Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Symbolism of the Olympic Flame

This is what we've come to?
I love my neighbors to the north in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Their city is a jewel; and British Columbians epitomize all that is good with Canadians, generally.  They're open-minded and upbeat; they're well-educated, tolerant.  I just love them.

But it sure does seem that, putting aside all the unfortunate events that are outside their control, in their zeal to be good hosts to the world at this year's Winter Olympic games, they have made some poor decisions.

It is not their fault that luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili (from Georgia (the nation)) was killed during a trial run at the Whistler Sliding Center before the games had even begun.  Without intending to diminish the tragedy, luge is a dangerous sport and things like that do happen.

Nor can the Canadians be blamed for the warm weather that has hindered the Games thus far.  Winters in the Pacific Northwest are generally warmer (and wetter) than one sees at points further east on the North American continent.  That's a function of the mighty Pacific and that eastward flowing jet stream.  Nothing to be done about that.

But it seems to me that my Canadian brothers have gone a tad bit overboard on the security side of the whole Olympic Games business.  Although today they are working to rectify the situation, up to now, the Canadians had placed a chain-link perimeter around the Olympic Flame where it burns on the Vancouver waterfront.

The Olympic Flame has been the target of protests in the past, certainly.  And I can understand the desire to avoid embarrassing, ugly incidents that might mar the overall good will of the Olympic Games.  But, if the Olympic Flame is a symbol of the fraternity of mankind, of the unification of humanity in peace and harmony, could there be a more contradictory image to project than the sight of tourists snapping photos of the Flame burning in the distance, beyond reach, from behind ugly barriers?

Anyway, I'm glad they're fixing it.

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