Thursday, April 24, 2008

The olympic torch relay has always been political

In years gone by the torch relay has reminded me of Carols by Candlelight - a lot of flummery is talked about sport (or Christmas) and then a cavalcade of slightly famous people, sometimes but not always with a connection to sport (or Christmas), have a bit of a jog (or sing). Dipper, Daryl Somers, Kevan Gosper's relatives etc.

This year the flying squad of Chinese soldiers has upped the ante a bit. It got me wondering - why are they here? Australia is not on the way from Greece to China. Can't they leave us out of it?

An Australian security officer pulled one of the Chinese torch attendants away from Choir of Hard Knocks conductor and Local Hero Australian of the Year Jonathon Welch after he was handed the flame.

Jonathan Welch! Lovely man, love his choir. What on earth is he doing running through Canberra at all, let alone carrying a 72cm long propane-burning torch through chanting (and fighting) crowds of Tibetans and Chinese and curious Australians, to commemorate "the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus"?

Does it bother anyone that this whole palaver owes more to the Nazis circa 1936 than to anything the ancient Greeks were into?

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