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Author Topic: Moving the Winter Olympics...  (Read 14117 times)

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Offline CaelaTopic starter

Moving the Winter Olympics...
« on: August 08, 2013, 06:50:51 PM »
http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/08/07/george-takei-move-the-2014-winter-olympics-out-of-russia/

The link is an interview with George Takei calling for the IOC to move he 2014 Winter Olympics out of Russia and to a more LGBT friendly country. THe country being suggested in the interview is Canada because they are more open and accepting and because, having hosted a Winter Games recently, they have the facilities available to do so again.

With Russia's new anti-gay laws, and the fact that they have said that those laws will be enforced on Olympic athletes and spectators, what do you think is the right way to handle the 2014 Winter Olympics? Move them? Boycott them? Something else?

Information on the bill: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57588738/russian-anti-gay-bill-passes-protesters-detained/
The article was written before the bill was passed (which it has been) but was one of the easiest to find that had information about the bill itself and not just someone else's reaction to it.

Offline Lilias

Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2013, 06:55:09 PM »
They didn't move the 2008 Olympics out of China, despite the world groaning over human rights (and forgery of credentials to favour their own athletes). This doesn't stand a chance.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2013, 06:57:44 PM »
Yeah.  Brazil's human rights record is dodgy and the Summer ones are still going there. 

Offline CaelaTopic starter

Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2013, 06:59:41 PM »
They didn't move the 2008 Olympics out of China, despite the world groaning over human rights (and forgery of credentials to favour their own athletes). This doesn't stand a chance.

You are most likely right. Most likely nothing will happen at all. There might be a few protests at best...but what I'm really wondering is what people think should happen. If the IOC were to grow some sort of balls and actually DO something, what would people like to see them do?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 07:05:20 PM »
You are most likely right. Most likely nothing will happen at all. There might be a few protests at best...but what I'm really wondering is what people think should happen. If the IOC were to grow some sort of balls and actually DO something, what would people like to see them do?

Nothing whatsoever.

The Olympics shouldn't be motivated by politics.  The IOC shouldn't be in a position to say "we approve of country X but not of country Y".  That's not what the Olympics are about, they're about sport.  There are many ways of bringing pressure to bear on a country  - the UN, internal factors, charities, etc - but the IOC isn't one of them.  Only when it affects the sport itself - such as Apartheid era South Africa - should the IOC step in.

Yanno, IMHO.

Offline Lilias

Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 07:05:49 PM »
I may be in the minority, but I'd really don't want to see sports events used as political springboards.

No country is absolutely pristine, and I feel it is wrong to run the equivalent of a criminal record check on candidates before letting them organise sports events. The ancient Olympics were a time for city-states who were at each other's throats to call a truce and collaborate. We could do well to remember and do the same today.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2013, 07:07:46 PM »
I read an article that suggested that the best thing to do is not to boycott, but to keep talking about the laws.  Continue to make it a big deal, instead of just settling back into discontented grumbling.

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2013, 07:11:06 PM »
You are most likely right. Most likely nothing will happen at all. There might be a few protests at best...but what I'm really wondering is what people think should happen. If the IOC were to grow some sort of balls and actually DO something, what would people like to see them do?

Should Russia enforce this law no medals should be awarded to the three finalists in any event where athletes are disqualified or eliminated.  The title Olympic Champion should also be withheld.  In the spirit of Olympic fellowship the host country should rescind the law or the athletes should refuse the medals.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2013, 07:20:08 PM »
Having a dodgy human rights record is one thing. Actively legislating against the existence of a class of people -- which effectively is what the Russian law does -- is taking it to a whole other level. That's the kind of thing that actively makes a mockery of the values the IOC is supposedly dedicated to. They didn't have the stones to do anything about that with Berlin in 1936, and there's a good case to be made for a different outcome here. It's an expensive proposition, but just letting inertia carry them into that rock might be even worse for the "Olympic movement." (Like, what happens if Russia actually does try to arrest LGBT athletes, for example? How much of a nightmare would the Munich Olympics have been if the terrorist incident there had been carried out by the host government as a matter of policy?)

Offline Kythia

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2013, 08:28:56 PM »
Well, from the link in the OP - which is all I know about it, so my information may well be incomplete - the bill only criminalises spreading "homosexual propaganda".  It doesn't criminalise homosexuality itself.  Sure, it remains to be seen how widely that net is drawn (I can imagine a situation where an LGB athlete garners Usain Bolt levels of media attention and that being viewed as propaganda, for example).

