Wednesday, August 21, 2013

THE OLYMPICS: MOVE IT, FIX IT, OR SHUT IT DOWN



Something more needs to be done in regards to the Olympics and Russia's abject persecution of gays and lesbians...then talking about it. .  Sitting around worrying about the athletes getting to perform is nice, but come on.  Wearing buttons and holding hands around the Olympic site is a nice gesture, too, but come on.  Should we, should everyone boycott the whole shebang, sure why the hell or just move it elsewhere.  Could we boycott all the sponsors, sure why not?  Remember when South African athletes weren't allowed to participate in international sporting events...hey, there's a thought.  While we are talking on the Russians and Putin, there are plenty of other jackass homophobes out there in the Olympic world. Let's go after them, too. vBan them all. 

But back to Russia.  It isn't just Putin, by the way, nor is it just the Russian Orthodox Church, though both are evil.  The Advocate reminds us:


Nearly three out of four Russians think homosexuality should be rejected by society, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center.

The study found that 74% of Russians answered “no” to the question: “Should society accept homosexuality?”

Let's join in boycott the big Russian products that are sold in this globalized world we live in.  I am not big on the effectiveness of boycotts, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  It ain't like I have to drink shots of Stoli.

People are being forced into hiding who they are.  People are being thrown in jail.  People are dying.  The lives of gay people mean more that the Winter Olympics.

..and again, go elsewhere if you want but don't take the Olympics to Russia...and again while we are at let's make the Olympics actually live up to the standards and the ideals their bosses so proudly proclaim, the sports announcers babble about throughout the games, the spirit we all pretend exists, but doesn't

Let's face it the Olympics are big business and global capital has a wonderful home in their villages.  Throw those bastards out.

I admit, I love watching the Olympics, but now is the time for you and I, and people like us to finally say, enough is enough.  The games can't go on as if they exist in some other dimension then the one we inhabit.

I admit, I am starting to just babble or rant, but it pisses me off...It pisses me off that if you google "boycott the olympics" what you mostly find are "reasonable arguments" on why not to do just that.

Move it, fix it, or shut it down.

The first below is from the American Prospect.  After you have read that post, please move on and read a very "interesting" piece on the movement to boycott the 1936 Nazi Olympics from the web site of the United Sates Holocaust Museum.  Then think again about the Putin Olympics.



STICKING IT TO SOCHI: RUSSIAN LGBT ACTIVISTS ON WHAT WORK

by Nancy Goldstein




AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis
There’s no sugarcoating what’s happening in Russia in the days since the Duma and Prime minister Vladimir Putin passed its anti-gay laws earlier this summer. In a jaw-dropping video that Moscow-based journalist and longtime LGBT activist Masha Gessen posted to her Facebook page over the weekend, Dmitry Kiselev, anchorman and deputy director of VGTRK, the Russian state broadcast holding company—in short, a top representative of the Kremlin’s media machine—makes the following statement:

I believe it is not enough to impose fines on gays for engaging in the propaganda of homosexuality among adolescents. We need to ban them from donating blood and sperm, and if they die in car accidents, we need to bury their hearts in the ground or burn them as they are unsuitable for the aiding of anyone's life.

Kiselev’s audience claps and cheers.

So let’s be very clear, very fast about what will and won’t matter to Putin and his cronies when it comes to protesting. There’s no point in pretending that marching around the Olympic Village in Sochi this winter wearing rainbow pins will make a jot of difference, even on the medal-awards platform. “The Kremlin,” Russian LGBT activist Alexei Davydov tells me through an interpreter, “has taken a page from the Middle Ages. Incapable of solving the country's pressing problems, and with Putin's ratings falling, the Kremlin has decided to consolidate society through fear—and to this purpose is engaged in a search for enemies both internal and external. Gays have been chosen as these victims.”

Davydov should know. In this video, he very carefully breaks the new gay “propaganda” law and becomes its first test case by standing on the steps of a library with a sign that reads “Gay is normal.” The police haul him off, along with three other allies. What will happen to him when he’s tried is anyone’s guess. But Gessen—who, along with what one St. Petersburg legislator called her “perverted family” are the primary targets of a proposed law that will remove Russian children from their LGBT parents—urges supporters abroad “to keep reminding the Kremlin that the world is watching. We need media coverage of existing cases.”

