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Saturday, February 8, 2014

The 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games: Protesting Putin


Amid stories about faulty toilets, questionable drinking water, athletes bailing out, security issues,  a high jacked plane, and Russian President Vladimir Putin's put down of  the gay community, the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics got underway, anyway. 

We've probably not had such distractions surrounding an Olympic event in a long time.  One can hardly imagine a more unpreparedness for a mega event like the 2014 winter games.

The talk of the facilities and water at the Olympics pale in comparison Putin's "gay propaganda" law, making it illegal to disseminate information about homosexually to minors.

"We are talking about protecting children from the respective information," said Putin. "Leave the children alone."

Whether you agree or disagree with Putin for speaking his mind, his remarks set off a fire storm in the gay community, with many groups forming protests.

Students of Amnesty International at a local college did just that; holding signs that read, 'homophobia kills', and 'light your flame for freedom in Russia'.

Students with Amnesty International hold signs in protest of
Russian president Vladimir Putin's stance on homosexuality.  Photo CD Brown.
Said Ariana Sites, a member of the group in support of free speech in Russia, "I wish he would take everyone's individual human rights for free speech into account when he's making laws that affect his country as a whole." 

"The Olympics is all about uniting people", said Kyle Stankob, "and the environment, the atmosphere in Russia right now is kind of the exact opposite of what the Olympics strives for."

President Obama, in his effort of inclusion, announced in December of last year that the following homosexual individuals would lead the US Delegation of the Olympics' opening and closing ceremonies to include Billie Jean King, Member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom; Brian A. Boitano, Olympic gold medalist, figure skating; Janet A. Napolitano, President of the University of California, and Eric Heiden, five-time Olympic gold medalist, speed skating.

In Olympic-style scoring, the group awarded Putin a perfect score of '10' for "oppression in Russia", the group says.

Amnesty International students give Russian president Vladimir Putin an
Olympic style '10' for the oppression of gay rights in Russia.
"The oppression and discrimination of specific demographic of people is less about human rights and more about being absolutely stupid", explained Lewis Huynh.

"To subjugate human people is to cut off your own foot", he added.   "You are preventing the potential of growth that people can contribute to your country, and it's absolutely stupid and foolish to do so.  It's absolutely suicidal."

More Problems In Russia
It would seem that Russia doesn't just have a gay conflict on its hands, add racism to the list of #SochiProblems.

Millions read the tweet from Russia's politician and figure skater, Irina Rodnina, who imposed a banana in a photo that featured US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Despite her actions, she was able to light the torch at the Olympics' opening last evening.

"Irina Rodnina is one of the most respected Olympic athletes in the world and I want to stress the Olympics is not about politics", said Sochi 2014 chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko in explaining to include Rodnina after her racially charged tweet. 

"Any political talks or discussions are not appropriate for the Olympic Games." 

Interesting comments.

So, you can be a racist, you just can't talk politics at the Olympics - so it would seem.

The discriminatory, problem plagued, Sochi Olympics in Russia continue until February 28th.

How many problems can it present before then?  Ninety-nine (99), perhaps?

Related
Sochi 2014 Olympics video & photos.

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