I'm as much a fan of archaic and picturesque theocracies as the next person. (After all, we prefer our favoured causes happen to be brown(ish),to be at least "spiritual"; and certainly non-violent...it's more dignified, i'm sure). But perhaps these tibet/torch protests are missing the point (except,of course,for the Tibetans).
So Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC, states today:
"I'm very concerned with the international situation and what's happening in Tibet...
The torch relay has been targeted. The International Olympic Committee has expressed its serious concern and calls for a rapid peaceful resolution in Tibet," he said.
He said that violence "for whatever reason" was "not compatible with the values of the torch relay or the Olympic games".
"Whatever reason" eh? Whose values? Some sort of empyrean beyond the squalid necessities of everyday politics.
Apparently, the Olympics present us with a vision of universality transcending the factional world in which lives are actually lived. There is some world beyond, where the difficulties of housing, food, education (and certainly for the bhuddist god botherers) expressing one's religion or using ones' language, are elided in simply running fast or jumping far.
I, for one, believe that this is an ideal worth fighting for; though, naturally, without violence.
"We need the unity of the Olympic movement to help us overcome the difficulties. Our major responsibility is for offering good games to the athletes who deserve them," he said.
The deserving, then. The Olympics is a festival for the atheletes who take part in them. Cities, and the "world community" are respectively razed (note that knightsbridge would never have
been a serious contender for the site of the Prize Pedigree Kennel) or conscripted as either cheerleaders or taxpayers to pay obesience to the specimens of supermen/women who are going to act out our deepest desires. That is, running fast, jumping far etc. They will enact a collectivity for us- "ENGLAND...(which? Whose?) HAS WON GOLD...BRONZE...GOLD AGAIN..."
What about the rasberries, or the terminally uncharismatic, or the winos? What about those who just wouldn't fucking want to compete? That's scarcely picturesque.
Naturally, having conquered the barriers of class, sex, race...whatever, with a simple statement of intent, Capital can now present us with a level playing field - proudly labelled "MERITOCRACY", over the starting line. The lanes, barriers, are already layed out; we agreed on it - after all, why would western democracies allow their streets to be used for this carnival?
The finish line has been decided on.