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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

PUT OUT THE TORCH IN DARFUR


As activists who stand with the people of Tibet, also are people who stand with the people of Darfur. We honor the Darfuri families, who live with injustice with every breath they take. Instead of participating in and watching the Olympics of Beijing, China next summer, the Darfuri people will be living under a tree, piece of plastic or makeshift shelter ~ if they haven’t been murdered with their government’s sanction.

The Torch Relay is an opportunity to tap into the ideals of the Olympics, but also to call on the host of the 2008 Olympics, the government of China, to do more to help end the genocide.

The Beijing, China Olympics, chose the theme ONE WORLD, ONE DREAM. The number 8, Chinese number, ba, is considered the luckiest number. It is no coincidence that the Summer Olympics in Beijing will open on 8/ 8/08 at 8:00 p.m.

I invite you to light a candle in your home as your family gathers and say:

€ This flame honors those who have been lost and those who suffer.
€ This flame celebrates the courage of those who have survived.
€ This flame symbolizes the hope we share for an end to the violence in Darfur and an end to genocide everywhere.”

Genocide anywhere is unacceptable.

My father invited an Olympic track star to speak at our high school’s annual athletic banquet in the sixties. I grew up in Indiana and my father was a high school teacher and coach. This track star was the son of a sharecropper and the grandson of a slave. He also was the first American in the history of Olympic Track and Field to win four gold medals in a single Olympics. The story of Jesse Owens is relevant to today’s Torch Relay event. The year that Mr. Owens became world famous was in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics, that are also known as the Hitler Olympics. It is worth noting that on March 22, 1933, the first extermination camp was opened in Dachau, Germany and began its ugly business of committing crimes against humanity that later was called – genocide. So at the same time that the death camps were operating, people and Hitler were sitting in the stands watching the Olympian athletes in Berlin compete. The Olympic Torch Relay as we know it today was actually introduced at the very Olympic games in Berlin in 1936.

Today, the Official Website of the Beijing Torch Relay states “The Olympic Flame is the highest symbol of the Olympic spirit. The Olympic Torch Relay is a celebration of human peace and friendship. Under the guidance of International Olympic Committte, Beijing is working closely with the relay cities around the world, widely promoting the theme of ‘One World, One Dream,’ upholding the torch relay concept that is ‘a journey of harmony’ to make the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay a complete success.”

I dare to say - that complete success is not possible, if the “journey of harmony” is soiled by the lack of extending the theme “One World, One Dream” to Darfur. China needs to use its influence with Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, to help bring the genocide to an end.

While the Olympics’ host country has the world’s eyes on it, we ask the 2008 Olympic theme to not exclude the Darfuri people, but to include the Darfur people. While it sits on the UN Security Council, China supports the Sudanese government…the government who has been coordinating the genocide in Darfur with the janjaweed for over four and half years with weapons purchased from China. Darfur is a part of the world and needs the Olympic dream desperately.

Like the irony of the Berlin games in 1936, the 2008 Beijing games will have its own irony if China ignores its role in the Darfur genocide.

The above text is taken from my speech of a Torch Relay that I organized in my state that took place October 27, 2007.

Torch Relay in Providence, Rhode Island

In 1936 the Olympics were taking place in Berlin, Germany while human rights were being taken away



This is the Beijing Phoenix Torch Relay graphic

Phoenix is the king of birds and belongs to Fire in Five Elements. It is the spirit of fire. The soaring phoenix with graceful bearing and dignified air is the totem of fire. The legend "phoenix nirvana and rebirth out of ash" also symbolizes man's constant striving spirit.

Down the ages, "Loong" (Chinese dragon) and "Phoenix" are the traditional totems embedded with people's blessing and hope.... more

Today, the closing San Francisco Torch Ceremony was cancelled according to MSNBC.

Some news out today:
Gordon Brown will not attend opening of Beijing Olympics


By Christopher Hope, Richard Spencer and Catherine Elsworth
Last Updated: 10:36pm BST 09/04/2008



Gordon Brown has said that he would not be attending the opening ceremony for the Olympics Games in Beijing in August.
He is the first major world leader to say that he would definitely not attend the opening ceremony.

