Real suffering is not something Americans should supportBy Letter to the Editor | 02/11/2014 11:00pm
While there is very rarely any occasion to get riled up over a sports page in a student newspaper, the recent Crimson White article by Caroline Gazzara on the Sochi Winter Olympics is notable in its lack of insight. Caroline has decided for her readers that the numerous social, political and economic issues that surround this year’s winter games are of considerably lower importance than the “unifying” effect that the Olympics is intended to have.
To this, I say that Caroline is wrong. The issues that she so insensitively refers to as media “buzzing” are actually incredibly powerful and pressing cultural issues. To diminish them, as she does, is perilous and laden with ethnocentrism.
How difficult could it possibly be to understand that sports, and even their intended unifying effects, are hardly equitable to the monstrous injustices that are taking place around the Russian Olympic games? Whatever “unity” that you believe is being created is certainly not more important than the sufferings of those affected people and animals, be they gay or poor or stray or some “other [issue] Americans disagree with.”
Gazzara is not alone in this belief. An attitude of forgiveness towards the Sochi Olympics, an establishment that has disenfranchised so many groups, has been force-fed to Americans over the past weeks. Most mainstream media, especially that media which caters to the far right, has presented the horrors of these games as dull versions of the truth in comparison to the gleaming hope of the human spirit. And, what is worse, otherwise good Americans have believed them.
The denial of humanity to the Russian LGBTQ+ community, the destruction of innocent animals for aesthetic purposes, the extravagance of the games at the expense of Russia’s poor - this “buzzing” is not something to be glazed over because you like watching ice skating. Real people and real animals are suffering, and that is not something that Americans can or should support. Our founding documents demand that we seek injustices, in all places, and rectify them.
Supporting these games is truly un-American and, more importantly, inhuman. So, to Caroline Gazzara and anyone who thinks like them, I call on you to re-examine your attitudes, to realize that humanity requires you to understand that suffering, in all of its forms, is inexcusable and, most pressingly, to open your heart to compassion. Do not deny the importance of these people and these animals. Represent your country to the best of your ability and love those who are oppressed more than you love luge.
Ben Ray is a senior majoring in English.