07 April 2008
Tibet vs. the Olympics, Part II
The Olympic torch has crossed from Britain to France, harassed along the way by sympathizers for Tibetan independence. These zealots have their hearts in the right place, because it'd be an occasion for cheering if the Tibetans were able to throw out the Chinese and keep them out. Moral suasion applied by foreigners against the Chinese government can only go so far. The next stage should rightly take an economic form. Let those who love Tibet boycott every product manufactured in China, and the Chinese might feel it. Instead, the friends of Tibet want to humiliate China by ruining the Olympic Games. Here the harm extends beyond China to the whole world, or at least that part of it dedicated to sport as a venue for peaceful competition between nations and individuals, free from ideology and other furies. Tibetophiles might find this observation frivolous. Who am I, they might ask, to value a sports event over the freedom of an entire people? That's a proper subject for debate, but here's another: what should we call it when any faction shuts down a public festival to make a political point -- when they demand attention to their cause before all else, and strive by all means at their disposal to force our attention their way? Dare I suggest that the word is terrorism?