Downing Street insisted that the Prime Minister had never intended to go.

Instead Mr Brown would be present for the closing of the Games as leader of the next Olympic host country.

However, the move could be seen as a snub to Beijing after it was widely reported in the Chinese press that Mr Brown would attend the opening.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has said that he was thinking about not attending the three-hour opening celebration. Pressure will now be on other world leaders to do the same.

Opinion against the Games has hardened after protests over China's occupation of Tibet disrupted the procession of the Olympic torch through London and Paris this week.

Read the entire article


International Olympic Committee deserves these protests

09:26 AM CDT on Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It's almost the stuff of standup comedy.

"Did you see the Olympic torch get attacked in Paris? After that, it decided to take the bus."

But it's no joke. In city after city, runners tasked with what is usually a lofty honor – carrying the Olympic torch for one brief segment of its trip around the world – are surrounded by as many security guards as fans. It seems that before Beijing gets its moment in the sun in August, some protesters want to shed light on some truths China might not want revealed.

The torch is the most famous symbol of the Olympic Games, and that means that this year it is a symbol of the worst site-selection decision in Olympic history.

Passing up Toronto and Paris, the International Olympic Committee eagerly in 2001 awarded the precious jewel of the 2008 Summer Games to the most evil regime on the planet.

IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch was particularly eager to see the Games in communist China. The IOC's Evaluation Commission swooned like schoolgirls, calling the venues "environmentally impressive" and the budget "viable and sound." You have to hand it to totalitarianism – it tends to assure you a reliable cash flow.

The committee even found a way to give a big thumbs up to oppressive dictatorship itself: "The overall presence of strong governmental control and support is healthy."

Healthy? Tell that to the Chinese protesters serving jail time for suggesting that their nation ought to clean up its human rights act before hosting an Olympics. Tell that to the thousands who are kicked out of their homes every month for Olympic construction, a figure that will total more than a million by August.

There is no sign that the U.S. will boycott the Games, but there is a murmur of suggestions – including an opportunistic one from Hillary Clinton – that President Bush should refuse to attend the opening ceremony.

This is silly. Our 1980 boycott of the Soviet Games hurt no one but innocent athletes. We're not about to make that mistake again, so when our competitors file in for the start of this Olympiad, their president should be there to applaud them.

This does not mean the world cannot show proper revulsion for the IOC's shameful applause for China's sorry record on human rights. That's exactly what its moral blindness constitutes, and it should offend anyone with a shred of human decency that the Olympics will be held in a country that so routinely tramples on the rights and lives of its citizens and neighbors.

Today, the torch's tense path leads to its only U.S. appearance – in San Francisco, where protesters actually scaled the cables of the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday to hang protest signs. In the post-9/11 world, I don't know whether to be grateful that that was the protesters' only act or disturbed that people could so easily scale the bridge.

In any event, we have to figure out what we think of these protests, because we're going to see a lot of them. Even if IOC officials are forced to yank the torch off the streets of the world, activists will find other ways to draw attention to China's profound list of sins. Most of those methods will be disruptive, because that's how you get attention.

Even with my dark view of the IOC's shameful decision to place the Games in China, I cannot condone anything that disrupts the orderly attempt by the many innocent people who are part of the process and pageantry of the lead-up to the 2008 Olympics.

But I'd be lying if I did not confess to a certain satisfaction that the protests are drawing attention to what a contemptible decision the IOC made in placing the games in China – and to the horrors still committed by the Chinese government today.

Mark Davis is heard weekdays from 8 to 11 a.m. on WBAP-AM, News/Talk 820. His e-mail address is mdavis@wbap.com.
Source: Dallas News

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Another article:
Olympic torch hidden in warehouse as protestors wait on route

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Olympic torch protested in San Francisco

The 2008 Summer Olympic torch relay, in anticipation of the games which will be held in Beijing this year, met stiff protest in San Francisco over China’s bloody human rights record in Tibet. The presence of the torch has been protested in virtually every world city that it has traveled to, both by citizens, local government officials, and the athletes carrying the torch.

