Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tibet, the Olympics, Jesus, and the color orange

Pic stolen from Caminante.

One strand of my online community is discussing whether or not the US should boycott the Olympics. The torch just passed through San Francisco; I’d have gone to the vigil, if I’d been clear about when and where it was. (Our school e-mail server was down, and I only look at the Chronicle headlines my Google homepage shows me.)

After some thought, I don’t support boycotting. It wouldn’t change Chinese policy; they already know that much of the world doesn’t want them in Tibet. Boycotting the Olympics would only up the anger ante between the US and China. (I’ll refrain from delving into such issues as Iraq and hypocrisy, here. I leave political blogging to my friends who can stomach it; I go too quickly to cynicism, and I hate when it eats at me.)

A boycott would affect the athletes most of all, and I really think their participation should be their own call—not a choice made for them by an imperfect government. We don’t live in the idealistic world that athletic harmony is supposed to point to. If you can hang out with people from different cultures, and befriend those who come from vastly different places, I think that’s a good thing.

If you leave the table, your voice leaves with you. I do believe it’s important to speak out when others’ human rights are trampled. I have freedoms that Tibetan monks, and ordinary people, do not. I can say what I want to, about my own government or China’s, and not be jailed, beaten, or killed for it.

What I know of occupation comes from two places: having shared friends in common with Rachel Corrie,* and studying the Gospels. [Israeli citizens have a right to a safe home. As do all human beings.] Military occupation stems from greed, and legalizes violence. The occupying power dehumanizes the people already living in the land they want to claim. Crucifixion was never done to Roman citizens. Jesus, born in Judaea, was killed by servants of the Roman occupying power. He was crucified for challenging the system.

He could just as easily be a Tibetan. A monk, one of thousands jailed and over a hundred murdered, by Chinese troops. Killed for saying, “Your government is unjust.”

Were you there, when they crucified my Lord?

I wasn’t watching. I am writing this because we—I—need to wake up.

What you can do:

Wear the color orange when the torch comes to your city, and during the Games. This site has many more ideas for action.

Write to your government, asking for pressure to be put on China to stop the violence against Tibetans.

Seek out information you won’t get from the mainstream media. Share what you learn.

*Incidentally, today would have been Rachel's 29th birthday. Craig and Cindy, I think of you often.


FranIAm said...

Oh Kirstin- what a post. Thank you.

This says it all for me in general- "
If you leave the table, your voice leaves with you."

That is so true.

It is why I remain a Roman Catholic, at least for this moment in time. The thought however carries through to all manner of things.

Kirstin said...

Yes, Fran, I was thinking of my own church troubles.

Sometimes I do walk away. Sometimes I recoil. I try not to.

FranIAm said...

I am about to quote you and link to this in a very complicated piece that I am writing.

I am deeply grateful to know you in this blogworld and to walk together - in the ether, in our faith journeys.

Prayers for you always. Thank you Kirstin.