(As posted to my Gazette blog)
Have you ever been invited to an event, say, a dinner party, that you did not want to attend but really felt you had little choice? That’s how I see the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Many nations are going to hold their figurative noses and participate in the Games because they feel there is too much at stake, i.e. money, to do the honorable thing and withdraw in protest over Russia’s anti-LGBT policies. Yes, it’s the same old story: morals being sacrificed on the altar of money.
Still, even if our leaders and the media feel they have to attend the party in Russia this winter, individuals can personally boycott the whole affair. We don’t have to watch TV coverage, we don’t have to buy the advertisers’ products.
It is unreasonable to think, though, that millions of people won’t tune in to watch their countries participate because of Russia’s oppressive behaviour. And our athletes do deserve support. So, it’s a personal decision: if you think Russia stinks badly, either hold your nose or avoid it altogether.
Personally, I do boycott nations that I feel are oppressive. For example, I wouldn’t invest any money in Cameroon, even though it is seen by many in the investment community as a great place to make money. Nor would I buy products from that country — and I certainly wouldn’t vacation there, just as I wouldn’t vacation in Russia or Croatia or any number of nations that punish people and deny them equal rights because of their sexual orientation and gender identity issues.
As individuals we can’t do much more about the injustices occurring in foreign nations, except, perhaps, cry out about them in social media forums, which almost anybody can do . . . except for those in nations that control the media, of course.
Speaking of which: The American Prospect site has an article called NBC’s Big Fat Gay Mistake, with this lede: “The network’s half-hearted attempts to appear gay-friendly while broadcasting the Sochi Olympics only underscore its complicity with the Kremlin’s crackdown on LGBT rights and freedom of the press.”
That column inspired this one . . .
It is a deplorable situation. Russia’s heavy pendulum has swung again to the far retrograde right. The military is in, the Mob is in, the Church is in. Human rights are out, equality is out, acceptance and understanding are out. It would be a disservice to our young athletes not to let them go. The Olympic Organizing Committee should never choose intolerant places for the games. I won’t go, and I probably won’t watch. It’s too bad for our young people.