On Tuesday evening, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke to several thousand people at a candlelight vigil near City Hall and called on President George W. Bush to boycott the opening ceremony of the Smmer Olympics, which begin in August.

“To all the leaders of the world,” said Rev. Tutu, “for goodness sake, don’t go to Beijing.”

A Tibetan woman is led to be killed in a makeshift “field execution”.

Source: Olympic torch meets stiff protests in San Francisco

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Security High for Torch's US Stop


By JULIANA BARBASSA and MARCUS WOHLSEN

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Security was being tightened around the city Wednesday as officials mobilized for protests in response to the Olympic torch's only North American stop on its journey to Beijing. Before dawn, supporters of China's role as host of the games gathered on the city's waterfront.

The Olympic torch's 85,000-mile global journey is the longest in Olympic history, and is meant to build excitement for the games. But it has also been a target for activists angered over China's human rights record.

As runners carry the torch on its six-mile route Wednesday, they will compete not only with people protesting China's grip on Tibet and its support for the governments of Myanmar and Sudan, but also with more obscure activists. They include nudists calling for a return to the way the ancient Greek games were played.

Law enforcement agencies erected metal barricades Wednesday morning and readied running shoes, bicycles and motorcycles for officers preparing to shadow the runners chosen for the relay. Read more

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Chaos in London on the Olympic torch relay

If the Olympic torch relay is no more than a crude propaganda stunt on the part of the host nation then the London leg could hardly have backfired in a more spectacular manner, writes Andrew Baker.

Opinion is divided on the merits of the Olympic torch relay. Fans - of whom there were plenty braving the snow showers in London yesterday - applaud it as a way of exporting a little of the glamour of the five rings to places that would otherwise not experience it. Critics suggest that it is no more than a crude propaganda stunt on the part of the host nation.
  • Olympic showcase descends into a day of mayhem
  • Coe defiant as 'Journey of Harmony' descends into farce
  • Countdown to the Beijing Olympics | View from China: Protests? What protests?
  • Read the entire article

    Post of mine: Sponsoring Genocide Olympics

    China Olympic theme is One World One Dream, but what about their own people?

    Providence, Rhode Island Olympic Torch Relay
    From Rwandans' Hearts to Darfur


    International Olympic Committe to consier stopping international leg of torch relay


    From activists for helping end the genocide in Darfur:

    If you were invited to a party hosted by the enablers of the genocide of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, would you go?

    Today, as the Olympic torch passes through San Francisco for its only North American stop, join me in urging President Bush not to attend the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

    Tell President Bush to take a stand for human rights and skip the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

    China has the power to convince the Sudanese government to accept deployment of the United Nations-African Union (UNAMID) peacekeeping forces for Darfur. But instead China remains Sudan's major weapons provider, largest foreign investor and trade partner, and diplomatic apologist.

    President Bush must not sit quietly and watch the lighting of the Olympic torch—under the 'one world, one dream' banner—unless China has used its influence to pressure the Sudanese government to allow the effective deployment of the UNAMID peacekeeping force.

    We can support the Olympic Games, but we cannot support China's tolerance for the atrocities being committed in Sudan. Beijing should not be allowed to bask in the warm glow of peace and brotherhood associated with the opening games if China is still underwriting atrocities in Darfur.

    Make sure President Bush gets the message: Stay home unless China uses its influence to get peacekeepers effectively deployed in Darfur.

    Please ask your friends and family to join you in calling on President Bush to skip the opening ceremonies.

    Thank you for your commitment to the people of Darfur.


    Call 1~800~GENOCIDE
    and urge
    your U.S. Representative and Senators
    to add their support
    and to pass the funding fully
    for the UN Peacekeepers for Darfur

    President Bush's Comment Phone Line
    202-456-1111
    He needs a push to do something right

    GENOCIDE STOPS WITH US

    or it will go on forever

    save darfur
    genocide intervention
    darfur genocide
    amnesty

    Peace will not work if we don't do our part.

    donate solar cooker project

    Learn more about the project to protect women of Darfur by donating $30 for two Solar Cookers
    refugeerelief solar cooker project


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