Monday, October 04, 2010

The problem with the games

It seems that every major international sporting event has to have an accompanying hoo ha about chalets without toilets, stadiums without tracks or sites that are essentially just a pile of sand. Of course the London Olympic Games will be different, but all the other events - they're always beset by problems.

However, the real tragedies of these events aren't the escalating costs but the trampling of rights and social justice that takes place. While much has been made of India's inability to put together a decent athlete's village for the Common Wealth Games, much less has been made of the social cost to the surrounding population.

Whether it is the extreme security measures or the fact that all local businesses have been instructed to shut down for the opening and closing of the games. It's not as if they could sell anything to the athlete's or attendees anyway, but to forbid them to ply their normal trade to local residents is a real problem.

There's more though. The consistent use of child labour for example. The safety standards that mean more than a hundred workers have been killed during the construction of the sites. Or students evicted to make way for the games. Time and again it is the power of the state against its people, not on behalf of them.

The cost of the games was over a hundred times the original estimate coming in at over ten billion quid of the Indian government's money when it has so many living in terrible conditions of poverty. Has this money gone to alleviate that poverty perhaps? Well no - it's gone into the pockets of the rich. Less lofty folk have simply found their businesses shut, their homes evicted or worst of all their lives lost.

I know the British Press have only been concerned about how luxurious their own accommodation will be but frankly, there are wider issues. Time and again these vanity events are used to build the prestige of the host government at the expense of their people. It's only two years to go before we get our turn, it may well not be as extreme as in India, but all the same problems will be there.

1 comment:

World FuCup said...

Well said!

Reality's biting back though, with hardly anyone there, and those that are there coming down with diseases.

What goes around comes around.