That’s our real responsibility in dealing with a country where a solid 74 percent of citizens don’t think homosexuality should be accepted by society—not kidding ourselves that it will make a difference if we bring our loved ones to Sochi, chat with the people next to us at the bobsled track, and hold our children up for the cameras. Russia’s decision-makers couldn’t care less, and its media machine will simply spin those hearts-and-minds gestures into symbols of Western decadence. “Anything addressed to the public,” Gessen says, “risks playing into the hand of the people stirring up the homophobia.”

There’s certainly no point—I’m looking at you, President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron—in refusing to boycott the games because we don’t want to penalize the athletes who have trained so long and hard. That legitimate concern could be addressed by simply pressing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) tofollow its own charter, which calls for removing the Olympic Games from any nation that does not satisfy its own requirements for equal rights and tolerance. Start working with the one senior IOC member from Norway who already shares this view to help bring others around to it. I’m sure Vancouver’s snowboarding ramps are still in fine repair.

Think long and hard before you evoke the spectacle of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin—thus far the model for the West’s approach to Putin—or argue that winning LGBT athletes will “show 'em” in Sochi. In 1935—as in 2013—the International Olympics Committee was keen to pretend that sporting events could wash a clearly politicized setting of its politics, or wipe a dirty city clean. IOC chair Count Henri Baillet-Latour was content with Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s promise that anti-Semitic placards would be taken down during the Olympic games the next year.

In this Faustian bargain, Hitler hid the most obvious signs of what would later become his Final Solution. Jesse Owens, the allegedly “inferior” Negro, kicked Aryan butt on the track and came home with four gold medals (to a country where FDR refused to host him at the White House for fear of losing the Southern vote in the upcoming election). And then, once the international community had left, Hitler and his willing minions invaded neighboring countries and incinerated every fucking Jew, queer, or dissenter they could get their hands on.

If President Obama has “no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them,” Davydov suggests he demonstrate that by instructing Secretary of State John Kerry to put Elena Mizulina and Vitaly Milonov—the officials most responsible for Russia’s new laws—on the visa ban. The former is the Duma deputy responsible for the federal law banning gay "propaganda" to minors and for the law banning foreign adoptions of Russian orphans by gays and lesbians; the latter is the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly deputy responsible for the law banning gay "propaganda" to minors in St. Petersburg. (Here’s a petition that asks Obama to do precisely that.) 

Essentially, Davydov is proposing to extend the Magnitzky Act to cover homophobes.

Essentially, Davydov is proposing to extend the Magnitzky Act to cover homophobes. This 2012 law punishes 18 Russian officials thought to be complicit in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in prison after investigating fraud involving Russian officials, by prohibiting their entrance into the United States or use of its banking system. “If you forbade persons who advance fascist discrimination laws, such as deputies Mizulin and Milonova, entry into civilized countries,” says Davydov, “I assure you there would be few who would be ready to advance similar laws.”

There’s plenty that the rest of us could do as well. Russian LGBT activists have been saying for some time now that there’s no point in aiming at so small a target as the Kremlin’s heart, especially when its wallet presents a larger, more tender object. First, RUSA LGBT asked allies to boycott Sochi and all Russian products, and press for withdrawal of corporate sponsorship from the games. Then 34 LGBT Russian activists (including Davydov and Gessen) echoed that call in a letter released by Queer Nation.

So let’s keep dumping Russian vodka into the streets and outside of the Russian consulate in New York City. Let’s keep marching in London. Sign the Change.org petition that calls for Coca-Cola, Panasonic, Samsung, Procter & Gamble, and Visa tocondemn the laws and pull their sponsorship from the Sochi Olympic games (it’s now surpassed 100,00 signatures).

And keep taking actions like the one where activists confronted Russia’s U.N. ambassador with a petition signed by 340,000 supporters urging world leaders to help eliminate anti-gay laws in Russia ahead of the Sochi games. “Every time that Putin, or other government officials, or representatives of Russian big business or cultural institutions step foot into the West,” says Gessen, “s/he should have a hellish experience. They should encounter protests and questions about these laws everywhere they turn.” Let’s take a cue from Amsterdam, where public officials put their money where their mouth was: The rainbow flag flew above the capitol during Putin’s April visit, while yellow tape reading “Homophobia-free zone” cordoned off streets where thousands protested.

