Paris’ Olympic torch relay descended into chaos Monday, with protesters scaling the Eiffel Tower, grabbing for the flame and forcing security officials to repeatedly snuff out the torch and transport it by bus past demonstrators yelling “Free Tibet!”

I was in Paris for 2 full, riot-less months last year, and I must say I found the peaceful atmosphere somewhat disappointing. The French are masters both of philosophy and protest, and they proved that today by going for gold in havoc-wreaking. What I wouldn’t have given to witness the chaotic torch run in person.

Said one protestor: “It is inadmissible that the games are taking place in the world’s biggest prison.”

As befits a philosophical and action-heavy nation, France is musing openly about boycotting the Beijing Olympics. This, of course, elicits horrified gasps from IOC delegates worldwide, who misguidedly claim the Olympics are about sport, not politics. (As students, these dumb jocks were probably too busy with ball practice to attend civics or history classes.)

I like the ironic image of the Chinese flame being snuffed out by protestors. In China, it’s more often the protestors being snuffed out in flames. Ironic, too, is the country’s longing to host the all-eyes-on-me spectacle resulting in the world putting China’s practices under the microscope. For the Chinese, it’s be careful what you wish for. For the rest of the world, it’s a chance to move beyond the jingoistic hype and make the Olympics relevant.

This entry was posted in Activism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.