It has arrived. The Olympic flame is now on Canadian soil.
Unconfirmed reports say the flame traveled from Europe along with Mayor Gregor Robertson and BC Premier Gordon Campbell in a military jet to Canada, where top government officials allegedly met it, and took it into town where men and women in suits made ceremony around it. I wonder what the flame symbolizes to these men. International cooperation? The best of the human spirit?
When I think of what it costs to cart this burning bush wannabe around, I think of the olden times when people worshipped idols that were later described as false. Is this our false idol?
I think of the Chinese police beating Tibetan people who protested as the flame crossed their territories. It had to be protected. They apparently didn't. It had more value...but to whom?
As it's carried across Canada, we will project upon it what we will, I suppose.
Organizers speak of it as a tool to bring the values of peace and goodwill throughout the world.
But as reported on metro news.ca, “What's rarely mentioned is that the torch relay as its known today began by celebrating the ideals that led to the Second World War.
The first modern relay ran from Olympia to Berlin for the 1936 Summer Games, passing through six countries on the way, all of which would be annexed or invaded by Adolf Hitler within the following three years.”
Initially, Hitler had wanted nothing to do with the Games, Metro says, but he came around.
They had been awarded two years before he took power and the planning was in the hands of Carl Diem, a German sports official.
A torch run had been used in previous sporting events, and an Olympic flame had already been lit for the 1928 Games in Amsterdam.
"People talked about a torch relay before Nazi Germany, and Carl Diem didn't begin as a Nazi," said Kevin Wamsley, an Olympic historian at the University of Western Ontario.
Essentially it was his idea and the Nazis appropriated it."
Okay, it's unpleasant to keep mentioning history. Our own Vancouver New Age celebrity Ekhart Tolle says, there's only Now. But, as It gets closer, the Olympics story, with its positives and negatives, it's now and it's then, strikes me again as a complex tale of a flame that changes when viewed from different angles, from bright to barely flickering.