Thursday, February 11, 2010

We were made for this?

A (perhaps) final rant on the eve of the 2010 Olympics.

You may have noticed that I am not a fan of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Particularly so because of the many negative things connected with these games; I'm not necessarily against international sporting events.

One of the big things about the Olympics is the need to collect money to pay for all that is involved. Piles of money. Major piles of money.
So, the right to use the Olympic rings, logo, name, etc. etc. etc. are sold to the highest bidder. You can get to be the official Olympic soft drink, or bank, or fast food purveyor, or what have you.

One of our national department stores has paid for the privilege as well.
That would be “The Bay”, a business that has been around since 1670. That's right, almost 340 years. It began as the Hudson's Bay Company, “the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson Bay.” Initially they dealt with our First Nations, trading furs for manufactured goods across the continent. Now they are a retail chain that has acquired a number of smaller chains including Zellers, Simpsons, Woodwards, Fields, and K-mart (but probably not doing too much fur trading).

All that to say that their Olympic advertising slogan is “We were made for this”.

If by “this” is meant hosting the world or putting on a world-class sporting event (except that we are struggling to find enough snow), I would say they are right. We are well known for being loved by most nations. Want to travel? Put our Maple Leaf on your backpack. We're a pretty friendly bunch. Quite laid back, given to peacekeeping more than warmongering (at least, that's what we tell ourselves.)

If by “this” is meant this pretty long list of injustices:
--colonialism and imperialism
--no Olympics on stolen land (unsurrendered First Nations territory)
--ecological destruction
--homelessness and poverty
--impact on women
--2010 police state
--public debt
--corporate invasion,
then I don't think we were made for this at all.
We might be doing a pretty good job of accomplishing those 8 evils, but it doesn't mean we want them to be our legacy.

I would hope and think that we were made to be known for our justice, fair treatment of our First Nations brothers and sisters, looking after the planet, looking after those who need a little extra help, championing the rights of everyone (not just white males), freedom of speech, prudent use of resources, and not so heavy into consumption.

I would really like to think that.

So, to “The Bay”, I don't think we were made for what these games are going to be remembered for.

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