 summer Olympics and the Olympic stadium called the “Big O” was re-labeled the ‘Big Owe’ because it took thirty years to pay off the Olympic debt.

Signs of strain have already been showing in Vancouver as the budget for security inflated from $175 million to over $1 billion- most of it footed by the taxpayer.

The people of Vancouver are overrun by police brought in from around the country and the army personnel and undercover cops are curbing dissent under the guise of ensuring the ‘safety’ of the delegates descending upon the city.

Canadian Border Service agency has already come under scrutiny for harassing Amy Goodman, the host of “Democracy Now,” when she was coming to speak in Vancouver in November 2009. A very surprised Goodman was interrogated about whether she intended to speak about the Olympics? That fiasco continues today with the deportation of Olympic critics like Martin Macias Jr. last week and the continued blockade of Olympic critics -from journalists to activists, from entering Canada.

Harsha Walia

Activist Harsha Walia wrote in the Vancouver Sun, “Under the guise of this exceptional two-week party, we are left with irreversible policies of corporate welfare, gentrification, land grabs, surveillance and massive debt”. Walia also points out that “Vancouver has experienced a 300-percent increase in homelessness since the Olympic bid, while approximately 1,600 new market housing and condominium units are being built around the Downtown Eastside”. According to Vancouver residents, it is getting next to impossible to find affordable rental housing in the city.

Native activists have been speaking out against the B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and his lack of concern for the environment. Mr. Campbell is giving license to builders from all over the world to exploit B.C.’s resources and build highways, ski resorts, hotels and to mine the mountains, which sustain the indigenous peoples of the area. Protesters are often arrested at demonstrations and labeled as thugs creating trouble or impeding progress. The media presents legitimate claims as greed. According to the “No 2010” website, “BC is unique in Canada in that most of the province is unceded, non-surrendered Indigenous territories”.

In order not to be labeled racist and attacking Native peoples, the Olympic committee needed to get some Native support. They got this support from some Indian Act band councils who do not represent the majority of B.C. Natives. The Olympics are also appropriating Native art and symbols in order to seem like they care about the indigenous people of the land and their well being. Meanwhile, corporate greed is destroying Native land and continuing a legacy of appropriation of Native land and culture.

No 2010

No 2010

The goal of organizations like is to band together diverse conscientious communities, from environmental groups, to anti-poverty groups to anti-corporate and anti-war groups. All this in order to highlight the plight of the Native and the poor in B.C. and elsewhere so that the exploitation of land and of the peoples in so called democratic societies can be addressed.

In 2008, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government was accused of slashing funding to the arts. His government responded with numbers stating that there has actually been an increase to funding of the arts. What they did not explicitly mention was that funding for the Olympics (the opening and closing ceremony expenses et all) had now been moved into the realm of the “arts,” while real funding for visual and performing arts had been slashed significantly.

Despite all attempts to create a show that addresses race injustice in America, Gene Roddenberry was faced with constant revisions by producers and was never able to produce a show that did not keep the white male at the helm of power with all other races shown in relation to his higher moral and ethical place in the universe. Similarly, the Olympics are a circus that ultimately showcases white Western athletic superiority and sportsmanship over the rest of the universe. Meanwhile, the support of corporations, newspapers, magazines and the political machinery help legitimize this misappropriation of tax payer dollars and the redirection of funds that should be going towards healthcare, education and the arts.

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