July 24, 2008

Iraqi athletes banned from the Beijing Olympics on the basis of government interference?

Special protest areas set aside by the Chinese during the Olympics, in exactly the style of the designated protest areas developed and fine-tuned by the United States military? (for is this not the true meaning of liberty and free speech?)

It seems to be the day of irony and double standards.

07/29 update:

The Iraqi ban has been lifted, too late for five of the seven Iraqi athletes who have qualified for the Olympics. (The entry deadline is 23 July, 30 July for those competing in athletics.) It appears that nothing of substance has actually changed between the original ban and today's reversal ... but in the opening and closing ceremonies, it will now look as though Iraq has been allowed to compete on a level playing field.

My sympathy goes out to Ali Adnan (archery), Ali Mohamed Fakher (judo), and Haider Nawzad and Hamza Hussein (rowing), who were trapped by politics and politics only. (The fifth, weightlifter Mohammed Jassim, may also have been facing disqualification for different reasons.)

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