Echoes. From Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936 to Beijing 2022. Posted on 12/08/2021

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The Catholic difference

From Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936 to Beijing 2022


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Anyone who pays any attention to world affairs knows what the Xi Jinping regime is doing in China. He is waging a brutal campaign of cultural genocide against the Uyghurs, sending more than a million of them to re-education camps, where torture is not uncommon.

George
Weigel

In July 2016, as we were seated on the fantail of the Swiss sidewheeler “Rhône” as it crossed Lake Geneva, my host pointed out to me the city of Lausanne, where a huge curvilinear glass-covered building sparkled in the sun summer. “Isn’t this the seat of the International Olympic Committee? I asked. When my friend said yes, I said, “I thought I felt it. “

That unpleasant smell – the stench of greed overpowering the solidarity that the Olympics claim to represent – has recently intensified.

Even the casual student of modern Olympic history is familiar with the August 1936 Games in Berlin, in which the American Jesse Owens, a black man, won four gold medals and destroyed the myth of Aryan supremacy d ‘Hitler. Few people may know that in February of the same year the Winter Olympics were held in the Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. How, we ask today, could we organize two Olympic Games in the Third Reich? How could people not know?

There was some controversy over holding the Summer and Winter Olympics under the auspices of the Nazis. But in 1936 the situation in Germany was not as dire as it would become in the following years. Yes, the Dachau concentration camp for political prisoners had opened in March 1933, and the Nuremberg Laws prohibiting Jews from German nationality and forbidding marriage between Jews and “Aryans” had been enacted in 1935. The horrors of the pogrom of the Crystal Night in November 1938 was two years in the future, however, and the Satanic Wannsee Conference to plan the “final solution” to the “Jewish question” would come six years later. Clear-headed people should have seen some of the implications of the Nuremberg Laws. But the industrial slaughter of millions of people, simply because they were the children of Abraham, exceeded the imagination of virtually anyone.

Hitler and his thugs therefore behaved temporarily (sort of) in the run-up to the Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Berlin Olympics. And the International Olympic Committee could save the conscience it had at the time and continue the games.

The IOC has no more excuses today, two months before the opening of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. Because today, everyone knows it.

Anyone who pays any attention to world affairs knows what the Xi Jinping regime is doing in China. He is waging a brutal campaign of cultural genocide against the Uyghurs, sending more than a million of them to re-education camps, where torture is not uncommon. He abrogated human rights in Hong Kong and jailed pro-democracy leaders there, including my friend Jimmy Lai (a brave Catholic who is still awaiting a public word of support from the Vatican). The Xi regime conducts massive and ongoing surveillance of its own people, as part of the most draconian effort in history at Orwellian social control; Last month, for example, Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai disappeared for days after she accused on social media of being raped by a senior Chinese Communist Party official. China is making noise throughout its neighborhood and constantly threatening Taiwan. And does a sane person think the Chinese government is telling the whole truth about China’s relationship to a pandemic that has so far killed 5.5 million people globally, massively disrupted the global economy? and created unspeakable social and mental distress everywhere?

The “reductio ad Hitlerum” is a cheap rhetorical device to be avoided. Let’s just say that holding the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing in February 2022 will be obscenity. There are no excuses this time. The information culture of 1936 was nothing like the transparent world of today; in 1936, the truth about Nazi Germany was, if not hidden, then less glaring than it would be today. Everyone knows what is going on in Xi Jinping’s China. To act as if this knowledge could be put on hold for a few weeks is gross moral cowardice.

A few months ago, I signed a petition asking the IOC to move the XXIV Olympic Winter Games from China. It will not arrive. What can we do then? Make Xi Jinping and his techno-thugocracy pay all the attention their country gets during the games. Media around the world should shine the spotlight on China’s human rights abuses, its draconian methods of social surveillance and its religious intolerance. Athletes from free countries should be supported by their National Olympic Committees if, as they should, they express solidarity with Uyghurs in concentration camps, with persecuted Christians throughout China, and with human rights activists. Hong Kong man and democracy. .

The IOC bosses will scream. Leave them. Exposing their cowardice would be a good addition to making the brutality of Communist China known to the world.

– George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC

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