Thursday, December 1, 2011


To save Olympics this time – boycott it!

Olympics have always been a celebration for global unity and peace. Since ages, it has been a stage which has always aimed at bridging the divide between classes, races and promotes equality. It has also played a major role in allowing them to show their mettle at one platform – which marks the victory of mankind and not merely sportsmen.

The 2012 London Olympics, however, would be slightly different or shall I say, it is diametrically opposite to the very essence and philosophy of this global sporting event. The 2012 Olympics is being strangely sponsored by Dow chemicals - infamous for 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy where thousands lost their lives and millions are still suffering. Wonder why the International Olympics Committee isn’t asking questions and why is it that we are silent upon it? For the world it does not matter much, but for us to remain silent is nothing less than a crime owing to the fact that the CEO of Union Carbide is still scot-free without any punishment, and hundreds of victims are yet to receive their due compensation, which are pending since decades.

It's quite ironic that Union Carbide has money to sponsor the event, but doesn't have enough to compensate those poor victims who have been waiting for their very dues and rights. The fact is that still more than $1 billion additional compensation (as demanded by government of India last year) is due. What more, it is not just that they have been the perpetrators of the biggest chemical disaster in recorded history in India. Interestingly, this is the same company that has made harmful chemicals for the US Government which were used during the infamous Vietnam War.

To accept a sponsorship from an organisation which has such a bloody past is blatantly converse to what Olympics stands for – victory of mankind! Of course, boycotting the event would mean robbing a chance from our athletes to display their sporting abilities and showcasing their talent at the world stage, but then ignoring this very issue and silently participating would be betrayal to those innocent poor people who have lost their lives and their near and dear ones for no fault of theirs.

And it is not that an event of this stature has not been boycotted by nations in the past. In the past, many Olympics were boycotted in order to upkeep the honour of the game. The world got against China to boycott the Beijing Olympics on humanitarian grounds. In 1980, the US didn't participate to protest the Soviet invasion on Afghanistan. For the uninitiated, the 1980 Olympic was hosted by USSR and was held in Moscow. Many other countries later joined the boycott. Likewise, in the next Olympic Game held in Los Angeles, United States in 1984, Soviet Union and its 13 allies retaliated the US move by boycotting the event. The official reason cited by them was lack of security! Iran and Libya boycotted the game too because of bilateral enmity with the US.

It is unfortunate that this time every inch of splendour achieved during the game will be dripped in innocent blood. On the hindsight, boycotting and opposing the game might invite fl ak from certain sections of the globe. But then we should not bother as the fact is that by boycotting this very season actually we would be supporting the very cause for which Olympics has always been known for.


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