The Good Doctor has yet again uncovered a gem. Apparently Slovenian minister for sports Milan Zver (literally: Milan Beast) advised against participants in 2008 Summer Olympics in China bringing up the issue of human rights.
Now, to be fair, Zver had a point. He said that athletes shouldn’t be doing the politician’s job. True. But the problem is that politicians seem reluctant to do the job, especially especially if China is an important business partner. And China is an important business partner to …. ummmm …. pretty much the rest of the world. So the politicos either keep quiet or jost go through the motions, hoping that they will not anger the Big Red Dragon, while keeping the local branch of Amnesty International at bay.
Not everyone is happy, though. Reporters without borders demanded that Slovenian government disowns Zver’s statement. But there’s no need for that. Zver already backed off, saying that he didn’t mean to pressure anybody, it just that he thinks that a boycott of the Olympics would do little good..
Which is all fine and dandy, except for two things: that he was pressuring the athletes, or was at least very much out of line – much like PM Janša was on the issue of Portugese referendum on the Lisbon Treaty – and the small fact that Zver’s original statement didn’t mention boycott at all. Which is a typical modus operandi of this administration: first they jump the gun on those who may make life unpleasant for them (like journalists signing a petition against censorhip or athletes advocating human rights) and then they claim that the other party was after something much worse (conspiring against Slovenia or advocating a boycott of the Olympics).
May opinion is that politicians, civil society, NGOs and industry should highlight violations of human right all over the world, including China. I firmly believe that a boycott of the Olympic Games is not a proper political approach in the 21st century and that sports should become the tool of intercultural dialog, co-operation and peace in the world.
(I’ve preserved the lovley typo at the begining of the quote)
And yes, if we neglect the boycott-spin, the intercultural dialog is indeed the way to go about it. Case in point being Orleki, an etno-rock-brass group from the mining town of Zagorje, which have just concluded a 14-day-tour of Beijing, celebrating the Chinese New Year, shaking a whole lot of local booty. And if you ask how come, check the video.
Pretty cool, huh?