Orlek And The Beast

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? :mrgreen:

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

20 thoughts on “Orlek And The Beast”

  1. Beastie is merely following the lead of his UK counterpart, P. Two weeks ago, that country was in uproar over their olympic committee president (of Labour signature, of course) warning the athletes not to bring up the human rights issue. The ‘or else’ was firmly put between the lines. Guess what happened? Exactly the same as what Zver did, up to and including the press statement, which is so close to the one the UK olympic committee released, it could have been its twin brother. And of course, there was no talk about pressure there either… Riiiiight.

  2. And I thought history was just the same old mistakes repeated over and over again.

    BTW Mr. P I’d lo

  3. Let’s try that again (for some reason it posted itself, honest!)

    And I thought history was just the same old mistakes repeated over and over again.

    BTW Mr. P I’d love to hear an MP3 of your choice. You know the address.

  4. Adriaan, I’ve been listening to Mr. P’s music selection all day long in-between meetings (just found it’s easier for me to focus on my job if the music blocks out other noises and voices from the surroundings) and was reminded once more of the great music at Radio Kaos…. since it’s internet radio, maybe we can both enjoy it at http://www.radiokaos.info/ 🙂

    PS the girls are great as always, they’ve now progressed to the Queen and Mohammed.

    As for Mr. Beast up there… for a political scientist, actually with a PhD in POLITICAL SCIENCE AND JOURNALISM, to think that Olympics are not a place for politics is… disgraceful.

    And btw.. keeping quiet on the issue of human rights because of instructions by a high-ranking politician IS political… action, ommission… ring a bell?

    Qui tacet, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit, consentire videtur!

  5. OFF TOPIC: Pengovsky, dr. filomena, anyone: what about the rumours Drle has died? Any grapevine whispering to you, too? (It’s quite shitty to read all those insinuations in the SLO-blogosphere and hope it’s not true…)

  6. alcessa: I’ve heard those – they’ve been circulating since Saturday. But apparently the roumours of his demise have been grearly exaggarated.

  7. Dr. Fil. I will certainly take you up on the suggestion when time allows.

    On an interesting point, it should be remembered that the original Olympic games in Greece, which Pierre de Coubertin revived, were actually supposed to be entirely above national (or rather Greek city state) arguments. Indeed I believe wars were halted for the duration of the games.

    I look forward to being corrected!

    I’m not sure what light this throws on the current incidents, but there you go.

  8. @Adriaan: The Greek connection was actually what I was getting at 🙂 Any political scientist… actually, any at-least-high-school-educated individual should know that.

    What better time to speak of human rights than at an event celebrating the fundamental human desire for PEACE that transcends time and space.

  9. Most high level athletes these days are, if not contractually obligated to stay away from politics (or anything in the least bit controversial), strongly encouraged by their major sponsors to keep quiet about anything not related to sport. That’s why you don’t hear too many athletes with six and seven figure salaries openly discussing child labor etc. practiced by Nike, adidas, Reebok et al.

    BTW, Video still not working for me… 🙁

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