History Repeats Itself

Hitler and OwensI had a nightmare last night. I think it was inspired by watching "The Book Thief" and a frightening scene of Adolph Hitler in the stands sneering down at Jesse Owens on the track at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. I woke up in a sweat with the vision of Hitler and those Olympics and what happended next in Europe, blending into a vision of Putin and his Olympics and what is happening now in the Ukraine. Could it be possible that dictatorial governments, whether fascist, corpocratic (we no longer have democracies – we have corpocracies), or communist, use the Olympics as a way of softening global opinion into inaction?

This is a direct quote from the Jewish Virtual Library:  "For two weeks in August 1936, Adolf Hitler's Nazi dictatorship camouflaged its racist, militaristic character while hosting the Summer Olympics. Soft-pedaling its antisemitic agenda and plans for territorial expansion, the regime exploited the Games to bedazzle many foreign spectators and journalists with an image of a peaceful, tolerant Germany.

Having rejected a proposed boycott of the 1936 Olympics, the United States and other western democracies missed the opportunity to take a stand that — some observers at the time claimed — might have given Hitler pause and bolstered international resistance to Nazi tyranny. With the conclusion of the Games, Germany's expansionist policies and the persecution of Jews and other “enemies of the state” accelerated, culminating in World War II and the Holocaust."

CrimeaNow, how about this: For two weeks in February 2014, Vladimir Putin camouflaged his racist, militaristic character while hosting the Winter Olympics. We raged about his homophobia, mused about boycotts, but, bedazzled by his soft-pedaling and the distracted by the scope of the construction in Sochi, did nothing. International resistance to his tyranny melted away in the media blitzkreig of feel good ceremonies and medal counts . With the conclusion of the games, Russia's expansionist policies accelerated, beginning with the invasion and annexation of Crimea, and destabilization of the Ukraine, and the persecution of Jews and other "enemies of Russian speaking peoples" , and….and….

Be very, very careful.

*****

Skid Crease, Caledon

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