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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Watching the `genocide olympics' meme

The New York Times has an interesting article by Elan Greenberg about how a bunch of activists invented and propagated the `genocide olympics' idea. How far have they come? A google search for "genocide olympics" shows 46,100 hits.

It'll be interesting to see the extent to which the Chinese government is able to pull off a 1936 Olympics. As Anne Applebaum, writing in the Washington Post, characterises this event:

The 1936 Olympics, held in Nazi Germany, were an astonishing propaganda coup for Hitler. It's true that the star performance of Jesse Owens, the black American track-and-field great, did shoot some holes in the Nazi theory of Aryan racial superiority. But Hitler still got what he wanted out of the Games. With the help of American newspapers such as the New York Times, which opined that the Games put Germany "back in the family of nations again," he convinced many Germans, and many foreigners, to accept Nazism as "normal." The Nuremburg laws were in force, German troops had marched into the Rhineland, Dachau was full of prisoners, but the world cheered its athletes in Berlin. As a result, many people, both in and out of Germany, reckoned that everything was just fine and that Hitler could be tolerated a bit longer.

Yes, ubiquitous information and communications technologies imply that the game is changing. But would live video footage from the Night of the Broken Glass have made a difference? The situation is easier for China than it was for Nazi Germany to the extent that the Fortune 500 firms are long China, while they weren't that invested in Germany of 1936.

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