Tag Archives: Olympics

Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression Part 4: A Discussion with Jason Cieply about Russian Perceptions of the West and Sexual Politics

by Erika Lynn Abigail Kreeger, ’16

This is the fourth and final part in a series entitled “Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression.” The first part is entitled “Russian Sexual Politics and the East/West Divide,” the second “Boycotting Boycotts of Russia” and the third “Challenging the Liberal Fascination with Gay, International Violence.”

The morning of August 8th, the day Part 1 of this series was uploaded onto STATIC, I Skype chatted with Stanford Instructor of Slavic Languages and Literature Jason Cieply and discussed, among many other things, Russian perceptions of the West, American and Western imperialism, homosexuality, sexual politics and the growing limitation of personal freedoms in Russia.

Pretty quickly, it stopped feeling like an interview and more of a discussion among colleagues. Instructor Cieply has a wide knowledge of Russian geopolitics, and he helped shed light on a number of issues I had been curious to know more about. Hopefully, this discussion will help provide more context to the last three pieces I’ve written, especially in how Russians view America and American interventions.

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Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression Part 3: Challenging the Liberal Fascination with Gay, International Violence

by Erika Lynn Abigail Kreeger, ’16

This is the third part of a four part in a series entitled “Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression.” The first part is entitled “Russian Sexual Politics and the East/West Divide,” and the second part is entitled “Boycotting Boycotts of Russia.”

The call to boycott the Sochi Games is not the first time there has been a call to boycott the Olympics due to civil rights or social justice abuses. The US boycotted the 1980 Olympics in the SSSR, while the SSSR boycotted the 1984 Olympics in the US, largely due to animosity and suspicion of each other.

Before that, though, there was talk amongst black academics and black athletes in America to boycott participating on the US Olympic team in the 1968 Mexico City Games to protest social conditions of blacks at home. While the boycott was never realized, black and allied athletes found other ways to protest, the most famous being the Black Power Salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, both African American, after coming in 1st and 3rd, respectively, in the 200 meter sprint.

And over the past few years, there have been calls in parts of Brazil, namely among the favela residents and the younger generation to not attend the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio, where  nearly 170,000 people have been forcibly relocated out of the favelas, among other unjust actions. (Note: the word ‘boycott’ generally isn’t used; rather, there are calls to not attend or watch either event on television.)

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Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression Part 2: Boycotting Boycotts of Russia

by Erika Lynn Abigail Kreeger, ’16

This is the second part of a four part series entitled “Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression.” The first part is entitled “Russian Sexual Politics and the East/West Divide.

“You stupid idiots kill people all over the world, Iraq, libya, afganistan, syria etc. You interfere internal politics of many countries. And now you stupid idiots try to teach us how to live? Go fuck yourself and your president and leave us to decide OURSELVES on how to live and rule OUR country. Just understand that you opinion mean nothing here.”

The following is an exact quote from a Buzzfeed post mentioned earlier in Part 1, which reveals an important hypocrisy to understand about modern American and historical Western politics.

America and the West currently and historically tend to view themselves as the world’s watchdog, the big brother, if you will, the more socially advanced sibling who can help their more primitive brothers and sisters advance. In earlier centuries, this phenomenon was mainly exacted through Christian conversion.

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Faster, Higher, Stronger: A History of Olympic Oppression

By Erika Kreeger, ’15

On December 4th, Erika published a piece entitled “Minha Casa, Minha Vida” about the human right’s violations occurring in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in preparation for the Olympic Games. This is a follow up to that piece.

Beijing Olympic Torch, cristyli.blogspot.com

Beijing Olympic Torch, cristyli.blogspot.com

Any conversation about the problems in Rio de Janeiro surrounding the World Cup and the Olympic Games would be strikingly inadequate without a critical look at past events to place these current tournaments in better context. Forced removals were completely commonplace in preparation for many Olympics. Some (unfortunately, I am not one of them) may have been old enough or aware enough to read about the controversy surrounding the Beijing Games in 2008, in which 1.25 million people were dislocated in the years prior to the Games, dwarfing the previous record of 720,000 for the Seoul Olympics in 1988. By these numbers, Brazil’s heinous 170,000 seems rather measly and insignificant.

Beyond forced removals, there are ‘anti-crime’ crackdowns and roundups in the months and days prior to the Opening Ceremonies arguably to make the city safer, but which overwhelmingly unreasonably and excessively target poor, geographically disadvantaged, oppressed communities. The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, while generally viewed as an amazing success, was also marked by extreme police brutality and crackdowns in the South Central and East parts of the city. Continue reading

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Minha Casa, Minha Vida: Why I Won’t Be Watching or Attending the 2014 World Cup or the 2016 Olympics

by Erika Kreeger, ’15

One of my greatest disappointments for 2012 will be not having been able to watch the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. Not only was it a great spectacle, I heard, but I’ve always been fond of the Olympics, and the grandeur that is associated with them. Although I have many problems with globalization, I feel like there’s something to be said for a majority of human nations coming together in a friendly, non-political manner. It builds a sense of solidarity amongst the different populations of our species.

A favela in the mountains of Rio, NYT

A favela in the mountains of Rio, NYT

Probably my greatest disappointment of 2012, though, was deciding that I would not attend the 2014 World Cup or the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As I am planning on either studying or living in Minas Gerais, Brazil, while both of these events take place, I had these grand plans of going to watch soccer games, see the attractive divers and swimmers race, and hang with my family, who’d try to fly out for one of the events.  But after learning of the awful human rights violations occurring in Rio in preparation for both these large events, I can’t in good conscience let myself take part in them. Continue reading

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