Tag Archives: events

The Olympics – political games?

In ancient Greece, when the Olympic Games were running, weapons were silenced. Wars were put on hold. This is not something that we can observe anymore. The political implications of the Olympics are becoming ever more complex, but they do not appear to approximate the world in a more peaceful condition. In Rio, we encounter a ‘refugee team’ for the first time. A significant number of Russian athletes have been excluded due to notorious and state-induced doping. All Russian athletes have been excluded from the Paralympics. But Russia, though probably among the worst, are not the only dopers.

In previous years, some countries abstained from participating in Olympics organized by other states, due to political misbehavior or just inconvenience (Taiwan was excluded from the Montreal Games in 1976; the USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 led to a Western boycott of the Moscow Games in 1980, while the Eastern Bloc retaliated with a boycott of the Los Angeles Games in 1984). The Berlin Games in 1936 were not boycotted. There were protests against the Beijing 2008 and Sochi 2014 Games, due to human rights issues, but no boycotts. The Olympics have also attracted terrorist attacks (a Palestinian commando killed Israeli athletes in 1972 in Munich) and during the Games in Mexico (1968), black power symbols were put on display.

So what is the role of the Olympics now? Should we stick to the notion that the Olympics are a politics-free zone? Or should we accept the unavoidable, and let politics impact the Games?

– Prof. Klaus Segbers

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Should Western countries (or China) intervene to stop the advance of killers and torturers in Iraq?

We are watching the establishment of the first caliphate in recent times: ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). This is possibly the most distant political entity in comparison with liberal and secular societies.

The local people who didn’t or couldn’t flee are subject to harsh rituals of a strict Sharia. As a footnote, the rise of ISIS demonstrates the failure of the US led invasion of Iraq after 2001, as well the unapt policies of the Iraqi prime minster Maliki. Also, it amply demonstrates the second failed state in the same region, next to Syria. Given the volatile situation in the whole area – Afganistan, Pakistan, possibly Saudi Arabia – this urgent question arises.

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