Everyone loves freebies. You know, a free hat
or t-shirt to remember an event by. Even Royalty like to be in
on them. The Olympic Family are royalty. Well at least that’s
what they like to think of themselves as, not mere mortals who
must adhere to the strictures of even mundane things like “the
truth” or “moral obligation”. No, this group, who control the
multibillion-dollar circus we lovingly call “The Olympics”, are
not like us. They inhabit a universe to which many aspire but
must remain satisfied just observing.
Take for instance the 2000 Sydney games. You
remember them. “Our” Cathy running in and the Big Barby groaning
its way up the ramp while she stood there all wet and dripping.
Boy, did we show them how it was done. Well, at least until
Athens. But back to Sydney.
You may recall the little ‘hiccup’ Kevan
Gosper caused when he pulled rank and got the Greek-Australian
girl, Yianna Souleles, kicked off the Olympic relay. He had
obviously promised his little girl, Sophie, that she would be
the first Australian to hold the torch when it touched down here
and as a dad needed to fulfil the promise. At the time another
member of the “Olympic Family” jumped to Gosper’s defence and
said the whole thing was a storm in a tea cup and that the
“Olympic Family” were all happy.
Of course, as an International Olympic
Committee Vice President and the then Vice President of the
Sydney games, none of us should jump to any conclusions here.
“Our” Kevan is a highly distinguished man. Fifty years ago he
was part of a team that won a race. He has also been an oil man
and a Director of a number of high profile companies including
Richard Pratt’s Visy, Packer’s Crown and brewer Lion Nathan. He
is currently in his 20th year as Chairperson of the
Olympic Press Commission and is the Deputy Chair of the Bejing
While Kevan is probably a really nice man who
loves his family and would rather see his daughter hold up a
flaming stick than allow mere agreements and protocols to get in
the way, I don’t think he is man I could trust. I mean, he has
come out all warm and gooey over the Bejing internet scam and
taken the blame for it all. I think he’s just a good PR front
man who was feeling a little ignored by the media and wanted the
opportunity to get his mug on camera.
Nonetheless, here’s the facts as we know
them. China is a totalitarian state. The ruling class there
don’t like anything causing them inconvenience. They forced poor
old Rupert to drop the BBC from his satellite service and bent
the arm of Google and Yahoo till they gave in and set up
internet filters to keep out anything the rulers took umbrage
at. However, the rulers of the Olympic Family said they had made
sure international journalists would have uncensored internet
access for the Games period. Guaranteed! The Chinese organizers
said they would cooperate with the IOC and ensure just that.
Well, as we know, someone lied.
“Our” Kevan then admits he is embarrassed at
the backroom deal done by someone higher up in the Family
agreeing that internet censorship did not need to be lifted.
Someone higher? He’s a VP. Surely the only one higher would be
the President, Jacques Rogge? Well, good old Jacques came out
and said no deals had been done and it would all be OK. But is
it? Not really. Here’s what “our” Kevan had to say on the 7:30
Early in an interview with “our” Kerry
O’Brian, “our” Kevan said that there had been no deal on
“increased censorship”. Do we imply from this that, according to
him, a little bit of censorship is OK? Using pornography and
subversive websites as examples, “our” Kevan told “our” Kerry
that all countries have some degree of censorship and that this
“grey” area was where things tipped over. According to Kevan
“what we have now is very reasonable in terms of what the
broadcasters and the press need to report on the Games.” He then
slipped up big time.
In the next sentence he let it slip that all
along the IOC and its rulers allowed China to impose as much
restriction on internet access as it could. Note his words.
“Overall I believe you will find the reporting for an audience
of 4.1 or 4.2 billion people will be absolutely consistently,
almost consistent, I've changed my word, but certainly
satisfactory to the viewers as it had been in past Games”.
Notice the qualifications. From “absolutely” consistent to
“almost consistent”, all the way down to “satisfactory”. By
employing the best propaganda techniques he is saying, in
effect, ‘we wont allow anything that might upset the Chinese get
through and we are happy to collaborate with them in reaching
“Our” Kevan went on to say that the Chinese
government wanted to show off the Chinese “way of life”. A
rather strange comment given that they won’t brook any protests,
bussed the vagrants out of the city, won’t allow any view that
diverges from the Party’s and are doing all they can to stamp
out “differences” over the Tibet “problem”. I guess the only
thing we can draw from Kevan’s comment is that the Chinese
government only wants us to see what they want us to see. A bit
like the Howard government in 2000 not wanting the international
media to report on his regime’s appalling treatment of our
Indigenous people. The only ‘authorised’ Aboriginality allowed
in the lead up to and during the Sydney Olympics was that which
conformed to the patronising and colonialist perspective of the
first Australians as ‘noble savages’.
But Kevan was not satisfied with the inherent
contradictions in his defence of the Olympic Family and the way
it does its business. When asked what his thoughts were
regarding athlete’s right to protest, he said they should not
worry about that and focus on their events. Kevan said “There
are any number of NGOs, non-government organizations, out there,
through to Amnesty International, pro-Tibetan groups; you name
it, that's their role to work with Governments.” I had to think
about that for a nanosecond. Then I remembered. They were the
ones the Great Chinese Firewall blocked. Now, I’m not the
brightest spark in the fire, but surely Kevan doesn’t want us to
take him seriously, does he?
The Olympic Family is just another
multinational corporation that has, in modern times, been used
as a vehicle for nationalism, geopolitics, the promotion of the
most unhealthy foods and beverages you can think of, feeds off a
‘winner takes all’ mentality, plays up the culture of celebrity
and privilege and allows government repression of those who it
believes might stand in the way of, as Kevan says, the “harmony”
of the games.
The Olympic Family are, nonetheless, royalty.
They are no different from the other despotic and fascist ruling
clans that precede them. They are a law unto themselves, given
to whims and fancies that turn the dreams of mere mortals to
dust. They lie, cheat, and stab each other in the back if things
don’t go their way. They believe that they are more important
than the heads of the states their games are played in. They
make demands which weak and grovelling governments give into.
They demand absolute league and their pound of flesh. They are
corrupt and like all Royalty and they don’t give a toss about
the poverty that exists on their door step. Nor do they care
about the mess they leave behind. The only harmony they want is
that which allows them to get a free ride, the best hotels and
seats in the house and a free souvenir t-shirt.