Wednesday, 27 September 2023

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Don’t beat down activists

Below is a letter which Gerald Giam wrote to My Paper in response to the paper’s article on politics and the Olympics by its sports editor, Chia Han Keong.

Gerald’s letter has not been published.


Dear Editor,

I was disappointed to read your sports editor Chia Han Keong’s commentary, “Keep politics out of the Olympics” (my paper, August 4).

Mr Chia said that activists who “plan to protest and disrupt” the Olympics are “no better than” the Munich Olympics terrorists.
This is an insult to both human rights activists as well as the families and friends of the eleven Israeli athletes and one German police officer who were massacred by Black September terrorists in 1972.

Does the mere act of planning a protest by, say, unveiling a “free Tibet” banner at an Olympic event equate to murdering a dozen people?

The Olympics always have been, and probably always will be, a politicized event because of its sheer scale and the fact that its main organiser is usually the national government of the host country.

If it were not political, the Chinese government would not be going to such lengths to put on an excellent show, both on and off the field, to demonstrate its emergence as a world power.

Many activists have sincerely-held opinions of what they see are the Chinese government’s violations of human rights. Obviously it would be wrong for anyone to disrupt the Games. But not everyone who stages protests is necessarily disruptive.

In any case, Mr Chia has gone against his own advice by using the sports pages of your newspaper to write a political commentary. He would have achieved his purposes better by interviewing a star Olympian and getting readers more pumped up about the greatest sporting show on Earth.

Gerald Giam


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