But the host country has always had the right to arrest athletes who break domestic laws, it's happened before.  And, assuming the net isn't cast that wide, then the athletes frankly shouldn't be doing anything that crosses the law anyway.  Something equivalent to the famous Black Power salute in Mexico City would be "homosexual propaganda", one would imagine, but IOC rules already forbid that.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2013, 08:34:57 PM »
As passed, it also bans gay PDAs, up to and including hand-holding. However, they appear to have flipped on the Olympics - I'm seeing articles dated almost a week ago stating that they will not enforce it at the Games.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2013, 08:52:30 PM »
It doesn't criminalise homosexuality itself.

Criminalizing the right to act LGBT in any way in public is effectively criminalizing the right to be LGBT in public. The law is vague enough to criminalize virtually anything (and Russia is not backing down about enforcement in the least, despite the IOC's rather craven attempts to put about rumours to the contrary). And I would expect there's a strong case to be made under international law that athletes don't have a responsibility to accede to laws that fly directly in the face of international conventions on human rights, which the Russian law plainly does.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2013, 09:10:29 PM »
Criminalizing the right to act LGBT in any way in public is effectively criminalizing the right to be LGBT in public.

Yes, I hadn't realised it banned PDAs and similar until Ephiral mentioned.  Most sources seem to be focusing more on the propaganda bit, which is strange.

 
Quote
The law is vague enough to criminalize virtually anything (and Russia is not backing down about enforcement in the least, despite the IOC's rather craven attempts to put about rumours to the contrary). And I would expect there's a strong case to be made under international law that athletes don't have a responsibility to accede to laws that fly directly in the face of international conventions on human rights, which the Russian law plainly does.

All a bit confusing - same source a few days later seems to imply that it won't be enforced.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2013, 09:13:08 PM »
(and Russia is not backing down about enforcement in the least, despite the IOC's rather craven attempts to put about rumours to the contrary).

What appears to be a significantly higher-ranking official reversed that the very next day. Mutko has been overruled on this one. (Not that I think Russia should get much, if any, credit for this - it's plain-as-day realpolitik protection of the expected income the Olympics will bring.)

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2013, 09:19:56 PM »
Huh. I wonder if the Duma Committee is in fact higher-ranking than the Minister. I have no idea.

I can think of a couple of things that might be going on here: one, the regime is using finger-puppets to test international tolerance for this measure; two, the regime has already decided on what it's going to do but is using fog-of-bullshit contradictory statements from different organs to cloud the issue. (The latter was a common tactic of the Cheney Bush Administration, this feels a lot similar.)

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2013, 09:28:55 PM »
Huh. I wonder if the Duma Committee is in fact higher-ranking than the Minister. I have no idea.

I can think of a couple of things that might be going on here: one, the regime is using finger-puppets to test international tolerance for this measure; two, the regime has already decided on what it's going to do but is using fog-of-bullshit contradictory statements from different organs to cloud the issue. (The latter was a common tactic of the Cheney Bush Administration, this feels a lot similar.)
Okay, on further examination, it's a more impressive but not higher position - the Chairman of the Duma maps roughly to Speaker of the House. So... yeah, testing the waters and/or fog-of-bullshit likely.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2013, 01:24:39 AM »
It wasn't such a great idea to have Sochi as a host city - the area is subtropical and mean daytime temperature in March is 9.6 įC, just under 50 F. Why didn't they make, let's say Tomsk the candidate city?  ::)

Okay, they're planning to run most of the actual outdoor sports events up in the Caucasus, but the setup of the bid still looks a bit strained and prone to the risk of not getting sufficient snow and cold - or earthquakes. And if they'd hosted it in central Siberia one could have had cross-country and ski jumping events in the Altai range - cooler, snowier and with a long legacy in winter sports and winter tourism. And much less prone to earthquakes.

Well, from the link in the OP - which is all I know about it, so my information may well be incomplete - the bill only criminalises spreading "homosexual propaganda".  It doesn't criminalise homosexuality itself.  Sure, it remains to be seen how widely that net is drawn (I can imagine a situation where an LGB athlete garners Usain Bolt levels of media attention and that being viewed as propaganda, for example).

*nods* We'll get to see how far the Russian police and authorities are going to enforce this at and around the games.

What counts as a clearly public display of affection (if that's how it's phrased in the law) is always going to depend on the local culture, and Russians are more unabashedly physical and showy in what counts as normal gesture repertory than people in many other parts of the world: bear hugs, rambling, loud and raucous gabbing sessions in semi-public where everyone seems to be talking into each other's mouths, over-the-top threats or oaths that are not meant to be taken literally and so on.

