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A Black and White Issue? | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

A Black and White Issue?

Image from www.2008-FreeTibet.org Poster

While I strongly disagree with some of the sentiment from PSFK’s post Olympics: Do We Burn The Nikes First, Or The Cool Blogs? it also made me consider some other questions in regards to the Olympic Games in Beijing. That question is that if you plan to watch a moment of the Olympics, purchase anything from a corporate sponsor of the games or even follow who wins and looses are you implicitly supporting what a number of protesters are trying to bring to the attention of the world? If you are protesting the Olympics in Beijing yet choose to do any of the following that I mention above is it somewhat hypocritical to criticize others? Is it possible to have it both ways or is everyone responsible to some degree? All comments are welcome as I’m having a hard time balancing the pros and cons myself.

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  • http://muhsashum.blogspot.com Adrian Shum

    Michael, I find myself to be in a similar situation. Being a Canadian of Chinese descent, I am somewhat 'on-the-fence' with the over-politicization of the games through the media. In my opinion, there are many issues facing China as a rapidly growing, industrial nation… but, what country can claim to be free of problem? The latest issue of GOOD Magazine has some great feature articles on China, I'd recommend everyone to read them, you're bound to come across something you didn't know.

    The Olympics should remain non-political, concentrate on 'fair' competition and respect for the athletes. In my opinion, the Olympics could represent the ideal world model, where one person from a different culture/religion/etc. can stand beside one another with respect, admiration and/or resolve their differences through non-lethal, competitive sport. I guess we'll just have to wait and see…

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    thanks for the insight adrian – i'll be sure to pick up that issue of Good you mention and take a look

  • http://www.kinosport.tv James

    First off, I can confidently say that I refuse to compete in this year's Olympics. Beyond that, I'm confused.

    If the U.S. refuses to participate, that sends a powerful message. If we refused to participate when the 1980 games were in Moscow because we did not like the Communist agenda, shouldn't we boycott a country that shoots its monks and tortures its journalists?

    This won't happen for a number of realpolitik reasons, so is the burden now on me? If I don't watch, how will this free Tibet? Beijing is not going to say “Wow, viewership is way down and our advertisers are getting nervous – we ought to grant Tibet autonomy.”

    Watch the Olympics, but keep the Tibet issue visible. Let's figure out why the UN and the US have been so slow to address it. After the games are over, the issue should not return to being the sole property of Richard Gere and the Beastie Boys.

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    true – those are some good points to consider