this little light

It’s a bad year for the Olympic torch relay. The only time I ever came near the torch relay, the mood was completely different. It was just a few blocks from where I lived in Atlanta and I went to show Tommy and Sarah the excitement. Everyone in Atlanta was somewhere along the route and it was very much a parade. We were not thinking about Nazi propaganda. This was before the embarrassing pickup truck opening ceremony dance. This was before Eric Rudolph. Atlanta was hosting a party and the world was watching. I still have a roll of stickers that were thrown at the thick crowds of people lining the streets and cheering for the torch bearers. We knew that every person who carried the torch was special or important. It was a triumph for each participant. We knew it because the news media told us so. This was before blogging. Now, each person involved would be scrutinized by a million strangers at keyboards. Since the security at the games has become so tight, protesters have to scream their messages during the torch relay. If their goal is attention, they are getting it. If their goal is disrupting the Olympics, they are well on their way to doing so. Will it do any good? Is this the end of the torch relay? If the Olympics were being held in the US instead of China this year, would we have protesters? Is the world too angry and too small to celebrate the beauty and talent of athletes from all over the globe? I hope not. Don’t extinguish the flame that “endeavour(s) to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace.”

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