One of the most eventful precursors to the Beijing Olympics has been the relay of the Olympic torch. As per tradition, the lighting was in Greece and then the torch headed for the kick-off ceremony in Beijing. However, from the beginning, protests have prevented the smooth ride that people in China were blindly hoping would accompany the torchbearers. Chinese media, in its typical falsified fashion, made no mention of the demonstrators and delays of the initial lighting in Athens.
As the torch has made its way farther around the globe, denying the problem doesn't really seem to have made it go away. In London, 35 people were arrested for going to such extremes as trying to put the flame out with a fire extinguisher. Then, in Paris, the relay was finally called off because of the number of protesters blocking its path. The Chinese officials even canceled a reception at Paris City Hall because of a banner supporting human rights that was hanging from the building.
The Parisian mayor, Bernard Delanoe, told the press that, "the Chinese officials decided they would not stop here because they were put out by Parisian citizens expressing their support for human rights."
Enough is enough &mdashl a sentiment shared by both the protesters and the Chinese government. Given the magnitude of these most recent demonstrations, the official news agency had to make a statement, noting that it was just a few Tibetan organizers who were responsible for trying to disrupt the carrying of the flame. Chinese officials just cannot seem to understand how and why the entire Western world has been duped by the Dalai Lama when he is so obviously just an evil separatist trying to bring down the glorious motherland.
Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, has already stated that she will not attend the Opening Ceremony, and it is highly unlikely that French President Nicolas Sarkozy, despite his affinity for America, will be joining Monsieur Bush.
The Olympic torch made it's only American stop in San Francisco on Wednesday, where protesters gathered en masse in the district of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who stated that it was a mistake for the Olympic Games to have been given to China. The torch was secretly rerouted to avoid the protesters and ultimately was paraded to little or no crowd during its only appearance in America.
Unfortunately, President Bush does not seem to share Pelosi's sentiments. Recently, a bill was introduced to Congress that would bar all federal employees from attending the Opening Ceremony, which would include the president.
Perhaps it's time for President Bush to reconsider not only his methods, but his commitment to spreading democracy around the world. Unilateralism is really starting to get old; maybe for once we could actually agree with France and Germany rather than end up on the same side of the table as China.
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