Apr 8, 2008 2:02 pm


A tradition started by Nazi Germany is causing a loss of face not only for Communist China but also and deservedly for the elitist (so well illustrated in Chariots of Fire) Olympic committee. It could not have happened to"nicer guys." The truth is that when they agreed to Red China, they knew that comparisons to the Nazi Olympics and the truncated Soviet one would be inevitable. Still, they chose to take the word of the representatives of a dictatorship at face value. Faced with a creative"flame extinguishing" sport, they are caucusing with Beijing in damage control sessions.

Beijing officials are to hold urgent talks with senior members of the Olympic movement about the torch relay, as concern grows among International Olympic Committee members over the effect of pro-Tibet protests on the games.

The proposed discussions follow a second consecutive day of disruption for the torch relay in Europe. Protests by hundreds of pro-Tibetan campaigners and some French politicians against Chinese human rights abuses yesterday forced organisers to cut short the Olympic torch's 28km trip through Paris.

IOC insiders ruled out routes being curtailed or cancelled, but one said discussions would take place with Beijing about"how the integrity of the torch can be maintained". . . .

It emerged that Lord Coe, chairman of the London Olympic committee, was inadvertently recorded by Channel 4 News accusing some of the Chinese officials providing security for the Olympic flame as it travelled through London on Sunday of being"thugs".

In comments to a colleague, he said if the organisers of the French part of the torch route do"one thing in Paris, it is to get rid of those guys. They tried to push me out of the way three times . . . they were thugs".

Now they are facing"expert" San Francisco demonstrators. German commentators argue that"sport and politics cannot be kept apart if a country with a human rights record as controversial as China's tries to hijack a sporting event for propaganda purposes." The"if" ignores the fact that all governments use the Olympics to show themselves in the best light. The problem arises from the willingness of the Olympic Committee to enable a dictatorship to do so. After all, the running of the torch was invented as a Nazi propaganda tool:

It was invented in its modern form by the organisers of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

And it was planned with immense care by the Nazi leadership to project the image of the Third Reich as a modern, economically dynamic state with growing international influence.

The idea chimed perfectly with the Nazi belief that classical Greece was an Aryan forerunner of the modern German Reich.

And the event blended perfectly the perversion of history with publicity for contemporary German power.

The first torch was lit in Greece with the help of mirrors made by the German company Zeiss.

Steel-clad magnesium torches to carry the flame were specially produced by the Ruhr-based industrial giant Krupp.

Media coverage was masterminded by Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels, using the latest techniques and technology.

Dramatic regular radio coverage of the torch's progress kept up the excitement, and Leni Riefenstahl filmed it to create powerful images.

Read the rest and remember that once again it is proven that those, like the international Olympic Committee, who fail to learn from the past, are compelled to relive it. Those who forget Munich, are destined to relive it. This torch deserves extinguishing.

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