Put out the Olympic Torch

Ending of the Olympic Torch relay at Olympics in Nazi Germany, 1936.With the Festival of Freedom in a few days, I cannot help but think of the people in Tibet, Burma, Darfur*, the child laborers, the victims of the totalitarian regime which imprisons and tortures dissenters. China is one of the world’s leading human rights abusers. Keep up the pressure on China and companies that are backing the Olympics. Keep up pressure on our politicians to act. Keep up pressure on the Olympic Torch as it makes it way around the globe as a way of focusing the world’s attention of the violence that China commits at home and abroad. And put out the Torch.

The route of the Olympic Torch is being constantly adjusted today to avoid the thousands of protesters on the streets of SF. They had to cut short the route. Hundreds of policemen wielding long batons are keeping protesters off the street. The large rally at the end of the route will have to do without the torch. It has been canceled. Of course, thousands of pro-Chinese protesters are also along the route, at times scuffling with pro-Tibet protesters.

One of the symbols of the torch relay is especially repugnant for me. There is this team of blue-clad Chinese runners that accompany the torch that are in fact security guards with paramilitary training. They are violent. As they go through the streets of SF I noticed they continued their violent ways as in London and Paris. They are blocking, pushing protesters, and not athletes in any sense. The Times in London reports:

China’s blue-clad flame attendants, whose aggressive methods of safeguarding the Olympic torch have provoked international outcry, are paramilitary police from a force spun off from the country’s army. The squad of 30 young men from the police academy that turns out the cream of the paramilitary security force has the job at home of ensuring riot control, domestic stability and the protection of diplomats.

The entire torch ceremony was created by Nazis for the 1936 Olympics. The propaganda department of Nazi Germany created a route through countries they would eventually conquer after 1939, and ended at the Nazi stadium in front of huge swastikas.

The Olympic Torch relay started with a totalitarian regime in Nazi Germany in 1936, and it should end now in 2008 as it is being used for propaganda by another totalitarian regime. The “blue-shirts” protecting the Olympic Torch, remind me of the “brown shirts” Nazi thugs on the streets of Germany, the US, and Britain.

Put out the Torch, its parade through free societies is a mockery.

*China is a major backer of the government in Sudan.