Letter: Olympic boycott would do harm | VailDaily.com

Letter: Olympic boycott would do harm

Ali Hasan, candidate, House District 56
Vail CO, Colorado

As someone running for office, I am growing tired over the calls to boycott China’s hosting of the Olympics. In one’s eyes, politicians are using the issue for political purposes, rather than thoughtfully examining it.

Let us not forget that the first step to democracy, liberty for all, and true open-mindedness is a gesture of goodwill. The mere fact that China applied for the Olympics and is eager to serve as host is an excellent demonstration, on China’s part, for where they hope to be eventually.

Boycotts, sanctions, and bans have been tried over many years. We banned Cuban goods when Castro came to power and where has that left human rights in Cuba? Harsh sanctions were levied on Iran and Iraq during the Clinton era and where did that leave democracy in those countries?

Consider that Jordan, Mali, and Indonesia’s recent rises in civil liberties, according to the Millennium Challenge Corporation, could directly be attributed to the United States’ reduction of sanctions against these countries and opening of free trade. After all, the solution to uplifting a country’s human rights woes is by engaging them directly and opening a relationship, not sanctioning them and leaving them for the vultures of a dictator.

Perhaps the greatest Olympic games of all were the 1936 games in Berlin, when our Jesse Owens advanced his fist in the air, as Hitler looked on. Imagine what Germany would be like today without that moment? What we forget is that the Olympics are not about medals, games, and competition; the true moments that last are the ones that forever change the world. Let us not deprive ourselves of such opportunity in China during the 2008 Olympiad. May we let these games begin!

May peace and love be upon you all.

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