I agree it would be amazing if we'd get a situation kind of analogous to Jesse Owens in Berlin, where a gay or lesbian athlete makes a big smash - though Russian tv would not be reporting his/her orientation.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 02:58:27 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Moraline

Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2013, 02:31:51 PM »
A threat against foreign athletes by the host countries government should be immediate grounds for considering a move/cancellation of the Olympics

 - If anyone who's recently held it are capable of getting ready for it in such a short time, IOC should have a quick bid process - Or a cancellation all together for the sake of protecting all of the people who will be attending.

I guess it just sickens me to see a government that would even consider it okay to threaten foreign athletes and visitors en masse. This is not the same as human rights violations against their own people.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 02:34:19 PM by Moraline »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2013, 02:41:20 PM »
Moraline has it exactly right.

EDIT: Buzzfeed bonus article: anti-gay legislation around the world. The cruelty of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi-inspired laws are well known, as are some others, but there are a number of these that came as a surprise to me.

(Oh, fun fact: the Ugandan laws, among the most infamous, were cooked up and promoted by the American right-wing evangelical outfit called "the Family", the same organization that hosts the National Prayer Breakfast in the States. The full story of its connection to laws in other countries has not yet, I'm pretty sure, been told. I note that the Dominican law potentially punishes homosexual activity with "ex-gay therapy," which is suspiciously redolent of that kind of connection.)
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 03:04:45 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Kythia

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2013, 06:43:32 PM »
Sorry, I'm confused.  What threat is this?

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2013, 06:50:49 PM »
Sorry, I'm confused.  What threat is this?

Same threat we were talking about earlier: the Russian government's threat to enforce its anti-gay law against international athletes.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2013, 06:59:29 PM »
Ah, right.  Sorry the language made it sound like an explicit "threat" had been made by Russia.

In that case I couldn't disagree more.  Russia is saying "we will enforce local laws" (or possibly they're not.  Who knows?).  That's not a threat.  There is an argument for moving the games because of the nature of those laws, sure, but saying this is a "threat" against foreign athletes is extreme.  London could well have said "if foreign athletes murder someone they will be arrested" - exactly the same principle. 

Object to the nature of Russian law, sure, that's a different matter.  But making a blanket statement that "any nation that says it will uphold its local laws should be grounds for a move/cancellation by the IOC" is farcical.  What you object to is the nature of the law, not the fact that Russia has (possibly, who knows?) said they will enforce it.  This isn't a "threat" against foreign athletes and visitors, its a reasonable statement that only appears unreasonable because of nature of the law.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2013, 07:26:51 PM »
Kythia, I guess it was implicit in Moraline's argument that this kind of rejection would apply only if the law in question was seriously objectionable and intrusive from let's say a human-rights horizon - and if its enforcement risked intruding on the athletes or other people who joined up professionally for the games. For a similar reason (and others), I think it was ill-advised by FIFA to give Qatar the 2022 football world cup when they have the kind of intrusive laws and police practices they have.

Of course, the relationship between actual law and human or civil rights can be a knotty matter, and some people will take the view that codes of law can't be judged from any 'higher' point of view - ethics, common sense, human rights or whatever. But I don't think there's been a blanket argument that "if country X wants to enforce a law I don't like, then the other nations of the world and the IOC should stop them from hosting the Olympics".

I've never heard anyone saying the U.S. couldn't bid for the Olympics as long as it still has the capital punishment, though many people see this as an offence against basic human rights. The reason would be that the risks of anyone linked to a U.S. games getting embroiled, during those games, in something that could ultimately land them on death row is near zero.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 07:37:29 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #23 on: August 09, 2013, 07:30:41 PM »
And since the law does cover public displays of affection, this means that any LGBT athlete or spectator who gets caught up in the moment and hugs or kisses their partner has just violated the law and is subject to arrest.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Moving the Winter Olympics...
« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2013, 08:02:21 PM »
Of course, the relationship between actual law and human or civil rights can be a knotty matter, and some people will take the view that codes of law can't be judged from any 'higher' point of view - ethics, common sense, human rights or whatever. But I don't think there's been a blanket argument that "if country X wants to enforce a law I don't like, then the other nations of the world and the IOC should stop them from hosting the Olympics".

Forgive me, but that seems to be the entire argument of this thread?  That Russia is enforcing a law many people disagree with and hence the IOC should step in.