31 March 2008

...told in a foreign land

The call to boycott the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics appears to be gathering momentum. Dermot Ahern, Minister for Foreign Affairs, suggested today that while an outright boycott of the games was not an option, the Government is considering not attending the opening ceremony. This follows a call last week by Dublin TD Chris Andrews (one of my local TDs, though I am pains to point out that he received no votes from me) for the withdrawal of our full team from the Opening Ceremony, the first mainstream politician here to do so.

Ahern however argued that we should not mix sport and politics, which is ironic given the fact that in all likelihood Beijing was only awarded the Olympics on the basis of politics, and the West's desire to gain access to the vast market China represents. With a poor infrastructure, choking pollution and crippling summer dust storms, Beijing can hardly be seen as an ideal location for a major sporting event.

The Olympic Torch started its 130-day journey in China today in a nearly deserted Tianamen Square, and it will be interesting to watch how Ireland and the international community come to terms with the growing unrest that China's recent (and historic) actions are provoking.

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