Saturday, August 09, 2008

It Is for the People

Last night Alex and I watched the gala opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. I don’t believe that Alex was impressed. But I was. As one of the commenters said, the spectacle outdid any he had ever seen. I agree.

I was impressed by the grand entrance of the athletes—and by the reception they received from the gathered thousands in the stands. I was impressed by the excitement and fortitude of the Chinese cheerleaders who lined the sides of the inner circle of the stadium and welcomed the athletes for hour after hour. I was impressed by the Chinese children singing the Olympic Anthem in Greek. I was impressed by the lighting of the Olympic torch.

I was touched by the story of nine-year-old Lin Hao, survivor of the Sichuan province earthquake. He is a second-grader at the Yuzixi Primary School in Yingxiu Town, which was the epicenter of devastating May 12th 8.0-magnitude earthquake on that killed over 69,000 people. Lin hao, after extracting himself from the rubble of the quake, returned to the scene and rescued two classmates who had, like himself, been buried alive by the debris. I believe that it was most appropriate that Lin Hao walked beside 7-foot-6-inch NBA star Yao Ming, who carried the Chinese flag at the head of the Chinese Olympic delegation:

I consider myself an activist for peace and justice. I can see how the Beijing Olympics provides opportunities for protesting and pressuring the Chinese government regarding its actions (Tibet) and inactions (Darfur).

However, the people of China are not the Chinese government. And the people of China have endured a hell of a lot—from decades of Maoist-style oppression and injustice to the earthquakes this year.

I think it is appropriate that we activists put aside our political agenda for the time of the Olympics and allow the people of China and of the world to celebrate these Olympics with joy and in peace:


  1. Joy, peace and harmony. Basically it is the one thing I really love about the Olympics. How so many different people from so many different countries and come together and put aside their differences and and just compete at what they are great at. If only our own governments could learn something from these athletes we would be so much further ahead.

    Congratulation on number 100,000 Nick. That is truly amazing.

  2. Yep! Stories and photos like this these are on my list of things that can bring tears to my eyes.

  3. Barman: If only our own governments could learn something from these athletes we would be so much further ahead.

    Amen! I agree 100%, Bryan!

    Carol: I admit that I had tears in my eyes as the story of Lin Hao was told on TV. Those tears repeated themselves as I read his story on the Internet this morning.

    Kaahumanu: Amen! (again)

  4. I really like that SONG OF 4 RIVERS. Thank you, Nick, for sharing it.

  5. I couldn't agree more...well put, Nick.

    I thought the sight of that tiny boy and the large basketballer was very poignant, especially, as you say, after what the little one went through.

    It was an amazing Opening Ceremony.

  6. I too looked forward to the olympics. I think the world really does need this kind of thing. Its a big celebration.

    I watched for an hour while I was at the gym and it is truly amazing to see the effort that the athletes put in, and seeing their smiles as they were presented with their medals was fantastic. The look on Steph Rice's face when she broke the world record was... GOLD!

    I did cry during the opening ceremony, when I was thinking about all that it stands for.

  7. I missed it! I am glad it was spectacular though. It ought to have been.

    CJ xx

  8. excellent post that little survivor and the synchronized peoples in the opening did it for me- The other just has to work itself out ..I a terribly sad for the Bachman family however..sandy

  9. I love that picture of the basketball player and the little boy.

  10. China Girl: You are welcome, my friend.

    Mike (in Tucson): Thank you! I though it most appropriate for this post: the Thames, the Yangzi, the Don, and the Mississippi—all roll to the sea where that merge and become one.

    Puss-in-Boots: Thank you, I admit that tears formed in my eyes as I learned the story of Lin Hao, especially as he held the hand and looked up at Yao Ming. That scene has been added to my mental file of great Olympic moments.

  11. Phishez: You are so right! The faces of the athletes dwarf the spectacle of the opening ceremonies, don’t they?

    Crystal Jigsaw : I’m sorry you missed it! I almost did; had not Alex hasseled me to tiredness and I not climbed into bed and turned on the TV, I would have!

    i beati: Thank you! I agree with you: when such unexpected needless death enters into a time of joy, it need fully places a pall over all.

    Silverneurotic: I do, too. That’s a wonderful photo, isn’t it?

  12. I totally missed the Opening Ceremonies... and so sad I did. =(