Sunday, 6 April 2008

Tibet and Berlin 1936

Two years before Hitler came to power in 1933,
the 1936 Olympics had been awarded to Germany.

Intimations of what the Nazi regime was and
would be capable of led some to call for a boycott.

Not many listened.

But that Spain of 1936...

The dreams of freedom and a better world.

The Republican government decided not to send
any participants to Berlin. Instead, with the government
of Catalonia and the City of Barcelona, they organized
an alternative in protest:

The People's Olympic Games.

With 6000 registered athletes from 23 nations the games
were due to start with an inauguration ceremony on the 19th

But with the fascist uprising on the night of 18th to 19th
Spain was plunged into 3 years of civil war. The popular
Olympics, evidently, did not take place.

Some of the foreign athletes immediately enlisted in the
militias on behalf of the Republic forming the basis of what
would later be the International Brigades.

Some died.

I don't like competitive sports and do not believe the
Olympics significantly further peace and understanding
between Nations. But, oh, I would have liked to have seen
Hitler, Master of the Master Race, watching Jesse Owens,
black and beautiful, winning 4 gold medals that summer
in Berlin.

Today, on the news, I watched the Olympic torch on its
journey through London, surrounded by heavy police
protection and jeered by crowds protesting about Tibet.

I wonder who will boycott Beijing.

No comments: