Steve J. Moore

Olympics Take Flight in China

In TV, World Events on August 11, 2008 at 2:55 pm

In a world where China is working hard to change its image abroad, I found myself watching the opening ceremonies of the 29th Olympiad with both great expectations and high hopes for the spectacle. Chinese master cinematographer and film director Zhang Yimou’s vision was to be realized before 91,000 onlookers from inside the place lovingly called “the Bird’s Nest.”

In a world where I often spend my time (here in the blogosphere) clicking through dissident news tags about human rights, protests,  politics, and rather raw stories in general, I find myself struggling to push the negative out of my mind and replace it with positive. I live my life trying not to hide from negative events, but to educate myself about and accept them. However, I firmly believe in messages of hope as being important. China is presented with a truly unique opportunity this month to evoke the spirit of friendly competition in the world’s nations. From this global stage, the world’s people should be able to set aside struggles and differences momentarily to remind themselves of our One World, our One Dream.

Okay, so perhaps I’m a bit of a Pollyanna when it comes to the state of the world. But, who, I ask you, could resist being in complete awe after seeing the opening ceremonies? How could anyone not sense the yearning of our world to come together and achieve something larger? This is what I believe Yimou was striving for in his presentation. He is a Chinese artist who expresses his country’s values and history with what I think is a global awareness in his films and this event lives up to that standard. These Games are perhaps only recreation but such a gathering of nations should not be overlooked in the state of world affairs as such.

There’s something that wells up inside of me when I see smiles of genuine excitement roused between citizens and athletes of hundreds of diverse and separated nations. The opening ceremonies were filled with smiles of this proportion. It made me feel like there was something for the world to share in together. What does it matter if we are imperfect, separated, and even on different paths? We can share in the celebration of our humanity, we can share in one thing together:

Hope.

No, I’m not talking about an American presidential campaign, but rather the state of a world that decides to put aside struggles, inequity, and misunderstandings to engage in aquatic, gymnastic, and ping pong diplomacy. The opening ceremonies and early games saw the likes of Hu Jintao, Nicholas Sarkozy, Vladimir Putin and the Bush family conversing in congenial fashion while the nations paraded across a giant canvas together, each for the pride of their home. Perhaps only posturing, but these do leaders play an important role in doing so, allowing for the athletes to display how global citizens should treat one another.

Even if the acts on high wires and the bursting explosions in the sky are only facade, I still find myself weighing in on their significance. What does it say about China, struggling with pollution, poverty, and population control, that they go so far out of their way to make the world feel welcome to share in this celebration? Even if there are cracks beneath the surface, I believe this time should be taken to celebrate what we would like our world to be; one in harmony.

More to come after the games end.

Au Reviour, a teut a l’heure

Until next time

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  1. Not to spoil the imagery of hope, but when juxtaposed with the situation in Russia/Georgia, commentators have been rather pointed regarding Bush’s conversations with Putin and the congeniality of the Olympics so far.

    While people are being killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur, and Georgia, the world leaders are going to a game. Bush condemns Putin’s actions in Georgia, then chats amicably with him at the Olympics like they’re old friends.

    “It’s clear what the US’s stance really is,” is the conclusion people are drawing. During such a politically tumultuous time in our world, the Olympics are being watched like a soap opera to judge where allegiance really lies.

  2. I hear that and I didn’t want to take my post there because I wanted to focus on something else. I want to emphasize that I understand that world leaders are doing more posturing than diplomacy so that I could focus on seeing people from around the world coming together.

    While people are dying as our leaders watch beach volleyball, I am trying to see the good in watching swimmers from different nations genuinely congratulate one another, basketball players win and lose gracefully, and athletes (if not politicians) are acting as role models for the human race.

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