August 30, 2004

In a free country, one might think forced resettlements a thing of the past. The Roma of Athens might have reason to think differently ... and yet, somehow, their current situation just doesn't seem to engender the media interest parallel actions do when they take place in, oh, China? I won't link any articles here: the situation of the Roma and other transient communities and marginal ethnicities, not only throughout Europe but globally, is a controversial one, and won't be well served by any single, isolated source: even my own commentary.

I happened across this feed yesterday. I don't know yet how I feel about it, and the in-comment and posted e-mail debate suggests that others might feel the same way, or else quickly polarise to one interpretive version or another. Definitely the potential exists for mockery: just look at the name chosen! yet at the same time the originator comments - truthfully - that:
I meant that the results put in by even the last-place finishers are still better than most of us are capable, not the placing. Yes, anyone could come in last -- assuming they could finish -- but I don't think we could put up the same marks, by and large

while the feed itself is marketed as
Celebrating last-place finishes at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Because they're there, and you're not.

So what is the true spirit, here? Is it in fact celebration of the honest attempt? How much here of what is seen lies in the lenses, and how much in a perhaps too-accurate translation of the originator's intent? How much truth lies in a name?

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