Friday, August 08, 2008

Opening Ceremonies Friday

(Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES)

Today the Summer Olympics begin in Beijing. If the air there wasn't bad enough, they added to the horrible air pollution using TONS of fireworks. Hey, its their right, the Chinese invented them about 800 years ago. And to be polite guests, everyone has to pretend that the air is just super!

(Photo Credit: Yeves Herman/Reuters)

And that they have no impact on Darfur, and don't violate people's rights even when they are denying visa for Dafur critics like 2006 Speed Skating Gold Medalist Joey Cheek (Hat's off to Romney for asking the Chinese to let him in) And good for America's Olympians who made a statement by choosing former Sudanese "Lost Boy" Lopez Lomong to bear the U.S. flag.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Gov. Jon Huntsman, who is fluent in Mandarin, points out the phrase "human rights" is often (mis)translated as "personal empowerment" in Mandarin and perhaps this is why the Chinese government doesn't get why the world community is so irate about Tibet, Darfur, etc. If so, this is a pretty poor excuse, but maybe he has a point: that before we can change minds, we must understand the culture and understand the language. The intellectual basis of human rights is that of individualism and not collectivism. Guess which culture is more collectivist and which is more individualistic?


But I should not be such a serious policy nerd. I should just chillax and enjoy the pageantry and sport. For some reason, I can't ever seem to enjoy NBC's tape-delayed-corporate-sponsored-touching-mini-bio-dramas they do every 2 years. But hey, your mileage may vary. Have a great weekend everyone!

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