While Beijing’s Olympic organisers would like us to “Light the Passion, Share the Dream”, it appears that the only dream being shared at the moment is that of a free Tibet. And if anything merited disruption, it’s the preposterously silly Olympic torch ceremony, involving the Temple of Hera, a “Holy Priestess” and, apparently, Pierre de Coubertin’s heart.

One of the world’s most corrupt and brutal regimes must be furious that its thuggery is being highlighted at the very moment when it wants the rest of the world to acknowledge its rising power. And the IOC, another body not exactly known for its accountability or tolerance of dissent, continues to insist that the Olympics is above petty issues like human rights.

Australia will have its own role to play in this absurd spectacle when the Olympic torch visits Canberra on 24 April. Hopefully Australia’s proud tradition of support for human rights will be on display when this alleged “journey of harmony, bringing the message of peace to people of different nationalities, cultures and creeds” wends its heavily-guarded way through the nation’s capital.

Peter Fray

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