Just after watching the Olympic Opening Ceremony (I know I said I wouldn’t) but WOW! It was amazing!! The Chinese put on quite a show! It was amazing. The power and energy was something else! I can’t remember watching the opening Ceremony to the Sydney or Athens Games but I remember the closing ceremony for the Athens Games and that was excellent!

The Chinese have set a high standard for London in 2012!

Best of luck also to the 51 Competitors for Team Ireland! Hopefully we’ll get one or two medals!

In agreement with…. Kevin Myers

Okay so I can see me getting into a spot of bother with this post, but I seam to be heading more right wing in my old age (I turn an old 23 this year 😛 ). But anyway, Kevin Myers got into a spot of bother this week (not a new thing for him) over a colum he wrote for Indo on July 10th entitled “Africa is giving nothing to anyone — apart from AIDS” he raises some good points about population in Africa and how many people can an overstretched continent support? While I might some share some of his exacts thoughts on this issue I think it is something we should be able to share our views on without being called ‘racist’ or have Immigrant Council of Ireland make complaint about views.

Myer’s column on Friday was also interesting and takes another look at the Olympics, completely ignoring the Tibetan issue (which I am still slightly torn over) but is worth a read. “Corrupt, from the starting blocks to the finishing line” does paint a goodpicture of a country that has hosted the Olympic games.

After every Olympics, the hosts resemble Belgium 1918: broken, beaten, shattered — their economies ruined, their cities devastated, their sons slain on this Olympian field. The voices rise, querulously declaring, never again: NEVER AGAIN!

He has a point… Im beginning to feel sorry for China

Olympic Boycotts

So whos not going to the opening Ceremony.

German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel has said she will not attend the opening ceremony and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has confirmed he will not attend the opening ceremony but will attend the closing ceremony.

George Bush is still going but at this point all the Presidential candidates (including McCain, has asked him to not attend.

Meanwhile the European Parliament voted on a resolution today calling on “Calls on the EU Presidency-in-Office to strive to find a common EU position with regard to the attendance of the Heads of Government and of State and the EU High Representative at the Olympic Games opening ceremony,”

There has been similar calls in Ireland for Biffo not to attend.

I am glad there are no calls for atheletes to boycott the Games like at the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow and the Soviet-led boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. These only affect the atheletes and do not impact anyway on the host nation. The olympics only cone once every four years, so they can sometimes be the highlight of an atheletes career.

Maybe the approach should be like the 15 countries, at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, who disagreed with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that they marched under the Olympic flag, and not their national flag, and the Olympic Hymn was used instead of a national anthem. Or like New Zealand did at the same olympics and use the flag of their NOC (New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association)

This could be the way for NOC’s to overcome the moral/ethical dilemma faced by them. Of course everything should be done to sepperate Sport from Politics but the Olympics is one of those events which seams to meld the two as countries put so much time and effort into hosting the games and bidding for the games.

I have therefore decided to join Merkel and Brown and not watch the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

There thats my ethical issue over and done with

Provisional Texts of Texts Adopted at the European Parliament, Thursday 10th April (Word Doc)


Regular readers will know I opposed Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independce as it was illegal under international law, but what about Tibet?

To me if I start going down the road of supporting Tibet I’ll end up ignoring the Olympics and I LOVE the Olympics. I dont know why but I do. This to me is an moral/ethical dilemma.

Then theres the issue of a friend. A good friend of mine is from Chéngdƫ and firmly belives that the Tibetans are doing this to ruin the Olympics, and I kind of agree with him. On the other hand though due to the Olympics, China is under the most intense watch of the Foreign Media it has ever known, so the Tibetans are exploiting this.

My question is though, does Tibet have a history of being independent?
So lets take a quick jog through Tibeten history. From Wikipedia

Many parts of the region were united in the seventh century by King SongtsÀn Gampo. In 1751, the Qing dynasty, which ruled China from 1644 to 1912, established the Dalai Lama as both the spiritual leader and political leader of Tibet who led a government with four Kalöns in it. Between the 17th century and 1951, the Dalai Lama and his regents were the predominant political power administering religious and administrative authority over large parts of Tibet from the traditional capital Lhasa.

Tibet proclaimed its independence from China in 1911 on the eve of the fall of the Qing dynasty and it’s subsequent internal turmoil, while China never renounced its claim of sovereignty to Tibet. No country formally recognized Tibet as an independent country from 1912 to 1951. Tibet remained a defacto independent state until shortly after the conclusion of the Chinese civil war, when on October 1, 1949, the People’s Republic of China was formally proclaimed in Beijing and the following year launched an armed invasion of Tibet. The Chinese army of 40,000 men routed the unprepared defending Tibetan army of only 5,000 near the city of Chamdo. The defeat subsequently led to he signing of the Seventeen point agreement by the Tibetan Government. Currently every country in the world recognizes China’s sovereignty over Tibet.

Okay so Tibet was a country though unrecognised from 1912 to 1951 and had existed previous to that as an independent state, granted it was previous to 1751. Now in Ireland we said we were an old country independent till the Birtish rulled us for 800 years etc (yada yada yada!) so Tibet has only been ruled by the Chinese for 250 years (with a short break). Does this give Tibet the right to be a soverign nation? This is a question I am torn on. I’m thinking if we apply that logic to Ireland, which was controlled by the British since 1169, then Tibet has the right to be free.

So another question, does Tibet have a ‘Distinct Cultural Tradition’ from China?
Well Tibet has its own language. Tibet has its own religons, Buddhism and Bön. Tibet uses a Lunar calender and has its own cusine (then again so do many parts of Germany, so cusine will not have a strong weighting in the arguement). Tibet also has its own history in Art, Customs, Dress, Drama, music and Literature. I think it is fair to say that Tibet has a ‘Distinct Cultural Tradition’ which differs from China.

So I think we have shown that Tibet has the historical and cultural differences to be Independent, so why should Kosovo be free and Tibet not?
Well, lets see the bigger question. Kosovo was being ruled over by Serbia who are trying to join the EU. Serbia does not want to upset the EU. The Majority of states supported Kosovo’s Independence. Serbia, did have the backing of Russia though but this was not enough as Kosovo had the support of Germany, France, UK, and the USA.

Now lets look at Tibet. Tibet is currently ruled by China. That country does not want to join the EU (or similar organistaion) so is not looking to placate anyone. China is a diverse country, it comes with being a big country so if it concedes to the Tibetans who else will want to be free? China has a history of using force to get its way in what it sees as internal affairs (Taiwan is an exception, but Taiwan is supported by the US). Is China right to use force to silence these protesters? No, China is limiting their free speech, then again free speech isnt high among the rights given to ordinary Chinese citizens.

This is the important difference, Kosovo: Supported by big states. Tibet: Supressed by a big stare who no one wants to offend.

Thats the crux of it.

So where do I stand in all this? Im still unsure. China claim to soverignity is recognised by nearly everystate in the world. So it is a legal claim under international law. “But what about Tibets history and culture I have been yapping on about?” you ask, well I believe they are stong arguments to why Tibet should be free. For the moment I wont be posting any Free Tibet or Boycott the Olympics stuff.