Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The IOC is pathetic

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has always been cowardly, but how pathetic they are is now being laid bare. They’re not just moral cowards, not just stupid, they also plan to be complicit in oppressing LGBT people.

The official Russian news agency has confirmed that Russia’s anti-gay law WILL be enforced at the Sochi Olympics, despite the IOC desperately and weakly accepting some lame claims to the contrary. This means that athletes, officials and spectators face arrest, fines and deportation if they even simply acknowledge that gay people exist.

Some athletes, who have the moral courage the IOC obviously lacks, have bravely said they will defy the Russian law. New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup said he would wear a rainbow pin to defy the Russian law. US figure skater Johnny Weir, however, doesn’t plan on doing anything to challenge the law or to protest, but nevertheless has declared he’s ready to be arrested. Weir said he thinks if he’s arrested, it would be because he is who he is (his flashy costumes could even be the excuse the Russians use).

However, the IOC has confirmed that they WILL punish any athlete who dares to protest the Russian anti-gay law, because IOC rules prohibit “propaganda”—which is ironic, considering that’s the same word used by Russia to operationalise their oppression of LGBT people. So, those who say that LGBT athletes and those who support human rights should protest at the games are, in fact, endorsing exposing athletes to another layer of oppression: Any athlete who violates this IOC rule faces “disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned”, and without any right of appeal.

So, suppose an athlete wins a gold medal. He or she stands on the platform at the medal ceremony holding a rainbow flag. They could be disqualified and stripped of their medal. They’d then be marched out of the Olympic Village to meet the waiting Russian police van to take them away for persecution—oops, I meant to type prosecution.

This must not stand. There’s still time to fix this by moving the Winter Olympics from Russia. Before long, the only other option will be cancellation. But, of course, the pathetic cowards at the IOC will do neither. Just as they were all too happy to give Nazi Germany their endorsement in 1936, now they’re all too happy to give the Russian neo-fascist government their endorsement, too.

Like I said, the IOC is pathetic—but so, too, is the world if it lets this go unanswered.

The graphic at the top of this post is from the Facebook Page of Memeographs, which intends its graphics to be shared.

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