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Freeman Cebu Sports

Beijing the point

WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde - The Freeman

When the curtains fell for the Beijing Winter Olympics, China successfully attracted about one third of a billion people to snow and ice sports. But it does not include American and European officials who were too cold to not grace the cold games. Otherwise known as boycott, over the red country’s human rights record against a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority.

Almost always, politics meddles in sports. And muddles it. Unavoidable, while sports and politics are parallel like railway tracks in that both aim to bring out excellent best in humanity, they collide at some point. When derailed. Just like church and state.

Countries who boycott the games either pressure the host country to action or omission. Or humiliate it among the community of nations. Or both. And more. In the past, the Olympics have become a universal platform where bitter and biting statements are unearthed for the earth.

But China bubbled the games to protect it from the crowned virus. And the Olympians, from speaking their mind loud or moving their body from speaking louder. It banned words and their subtle but louder equivalent – the body language – from speaking up, especially at the podium during awarding ceremony. No black power salute. No kneeling in solidarity with the black lives matter movement. No clenched fists for any advocacy, except maybe when celebrating a point or triumph.

Beijing is telling, there is a time and place for everything. Politics and sports shouldn’t mix. If athletes make any political, social or religious statement, they can do so elsewhere. Just compete, do not trumpet. Makes sense, if only to keep the triumph of the physical body and human spirit solemn and sacred. But solemnity does not amount to sanctity, silence does not mean peace. It is not the opposite of noise. It is the face of the faceless suppression.

Dissent is a natural reaction to abuse. It becomes louder when suppressed. Where there is freedom from all forms of abuse, including violation of human rights, there is no resistance. Venue is not always the issue. But while it is not, it should also be respected within the Olympiad context, defer any defiant action in deference to the host nation.

But defiance within the bounds of the law is the essence of legitimate dissent to break silence and to silence those who break human dignity. Protest when everybody is watching or when the world is, in broad daylight. Even in the dead of the night. Exactly why protesters cry in the streets, not in the privacy of their bedroom, unless they upload it for the world to see. Which is what we normally see in the new normal and the old virtual. The parliament of the streets has long moved to the virtual superhighway. Dissent finds its way out in subtle mutation. Otherwise known as adaptation. Or alienation. From a hostile host.

OLYMPICS

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