Monday, 22 August 2016

A Pause In The National Chest Thumping, until 2020.

      Now that the 2016 Olympics are over, what now? We have come to the end of the frenzied flag waving, the thumping of the national chest, time now to go back to your crap job and lousy wages, back to trying to scrape by on benefit, but now you are supposed to do that with a feel good factor. After all, look at all those medals, but also look at the billions of dollars that rolled into the coffers of the corporate institutions involved, and think of the billions of dollars of Brazilian tax payers money that made it all possible. Brazil, a country with stark differences, the usual capitalist opulence, and the obligatory capitalist deprivation. Millions living in slums and a crumbling infrastructure, being fed the syrup of illusion that they should be proud to have hosted this massive money making juggernaut at their expense. Think, who gained most from this extravaganza of nationalism, what will your quality of life be like next year, how much benefit from those medals will come your way.
       The Olympic games are here again and while it’s sold to us a demonstration of peace and solidarity and the finest humans have to offer, it is often anything but that. In fact, in many ways, it is a reflection of the very worst of society under capitalism.
        The modern Olympics were established with the highest ideals, and a desire to foster peace. Instead they have become little more than a display of nationalistic pride and flag waving by nations who co-opt the efforts of the athletes to further their own schemes. From the very first games this has been demonstrated when the 1896 games in Athens led to a surge in Greek nationalism, and an eventual war with Turkey in 1897.
       The rich countries of the West also get the chance to reinforce their perceived superiority over the rest as the Games are heavily weighted in their favour. From the very beginning the Games were set up by European elites and built on western sports. Many non-western countries have long histories of indigenous sports and games that were ignored and continue to be. In response to this, Brazil saw the hosting of the first World Indigenous Games in 2015 where over 2,000 participating indigenous athletes from 30 countries, including 43 Māori athletes, competed in a variety of sporting events. These ranged from a few Western-style competitions (football, athletics) to many indigenous traditional games, such as xikunahity, a football-style game in which the ball is controlled only with the head.-----
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