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Olympics gets political, again
February 28, 2011 - Steve Murch
This one takes the cake. According to an AP story, Iran is objecting to the 2012 London Olympics logo because, it claims, the logo is racist. Iran claims the logo spells out Zion.
From what I can tell it spells out _____. My point is it doesn't spell out anything. It ugly, but that doesn't mean anything. The person who designed it and charged the Olympic committee all those pounds or euros got away with robbery.
But racist? Iran might be a racist country, but the logo surely isn't racist, it's just ugly.
According to the AP story, “The secretary general of Iran's National Olympic Committee says Iran sent a letter to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, warning of a possible boycott of the games. The letter claims the 2012 logo spells out 'Zion,' a biblical term widely recognized to refer to the city of Jerusalem.”
OK, go ahead and boycott the Games. The only people who would be hurt by it would be the Iranian athletes who wouldn't be allowed to fulfill a dream of competing on an international stage. Rare is the Iranian athlete who shines in Olympic competition, so their absence wouldn't really be noticed much. Unfortunately, politics may get in the way of them having the opportunity to compete at all.
Iran Secretary General Bahram Afsharzadeh urges other Muslim states to oppose the 'racist logo.' What if they don't see the racism in the logo? Are they still supposed to oppose it, or should they point out that Afsharzadeh is just looking for a way to draw attention to his country. Maybe that's it. Iran is upset that the eyes of the world have been on the Muslim world, just not their country.
Politics, unfortunately, has been a part of the Olympics in some manner forever. It might be in how the Games are awarded, or it might be countries not participating. And of course there was the Munich Games and that tragedy. Not participating as a protest is far worse than the selections because you will never change the process of awarding the Games. However, using athletes as pawns is wrong. Let them participate.
In the meantime, London might want to reconsider changing the logo. Not because it's racist, but simply because it is really ugly.
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