IOC's false patriotism and disrespect of indigenous peoples

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Whatever the case, the tone of the Olympics changed in the second week and pro-Olympic stories populated media reports.  VANOC and IOC went into what I call "big-money superdrive," pumping patriotism as the only true Olympic story. People in Vancouver got to stare at ridiculous, 18-story-high posters on downtown buildings and on posters throughout the transit system, all designed to pump up Vancouver's patriotic fervor. “The result was a wild euphoria that acted as an amnesiac. The high was so intense it was like a drug," one woman said. "It was hard to remember the critical issues like social inequity, debt, human trafficking,  surveillance, stolen native lands, homelessness, environmental issues, rights to free speech and assembly, and corporatization of public space--things that had mattered to people very much."

The one-dimensional posters of rosy-cheeked, predominantly white, athletic, young people as representative of Vancouverites did not do justice to the wonderful diversity of citizens who live in Vancouver, in my view.  There were also monstrous maple leaf flags displayed in downtown Vancouver during the Games.

Patriotism on display during the Olympics in downtown Vancouver on Twitpic. Posted on February 16, 2010 by Maurice.

 

In addition to the signage, the Olympic machine marketed a line of clothing that turned the name "Canada" into a logo.  I do not need a sign on my shirt telling me where I live, any more than I need a stamp on my forehead telling me who I am. IOC stereotyped Canada. This one-dimensional portrayal was disrespectful of this marvellous multicultural country.

IOC uses patriotism to keep people excited about the Olympics, Cardinal said.  When people understand how much the Olympics cost them, patriotism will wane very quickly.

When VANOC won the Olympics, it made a deal with IOC to protect Olympic sponsors by buying up all available advertising space on billboards, buses, taxicabs, and the transit system. It was then up to VANOC to re-sell the space. No one but official Olympic sponsors could advertise in these public spaces to generate business for themselves. A very small number of Olympic sponsors bought advertising inside the city buses and only a very small portion of advertising space was resold. Olympic sponsors knew they did not have to buy advertising space because people had already bought tickets for the events so their market was in place and taxpayers were who would be paying the advertising bill.

I am sure that I was not the only citizen who felt the patriotism hype was silly. I would not say that Canadians are intensely patriotic. We love our country but it is without fanatical patriotism. I know Canadians to be a laid back people partly, I believe, because we are grounded safely and securely in a deep interconnection with Mother Earth. We are a free people who live happily in the centers of our own stories and lives, rather than being externally referenced to outside authority figures telling us what to think or who we are.

The best Olympic documentation of what a Canadian is, in my opinion, was made by Chris Wheeler, the Torch Reporter, who chronicled the stories of thousands of extraordinary people as the Olympic torch moved through their lives. The videos were remarkably powerful vignettes of unpretentious people simply telling the multidimensional stories of their diverse lives and their love of Canada. These stories carried a very different energy from the false patriotic hype and hoopla that the Olympic machine pumped out. 

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