Monday, August 11, 2008

Why I Am Not Watching The Olympics by Bryan Kemper

Yesterday the commentary below landed in my inbox as part of a newsletter to which I subscribe. Because it so clearly articulated how I personally feel, I am re-posting it with permission from the author....

Why I Am Not Watching The Olympics

I want to first make this very clear: I am not calling for a boycott or protest. I am not telling you that you are wrong if you decide to watch the Olympics. I simply want to express why I cannot sit down and enjoy the Olympics this year.

While many countries allow abortion, China takes it a step further with forced abortion. China has a one child policy and forces women who get pregnant again to have abortions. It really amazes me that the "so called" pro-choice movement does not speak up against this. Wouldn't a forced abortion be going against the idea of choice?

China is also a staunch supporter of Sudan's government who are committing mass genocide in Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of people have been slaughtered in Darfur and millions have been displaced. Sudan's government is killing, raping and torturing black Africans in Darfur and China is helping them by supplying weapons.

With issues like forced abortion, the support of Sudan's government, the atrocities in Tibet and so much more it saddens me to see China looked at in such a great light during the Olympics. I know that there are many other countries including our own who are guilty of human rights violations. I know that China is not the only country to disregard human life, but they are one of the worst.

I tried to sit down, give the Olympics a chance and watch the opening ceremonies. NBC showed a few minutes of footage about why people are angry about the Olympics being in China before they went into the celebration of the opening ceremonies. As I sat there my heart saddened as I thought about what was more important for me. I could not help but think about all the people who were displaced in Beijing for Olympic facilities to be built. I thought about the billions of dollars spent for things like swimming pools and race tracks as so many people in china are starving and suffering. I thought about every second child conceived in China and the pain his or her mother went through as they were forced to kill their child simply for not being the first born.

As much as I like watching the Olympics, was this worth it? Is seeing someone jump higher that someone else more important than taking a stand? For me it's not worth it. I have decided that I will not watch the Olympics this year. I know my not watching them will not change what is going on right now. I made this decision as a matter of principle for myself and to stand in solidarity with those who are suffering. I have decided to take some of the time I would spend watching the Olympics and use that to research more ways I can be a voice for those who have none.

I want to reemphasize that I'm not telling you not to watch the Olympics or asking you to boycott them. I am simply asking you to think about some of these issues and look into how you might be a voice also.

For Christ I stand,

Bryan Kemper


Chucka Stone Designs said...

Heavy stuff for sure but I more than applaud you for making your choice and standing by it. I feel very out of touch with all of the politics surrounding the Olympics this time and what is really going on in China. I tend to not watch the news because there is so much badness out there and it saddens me to think of anything quite this inhumane. Thanks for the eye opener though.

On an entirely different 2 topics - 1. thanks so much for checking out all TOM blogs, glad you're enjoying them & possibly found something fun to buy yourself!
2. My aunt's friend who is suffering from cancer is making a remarkable recovery! How is your friend doing?

Ginger said...

there's also the fact that the people of china have virtually no choice in how their lives are lived. they are told what to do for a living, where to vacation and when and are only allowed to worship at churches/temples that are government approved.

after i posted a blog about the unhumane practices in tibet by the chinese government i was emailed by a nice chinese citizen who was very concerned about my opinion of the goings on in tibet. apparently, they're told that the buddhist monks in tibet are violent murderers who need to be controlled for everyone's safety....and they believe it because they only get the news that their government gives them. the whole thing is because the chinese government doesn't want anyone following the dalai lama....he's not government approved. can you imagine being told you can't follow the teachings of the pope because the american government doesn't approve?

it's all very disturbing...the whole thing. i appreciate this post and your strength in your faith.

sunnyday said...

I appreciate this post too. Though I am a staunch defender of life and do whatever I can to help spread the innate value and dignity of human life, Bryan Kemper's words were enlightening as they gave me another perspective of the whole matter.I'll still watch the closing ceremonies of the Olympics tonight with my mother as she and I have very little opportunity to bond--and she is very enthusiastic about the Olympic Games =). I'll think of some way to take a stand about the China policy thing and do my part as well.

artjewl said...

Jenn, I can relate to avoiding the news because of the negativity. I tend to do the same. But then, at the same time, I try to stay abreast of current events. I guess what I've found works for me is to get my news online -- that lets me pick and choose my downers, with a side of odd news. ;) As for our friend fighting cancer, he's doing well. If you didn't know he had it, you wouldn't know. He's still going through chemo, but he's also still carrying on with "business as usual."

Ginger, ditto to all that, and that is another reason I haven't watched the Olympics. But let's not forget that Tibetan monks aren't the only ones enduring cruelety for the sake of their faith: the Christians there don't have it easy either. For example, "For printing Christian literature, Pastor Cai Zhuohua was tortured and imprisoned 'in a cold and cramped cell with 27 other prisoners and forced to make soccer balls for 10-12 hours a day for the Olympic Games.'" ("China and a Watching World," by Chuck Colson) Yeah, China's government doesn't discriminate in its injustice. I'm amazed that a Chinese citizen wrote you about that -- I would have expected that sort of content would have been blocked from them.

sunny, welcome! I am so glad to have shared a new perspective on this issue with you. I understand though where you're coming from. I mean, I personally still followed the games & wanted to watch, and I bet that if I had been visiting my grandma especially I would have seen every minute of the gymnastics competitions. The games truly bring people together globally -- it's a common experience for us across the continents. And like Bryan said, I know it won't make a difference to China that I didn't watch. But to me, it was like fasting during Lent. By abstaining from the Olympics, it made me think about the issues at hand, and pray on finding a means to make a difference. (Mind you, I don't think I've been quiet long enough to hear an answer, but I'm trying...)