We have a chance to do things differently in Sochi than we did in Berlin. Let’s start with skipping the part where we appease a dictator, and instead give a damn about what’s happening beyond the scrubbed streets of the Olympic Village. Let’s lose the na├»ve notion that the wins of a few remarkable LGBT athletes will make any difference to the mobs of Neo-Nazi vigilantes luring gay teens with online ads, then kidnapping and torturing them—a process they like to videotape and post online for their admirers to enjoy. Let’s focus on forms of protest that will have an impact in locations beyond Sochi—actions that will continue to impede the progress of Putin’s Final Solution even once the crowds and the cameras leave.
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THE MOVEMENT TO BOYCOTT THE BERLIN OLYMPICS OF 1936


A pedestrian pauses to read a notice announcing an upcoming public meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, December 3, to urge Americans to boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympics. New York, United States, 1935.
A pedestrian pauses to read a notice announcing an upcoming public meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, December 3, to urge Americans to boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympics. New York, United States, 1935.
— National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
Soon after Hitler took power in 1933, observers in the United States and other western democracies questioned the morality of supporting Olympic Games hosted by the Nazi regime. Responding to reports of the persecution of Jewish athletes in 1933, Avery Brundage, president of the American Olympic Committee (AOC), stated: "The very foundation of the modern Olympic revival will be undermined if individual countries are allowed to restrict participation by reason of class, creed, or race." Brundage, like many others in the Olympic movement, initially considered moving the Games from Germany. After a brief and tightly managed inspection of German sports facilities in 1934, Brundage stated publicly that Jewish athletes were being treated fairly and that the Games should go on, as planned.

Debate over participation in the 1936 Olympicswas greatest in the United States, which traditionally sent one of the largest teams to the Games. By the end of 1934, the lines on both sides were clearly drawn. Avery Brundage opposed a boycott, arguing that politics had no place in sport. He fought to send a US team to the 1936 Olympics, claiming: "The Olympic Games belong to the athletes and not to the politicians." He wrote in the AOC's pamphlet "Fair Play for American Athletes" that American athletes should not become involved in the present "Jew-Nazi altercation." As the Olympics controversy heated up in 1935, Brundage alleged the existence of a "Jewish-Communist conspiracy" to keep the United States out of the Games.

Judge Jeremiah Mahoney, president of the Amateur Athletic Union, led efforts to boycott the 1936 Olympics, pointing out that Germany had broken Olympic rules forbidding discrimination based on race and religion. In his view, participation would indicate an endorsement of Hitler's Reich. Mahoney was one of a number of Catholic leaders supporting a boycott. New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia, New York governor Al Smith, and Massachusetts governor James Curley also opposed sending a team to Berlin. The Catholic journal The Commonweal (November 8, 1935) advised boycotting an Olympics that would set the seal of approval on radically anti-Christian Nazi doctrines.

Another important boycott supporter, Ernst Lee Jahncke (a former assistant secretary of the US Navy), was expelled from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in July 1936 after taking a strong public stand against the Berlin Games. The IOC pointedly elected Avery Brundage to fill Jahncke's seat. Jahncke is the only member in the 100-year history of the IOC to be ejected.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not become involved in the boycott issue, despite warnings from high-level American diplomats regarding Nazi exploitation of the Olympics for propaganda purposes. Roosevelt continued a 40-year tradition in which the American Olympic Committee operated independently of outside influence. Both the US ambassador to Germany, William E. Dodd, and George Messersmith, head of the US Legation in Vienna, deplored the American Olympic Committee's decision to go to Berlin.

Many American newspaper editors and anti-Nazi groups, led by Jeremiah Mahoney, president of the Amateur Athletic Union, were unwilling to accept Nazi Germany's hollow pledges regarding German Jewish athletes. But a determined Avery Brundage maneuvered the Amateur Athletic Union to a close vote in favor of sending an American team to Berlin, and, in the end, Mahoney's boycott effort failed.

Short-lived boycott efforts also surfaced in Great Britain, France, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands. German Socialists and Communists in exile voiced their opposition to the Games through publications such as Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (The Worker Illustrated Newspaper). Some boycott proponents supported counter-Olympics. One of the largest was the "People's Olympiad" planned for summer 1936 in Barcelona, Spain. It was canceled after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936, just as thousands of athletes had begun to arrive.

Individual Jewish athletes from a number of countries also chose to boycott the Berlin Olympics. In the United States, some Jewish athletes and Jewish organiztions like the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor Committee supported a boycott of the Berlin Games. Once the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States voted for participation in December 1935, however, the other countries fell in line. Forty-nine teams from around the world competed in the Berlin Games, more than in any previous Olympics.

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