Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bu$hco, Biejing, Berlin & The Olympic Torch

Bush sees sports, but politics abound at Olympics

By BEN FELLER – 1 day ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush is so emphatic about going to the Olympics in China that one might think flying halfway around the globe to attend the games is what presidents do.

never before has an American leader shown up at an Olympics on foreign soil And Bush is doing more than just dropping by. He is planning to soak in as much as he can, with large blocs on his Beijing schedule devoted to watching athletes compete.

For this president, perhaps the most avid in a long line of White House sports buffs, it is an event that begins and ends with sports.

Yet politics have intruded in Olympics past, from Cold War boycotts to terrorism, and host China is right at the intersection of debates over human rights, security and trade. Even the Olympic torch relay fell victim to protests in Europe and the U.S.

Bush, who sets out Monday on a weeklong Asia trip, touches down first in South Korea, where trade, North Korea's nuclear program and the issue of U.S. beef imports will top the agenda. Then in Thailand, Bush will draw attention to the repressed citizens in neighboring Myanmar, also called Burma, and reflect on the future of U.S. policy in the Far East.

The heart of the trip is in Beijing, where Bush is to spend four nights and days.

His challenge, like the way he describes the U.S.-China relationship, is complex.

He must remind the world of his oft-stated commitment to freedoms in China, a country his own State Department brands as an authoritarian abuser of the most basic human rights. Yet he wants to avoid showing up the host country, a partner of enormous value to the U.S.

"I'm confident that by showing respect to the people, to the Olympics, it will put me in a position to continue to have frank and candid discussions," Bush told reporters this past week.

Well, If Bu$h really studied history he would realise that the Olympics have been political for a long time and if he read the news he would see that this will probably be the most political Olympic event in history. Even the 1936 Olympics in Berlin Germany, where Hitler and his minions re-iniated the carrying of the torch ceremony as a political photo-op, will be eclipsed by the Chinese efforts to build their world image.

Chinese officials have stepped up security and demonstraters have been warned that there is a designated area far from the event where they are allowed particpate. Hmm, sound familiar?

At 4 a.m. on 16 July 1936, prior to the opening of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, police began arresting all Romani (gypsies) people in Greater Berlin and forcibly relocated them to Marzahn, an open field in eastern Berlin sandwiched between a cemetery and a sewage dump. Later, the prison would be surrounded by barbed wire and prisoners were subject to forced labour in armament plants.

Hitler desired to clean up Berlin, the German Ministry of Interior authorized the chief of Berlin Police to arrest all Romani people (gypsies) and keep them in a special camp.Eventually, the men from Marzahn would be sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp (in 1938), and women and children were sent to Auschwitz (in 1943)

Olympic games in Berlin 1936 - Opening ceremony

1936 Nazi Color Film-Berlin in the Year of the Olympic Games

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