Thursday, April 17, 2008

political protest - 21st century style?

After protesting and marching in the streets and attending all kinds of demonstrations in my subversive life, I'm a bit jaded at times regarding the effectiveness of traditional methods of political protest. What forms of dissent can we still practice that will actually influence political decision-makers and not stifle governments into passive aggressiveness or, worse, retaliation and backlash? I just read this article on the concept of boycotting the Olympic opening ceremonies, and so, I'm asking the question, if we stand for protecting human rights, and we know that a country is not practicing them, but we also support amateur athletes and the spirit of global solidarity through athleticism, what can we do, can governments do, can athletes do to send a message to the Chinese government (and the IOC) that they will listen to about their treatment of the Tibetan people and their support of a genocide in Darfur, without dishonoring the athletes who are going for the gold?

On that note, here is another article asking that very question: The story of Jin Jing, the Olympic athlete in a wheelchair, protecting the torch from street protesters in Paris. I totally understand that we shouldn't be tarnishing China's opportunity to host the Olympics and the athletes' enjoyment in participating in them. But is it better to turn a blind eye to human rights violations? It's all so confusing, and frankly, I don't have the answers (because after all the letters I send to Pelosi about our own atrocious government, all I get are form letter responses).

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