Olympic Torch Farce Mocks Democracy

by on April 14, 2008 · 3 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Media, World News

Last week’s Olympic Torch visit to San Francisco made a mockery of human and civil rights. When the Olympic Torch came to San Francisco on April 9, human and civil rights were incinerated. City and Chinese officials on the ground combined repression and deception to shred the US Bill of Rights. Protest, which gave birth to this country, was treated at best as a nuisance and at worst as an evil threat, to be kept as far as possible from the backed-by-big-money torch. And if that excluded the general public, AKA the citizenry, so be it.

Above all, the international prestige of the Chinese government had to be upheld. Running a close, and likewise tightly wound second, was preserving the immaculate corporate image of San Francisco’s ruling elite.

The net result was a trashing of democracy in the exercise of pure brute power.

The Olympic Torch purportedly belongs to the world, representing peace and cooperation among all peoples. Come to find out, it was the brainchild of Adolph Hitler and Herman Goebbels, who created it for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin to exploit the world’s attention in order to promote the Third Reich’s plans for world domination.

After being mauled on the streets of Athens, London and Paris, the now further prostituted torch touched down at 4 a.m. on April 9 at SFO. Like every other move during its visit, it was shrouded in secrecy and duplicity.

The route of its run likewise had been kept under wraps until continuous protests at City Hall by Tibetan, Burmese and Falun Gong human rights activists forced City Hall to unveil…something.

So the supposed route from the Giant’s-excuse, AT&T’s-ballpark along the Embarcadero, down to Fisherman’s Wharf, and back to J. Herman Plaza was already full of folks on the morning of the 9th.

The question on everyone’s mind: where’s that torch? And the response by City and Chinese authorities used the time tested tricks of autocratic regimes: exclude the people and keep them guessing. Who’s got the power? Who’s got that torch?

Back at the clock tower the Red Commie flag of China and the Snow Leopard banner of Tibet competed for attention on and along the Embarcadero Highway. Many of the Chinese loyalists, we learned later, had been bused in, compliments of Beijing.

Police presence was light, and they did little or nothing when pro and anti forces clashed, which was mostly verbally. The whole place became one big phony free speech area.

Because, as time proved, it was all a ruse, an area to confine people within while the real action, the real power, went elsewhere, pretty much leaving protesters and spectators alike slowly twisting slowly in the torch-less winds in lots of garb made in China for US corporations.

Images of the spirited away torch being run up Van Ness by an inner phalanx of Chinese Special Forces, and an outer perimeter of SFPD, must have brought smiles to the disturbed spirits of Hitler and Goebbels, which seemed to be hovering over the entire proceeding.

And when torchbearer Majora Carter from the South Bronx pulled a Tibetan flag out of her sleeve, was pounced on by the Chinese goon squad and then flung out of the security bubble into the rabble by the SFPD? Didn’t that sort of sum up the whole thing?

Or maybe it was the abrupt about turn on Doyle Drive-the Golden Gate Bridge ahead apparently deemed too great a public-uh, security threat, that is.

Perhaps rather the “Closing Ceremony” at SFO-the perfect ending, as next to no one looked on, and the torch was furtively hustled onto China’s plane for the next leg of the Journey of Harmony?

All this might be almost comical and definitely absurd, were it not for the realities behind it, such as this one, reported on April 4, by the International Campaign for Tibet:

“At least eight Tibetans were killed in eastern Tibet after armed police fired on a crowd of monks and laypeople, after an incident in which monks were detained after they objected to an intensified ‘patriotic education’ campaign, including photographs of the Dalai Lama being thrown to the ground, according to reliable sources. State media confirmed that the incident happened, characterizing it as a “riot” but did not mention any deaths (Xinhua April 4). According to various sources, the authorities have strengthened ‘patriotic education’ campaigns in various monasteries following the protests in recent weeks, leading to increased resentment. A new phase in protests across the Tibetan plateau appears to have developed in the form of responses to political campaigns requiring denunciation of the Dalai Lama.” Source: savetibet.org

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Shawn Conrad April 14, 2008 at 3:53 pm

I think running that torch around should be an Olympic event: Survival Torch Running.

Now THAT is something I would care about.

If the author needed the torch incident to illustrate the deterioration of human rights and the decline of the bill of rights (what I call the bill of wrongs), then he needs to get out more.

No one should be killing or mistreating ANYONE. EVER. PERIOD.

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avatar JS April 15, 2008 at 10:37 am

The ruse is one thing. It doesn’t’ disturb me THAT much. It’s what I’ve come to expect from the chicken shit chickenhawks that run this place. They never met a different opinion they couldn’t run from.

What disturbs me more is the fact that Chinese Special Forces personnel were operating in this country. As if the FBI, the CIA, NSA DIA (and all their former employees now working for private, corporate-security firms) weren’t bad enough. We gotta import bad asses from China as well as poisoned toys!? (Is this confirmed? I trust your reporting Michael but I’d like to know where that info-bit comes from.)
take care
Jim

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avatar Michael Steinberg April 18, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Correction. Joseph Goebbels was the Nazi proaganda boss. Michael Steinberg

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