Olympics - photo by: Dietmar Gerhard Exner / pixelio.de

photo by: Dietmar Gerhard Exner / pixelio.de

Big sport events are coming up and reveal the dark side of commercialization and misuse as a prestige event for corrupt governments. Three Football Worldcups in Brazil, Russia and Qatar already raise huge questions about the treatment of workers and the price for the show. This Friday, the Olympic Games in Russian Sochi are opened. It is hard to name all the social wrongs connected to this event, besides the fact that the subtropical region is one with the least likelihood of snow in Russia.

For deeper insight, watch Aleksandr Gelentev’s documentary about the violations against people and environment due to the Olympic Games:

Foremost it is deeply questionable to hold the Olympics, a symbol for equality of all humans, in an openly homophobic country with strong oppressions of human rights as freedom of speech and opposition. Workers are not paid and can be happy to come out alive. Regional interests of small businesses and environmental issues are wiped away. Governmental officials make huge profits with corruption through all hierarchy levels. The profits go also to many European companies, over 70 from Germany alone. Hundreds of people are robbed their homes and ground with no compensation.

President Putin wants to make those Games to an event to show that Russia has arrived in the ranks of leading economies. He uses Olympia to polish his image, not the first who tries this move. Promptly, he gives amnesty to the oppositional leader Chordowski and Pussy Riot members after years of prison – and just a few months before they would be free anyway.

Open criticism arises also from politicians. German president Joachim Gauck will not come and it can be read between the lines what his motivations are. Barak Obama will not attend as well and sends two lesbian officials as representatives. Anyway, protest looks different. The Games will happen, so what to do? Dear athletes, create strong pictures. Media means power and pictures can change something. Take those famous American heroes as an example as they protested for the Black rights movement and against the exploitation of workers in 1968.

Putin is at least forced to show his most friendly face. The media light of the world is directed towards Russia. That would not happen with a big boycott nor with having no such event in the country.

Still, as a sports fan, I increasingly wonder how I can watch those events with joy. If nothing changes in Qatar before the 2022 World Cup, thousands (!) of workers will have lost there lives in building arenas under inhuman conditions. That reminds of ancient times when the Pyramids where built in a similar social climate of exploitation. We should have developed since then. This must stop. Let’s use the Sochi Games to set signs. Against despotism and for human rights.