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[Le Temps, Switzerland]

 

 

Nachrichten, Switzerland

The Olympics: No Vacation from War, But a Happy Distraction

 

"In ancient Greece, the Olympics were a time when all armed conflicts were laid to rest. Today it's the time when one can look away from the madness of the world without feeling guilty. It is not really the same - but we've become more modest over the last 2,000 years."

 

By Patrik Etschmayer

 

Translated By Patrik Etschmayer

 

February 15, 2010

 

Switzerland - Nachrichten - Original Article (Germany)

The world is again spellbound by the five rings in its eyes. Spectators around the world are reveling in the performances of "their athletes" in Vancouver; or suffer when four hard years of preparation are rewarded with defeat. The jubilation of the Swiss over Simon Amman's ski-jumping triumph is just one of the voices in a vast global choir.

 

The distraction bestowed on us by the athletes is more than just welcome: its a real necessity, since the Games give us hope that human endeavor and the success that arises from it can be measured, that good performance is rewarded, and that those who foul others will be excluded from competition - or at least have to sit for two minutes in the penalty box.

Posted by WORLDMEETS.US

 

Sport offers us the illusion that life is somehow computable ... even though the weather has thrown down the first stumbling blocks in the way of the Olympics, for example, by postponing the men's downhill or making the snowboarding events dependent on a constant caravan of trucks hauling snow.

 

The fact that this winter is slightly gaga has been known for some time, but it became painfully clear when in many places, salt stocks for road maintenance ran out and roads presented themselves in truly wintery garb. Things have gone so far that in Germany, entire stretches of the Autobahn had to be closed and cities on America's eastern seaboard were buried in snow, with Washington D.C. actually ceasing to operate.

 

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Meanwhile, earthquake-ravaged Haiti is slowly returning to something akin to normalcy, which in reality is a continuing disaster, the basic problems of which are unlikely to be overcome.

 

One can just as rightly doubt that the latest allied offensive in Afghanistan will bring the long-awaited peace. Analysts expect a protracted conflict and stress that the same mistakes which led to the failure of all previous conquerors in this cemetery of superpowers are still being made.

Posted by WORLDMEETS.US

 

The fact that next door, the ever-more dictatorial state of Iran plays with the nuclear option while trying to divert attention with increasingly bizarre diplomatic behavior does nothing to advance political stability.

 

No less serious are China's difficulties fulfilling its self-claimed role as the new superpower of the 21st century, with its failure to allow democratic reforms, for example, or to finally allow the exchange rate of its currency to float freely in order to prevent the formation of a new bubble - even before the repercussions of the last bubble bursting are halfway digested.

 

This leads one unavoidably to the subject of Greece, a nation that has descended from the rank of "cradle of European civilization" to the E.U.'s "cooker of books" - with the result that the whole of Europe has to accept the bill for this deceit (not to mention the deceits of the E.U. itself). But Greece is only the smallest of the stinking fish in the Euro-Pond. It will be much more interesting to see how Spain overcomes its real-estate crisis.

 

But when you're completely engrossed in front of the TV by the athletes in Vancouver, it's easy to forget this entire mess. In ancient Greece (didn't we just talk about them?), the Olympics were a time when all armed conflicts were laid to rest. Today it's the time when one can look away from the madness of the world without feeling guilty. It is not really the same - but we've become more modest over the last 2,000 years.

 

CLICK HERE FOR GERMAN VERSION

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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US February 21, 9:55pm]

 

 







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