Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Nazi Origins of Olympic Torch

Whoa! First The Wall Street Journal publishes a story today about the Chinese storm troopers guarding the Olympic torch (Lord Coe called them "thugs") - and now there's this from The Lede at The New York Times: April 9, 2008, 2:21 pm The Beleaguered Torch, Now With Nazi Origins By Mike Nizza For the Olympic torch relay, every day just seems to bring bad news. What began last Tuesday in Beijing as a “Journey of Harmony” had by Sunday become a “public relations nightmare” in London, and worse on Monday in Paris, when the torch was extinguished several times. On Tuesday, international Olympics officials mulled the prospect of canceling the rest of the relay. Jacques Rogge, chief of the International Olympic Committee, later dismissed the possibility, clearing one negative piece of torch news from the register. But others soon filled the void, as the torch landed in its next city of protesters, San Francisco. In the past 24 hours, two major news agencies decided to add a historic touch toward the bottom of their torch-relay articles, the kind that is easy to ignore in happier Olympic times. Here’s The Associated Press version: The Olympic flame wasn’t part of the ancient games, and the torch relay didn’t become a fixture in the modern Olympics until the 1936 Berlin Games, when it was part of the Nazi pageantry that promoted Hitler’s beliefs of Aryan supremacy in the world of sports. And from Reuters: The Olympics first held a torch relay in 1936, the year dictator Adolf Hitler made the Berlin games a showcase of Nazi propaganda. That torch run is captured in one of the most famous — and infamous — Olympic movies ever made, Leni Riefenstahl’s “Olympia.” . . . Cauldrons and parabolic mirrors aside, another question remains: Should the torch’s Nazi-linked past affect its future? Absolutely, says Mary Beard, a columnist for The Times of London (via Clive Davis): I don’t quite understand how we have forgotten that the “Olympic Torch” ceremony was invented by Hitler and his chums. If ever there was an “invented tradition” well worth stamping out, it is this ridiculous, Fascist-inspired waste of money. She was writing on Friday, days before the relay plunged into chaos for completely different reasons. ****************************************************************************************** The Chinese government is fit to be tied about all of this adverse publicity! And the Chinese public - spoon fed censored news by the Communists that isn't giving all sides of the story - is indignant at the fact that in the west, we have the right to free assembly and can - and do - protest anything we want, including the Chinese government's treatment of the native Tibetians. This is my advice to the Chinese government, for what it's worth. Darlings, if you want to play in the big leagues, you have to act big league. If you can dish it out, you have to be able to take it back with equinamity. If you cannot do this - then you're not ready for the big leagues.

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