Thursday, February 18, 2010

Canadian Olympics 2010

My grandmother, a lovable but frustratingly conformist person, says I'm against everything.  What she doesn't realize is that every single thing I'm *against* can be flipped around to be something I'm for!  I'm anti-sexism, which means I'm pro woman's rights.  I'm anti-colonialist, which means I'm for Indigenous rights.  I'm against governments, but for decentralization, and community organization.

It's all in the way you look at it (by the way, I've used the positive ways of saying these things when speaking to my grandmother as well, but she seems to only remember the "negative" ones.  I think I need to remember to ONLY say "I'm for..." when talking to her, thus making it much harder for her to accuse me of being negative. ;-)).

 (By Zig Zag, via the site No 2010 Olympics on Stolen Native Land)

What's making her say I'm "against everything" at the moment is the fact that I'm anti-Olympics (also known as FOR the abolition of poverty and homelessness, for the rights of Indigenous peoples, for an end to environmental destruction, for small businesses instead of huge corporations, and for the right for people to live, love, and protest without the fear of police surveillance, oppression, and violence).  Yes, I feel for the athletes who dream of this day and all that.  But I'm afraid I feel a lot more for the people who have lost their homes due to the games (homelessness has more than doubled in Vancouver since they won the bid to hold the games), and feel more for all the other countless people who are being harmed by these games, than the few thousand athletes who want to play sports.  Hell, there's even the issue of elitism: no one I know can afford to spend thousands of dollars on tickets to any of the Olympic events!  This is a spectacle by and for the wealthy only: the rest of us just get to watch it on TV, live it vicariously (which is never the best way to live), and apparently feel some swelling of pride when people we've never met win a race. And, if you're lucky to live in the right area, you also get to pay off a huge debt that the Olympics has created...  Fun!

Or, of course, you could just protest.  Which many people out in BC have decided to do!  Here are just a few interesting links and videos on that subject:

Though most of the protesting has already gone down, you can still find lots of interesting info at the Olympic Resistance Network.

Also check out this video: Weekend Roundup of Olympic Resistance (it won't embed or I'd just put it here), to see what went down in terms of anti-Olympic protesting in Vancouver this past weekend.

...And this interesting video on the BC Civil Liberties associations decision to demonize certain protesters (I liked this video because I felt the guy they talked to has some very important things to say!).

...And this video as well, the latest episode of It's The End Of The World As We Know It, And I Feel Fine, which, though it's not entirely about the Olympics, includes some stuff on it.

For months I've been finding interesting links about the Olympics, but of course I wasn't smart enough to bookmark them, so I can't find them now when I want to...  I guess this will have to do.

So for the first time ever, this year, I am not watching, and not supporting, the Olympic games. I'd much rather support those resisting the games, fighting for causes that are genuinely worthwhile, than support the corporate circus that is the Olympics!



  1. Thanks for this post and for the support. You made me smile :-)

  2. As someone who lives in the general Vancouver area and as someone committed to social justice (I'm a social work student - it's part of our professional ethics), I say:

    AMEN to that, sister!

  3. We never do watch the Olympics in my house, because, frankly, we're just not interested in it (also because we have no cable). We usually get the scores from family or friends.
    But I'm afraid this just gave me a whole new perspective of the games :O will definitely check out the videos and websites!

  4. You make some good points, and I take them to heart. At the same time, maybe b/c I am a Vermonter who loves to ski, I love to watch the ski racing and the snowboarding, especially the Canadian coverage, which is so much better than the US! My concerns have more to do with the physcial safety of the athletes, who are pushing speed and height limits that, as we have already seen, can be deadly. I was listening to VPR (VT public radio) yesterday, which aired a story about women growing up in a ski town and how they always expected themselves to be strong, athletic women. I liked that. I like these women out there with their strong bodies, no size 2, 4, or 6's anywhere on the ski circuit!

    So yes, I think there are many sides to the Olympic story, some of which need to be addressed, and CAN be addressed. In 1980 the Olympics were held in Lake Placid. On 2 different days, we drove there, got tickets to the skiing events, watched, got autographs, and drove home. I doubt that would be possible today.

  5. Except... the four native Chiefs on whose land the Olympics are being hosted were at the opening ceremony and were treated as heads of state. I understand there are many issues with the Olympics in Vancouver, just as there are in any Olympic-host city, but how can they say it is being done on stolen land when the Chiefs are aware of it and are present? I don't know if you saw the opening ceremony but a huge portion of it was dedicated to the aboriginal peoples... It was something I wish we got to see more of here because it's beautiful and fascinating. We learn about native peoples for so many years in school but rarely do we get to see anything like we saw at the opening ceremony.

  6. Wow. Submedia tv is so heavy stuff. Thanks for posting the video as I doubt I would have come across it otherwise. But you never know ;) Really appreciate your writing on unschooling as well. Keep going!