The Olympics have earned its share of power plays ever since the Superpowers made it a Cold War arena. We have seen the Americans and its allies boycott Moscow 1980, the Palestinians massacre Israeli athletes in Munich 1972, the Russians boycott L.A. 1984. The end of the Cold War saw almost all of the Olympic movement participate. Now with Beijing 2008, there is talk of world leaders boycotting the opening ceremony but the Olympic teams will compete.
There are protests over China's appalling human rights record in Tibet and elsewhere. Since China is the new superpower to rival the US, we are not surprised at the latest protest actions.
Olympic boycotts and unfurling separatist flags (banned by the IOC) at the opening rites are now passe. The protests have moved to newer ground with new techniques. One technique is to trip the torch bearer and if that doesn't work have a water pistol or a fire extinguisher and douse the Olympic flame.
Well that is really assasinating the flame!
Irony of ironies. That solar generated fire is supposed to be the symbol of unity and is the ultimate non-political statement. After all who on earth can stick politics at the Sun?!? But nonetheless even with the undoubtly non-political "maidens" at Olympia lighting the fire with a solar lighter, the flame has now a political colour.
I heap the blame on the People's Republic of Capitalism in Beijing.
After all they publicly showed the whole planet (on BBC and CNN) what was the best thing to do when those Falungong faithful want to be the Olympic flame on Tiananmen Square. The Red Guards used Made-in-China fire extinguishers. At that time it was a strong political statement. The anti-Beijing-Tibetan-anti-capitalists and what-have-you just copied the methods of the People's Republic of Capitalism.
Expect more of these assasination attempts as the torch goes on its way to China. And as any counter-terrorist expert knows, a determined assassin gets his target!
Once the image of the Olympic torch bearer tripping or the flame being snuffed out was fodder for a zillion parodies and satires. Now it isn't funny anymore.