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Stephen Fry Pens Open Letter: Olympics Cannot Be Held In Anti-Gay Russia

Stephen Fry has penned an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron and the International Olympic committee calling for the removal of the 2014 Winter Olympics from Russia.

In it he details the parallels between Russia's current anti-gay witch hunt and Hitler's Germany--and highlights the mistake the world made by allowing the 1936 Olympics to take place in Berlin under Hitler's rule. 

Here's an excerpt:

I write in the earnest hope that all those with a love of sport and the Olympic spirit will consider the stain on the Five Rings that occurred when the 1936 Berlin Olympics proceeded under the exultant aegis of a tyrant who had passed into law, two years earlier, an act which singled out for special persecution a minority whose only crime was the accident of their birth. In his case he banned Jews from academic tenure or public office, he made sure that the police turned a blind eye to any beatings, thefts or humiliations afflicted on them, he burned and banned books written by them. He claimed they “polluted” the purity and tradition of what it was to be German, that they were a threat to the state, to the children and the future of the Reich. He blamed them simultaneously for the mutually exclusive crimes of Communism and for the controlling of international capital and banks. He blamed them for ruining the culture with their liberalism and difference. The Olympic movement at that time paid precisely no attention to this evil and proceeded with the notorious Berlin Olympiad, which provided a stage for a gleeful Führer and only increased his status at home and abroad. It gave him confidence. All historians are agreed on that. What he did with that confidence we all know.

Putin is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against LGBT Russians. Beatings, murders and humiliations are ignored by the police. Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality is against the law. Any statement, for example, that Tchaikovsky was gay and that his art and life reflects this sexuality and are an inspiration to other gay artists would be punishable by imprisonment. It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. The IOC absolutely must take a firm stance on behalf of the shared humanity it is supposed to represent against the barbaric, fascist law that Putin has pushed through the Duma. Let us not forget that Olympic events used not only to be athletic, they used to include cultural competitions. Let us realise that in fact, sport is cultural. It does not exist in a bubble outside society or politics. The idea that sport and politics don’t connect is worse than disingenuous, worse than stupid. It is wickedly, wilfully wrong. Everyone knows politics interconnects with everything for “politics” is simply the Greek for “to do with the people”.

An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillyhammer, anywhere you like. At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.

__________________

Do you agree with his comparison, Instincters? 

 

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Comments

Finally someone calling this Russia debacle out for what it truly is! Now bullshit vodka boycotts.

I believe that economic sanctions should be placed on Russia for their actions, but to ask thousands of athletes that have been working for this once in a lifetime event ( for many) is not what the Olympics should stand for.  The Olympic venue Is not to be used for political reasons or blackmail.

President Obama wants to stop the Russian Olympics for their asylum decision for Snowden, you want to cancel it for their political issues, so what are all of our hard working athletes going to think when their dreams can be taken away from the at any political whim.  I am a gay man and do not agree with the Russian laws and want them to change also, but at what cost....   I thought that the Olympics were to be a non- political gathering of the nations in the spirit of peace and harmony even in war time.

I just believe politics need to stay completely away from any Olympic decisions at any time.  The Olympic awards are determined so many years ahead anything could happen but political issues should not be a reason to pull athletes or cancel the games.  Think of the sacrifice of all of the athletes, their families, the economic costs to the host country and the US for all of the coverage.

We have held the Olympics in America while we had terrible anti-gay, anti- black, anti everything laws in every state and the Federal Government.  We got them changed as can Russia, but we did allow the games to go on.  Do not punish the athletes for politics.  Laws are politics and can be changed.

The Olympics have been boycotted for political reasons all through the Cold War.  You are right Chuck that the spirit of the Olympics is supposed to be peace, tranquilty, and harmony.  However, you must have missed the part of the news about this "russian" law where it was stated that THIS law will be enforced on the Olympics.  And its not just one politician over there that is stating that the anti-gay laws WILL be enforced on athletes, coaches, and even tourists.  What type of games should be expected when there will be a bounty on every gay person during the events.

I agree the athletes are the ones who ultimately are punished for russian ignorance.  So would you agree that the event needs to be moved?  To have an atmosphere of peace and harmony it would seem that the only way possible is to move it out of Russia!

Your right Ethan,  I did miss the news where it stated that this law will be enforced in the Olympics.  Since the Olympics is still a long time away, I think it is still too early for boycott talks.  Don't put the pressure on the innocent athletes for these antiquated 3rd world laws.  Welcome to the 3rd world Russia! 

I believe that the United Nations was put in place to handle this type of situation and that we, as a community, should pressure them and our related governments, to put economic sanctions against Russia and all other middle east, African, and any other third world country that treats it's own citizens this way.  They are all limiting the basic human rights and need to be told by the world that this is wrong and they cannot get away with it any longer.

I also believe that every country that agrees with the sanctions should offer asylum to all LGBT  people and sympathizers.  Once all of the smartest, the youth, and best looking people :-)  of the country start leaving it in droves they will see that their future as a nation is in jeopardy and maybe then, they may realize that they need to change their laws so people have the right to live the lives that will make them happy, thus keeping the economy and society happy and thriving.

We should help them leave if at all possible by getting planes full of people out of there going to the various countries offering them asylum and support.   When Pop 8 was passed here in California, I did not want to live in a state or country that was going backwards with my rights and I looked into moving to Australia.  Australia and Canada are actively looking for immigrants and my partner of 21 years and I would be in Australia already if I was under 40, I did not qualify since I am over 40 so I stuck it out and with the recent changes in the USA, I and am glad that I did.

Let's just help the people that are being persecuted and their supporters get out of those countries so they can start living the lives that they are meant to live. Let those backward countries fail without their future generations.  Help those that have decided to leave their homeland and as a result they will be helping every other nation thrive with their appreciation for  giving them a chance at the life they are meant to have. 

If the United Nations cannot do the right thing and handle these worldwide situations, then I guess it is time to disband it and save America the millions of dollars it spends keeping the United Nations and all of it's delegates around for what...  Just kill it if it cannot do any good, it has outlived it usefulness.

 If this fails let each individual athlete decide what to do and do NOT hold it against them if they want to go.  This is also their lifetime dream and it should not be taken away from them except by their own choice, not as a political pawn.  Make sure we do not hold or schedule any Gay Olympics in any country that continues these types of laws.  We do not want to be hypocrites and financially support any of these countries. 

Personally I don't think we should boycott mainly because it's completely unfair to our athletes who have worked and waited practically their whole lives for this time.

If it could be moved, absolutely!  But I think the reality is that these games can take a city years to prepare for, and it's doubtful they could move it at this late stage.

Extremely well articulated truth. This is really what should be America's focus & what should happen. It's embarrassing if we don't boycott them. I hope the power of The Universe makes itself known in the shift of righteousness amongst those that can make a location change for the games because of this, that is my prayer. Amen.

Absolutely agree!

But it also makes me wonder TWO things... 

1) Are we going to repeat history? In World War II, the world allowed millions of jewish people to perish under a fanatical leader. Why can't we prevent the violence that is already happening by demanding the UN declare Russian LGBT people political asylum seekers.  Nations around the world should allow and assist them to immigrate for their protection.

2) Stephen Fry brings up a great point when he suggests the IOC move the Olympics to a former host city.  We should NOT boycott the Olympics, but move them.  Deprive Russia of an International audience.  Let them know they are out of sync with the world... the way the world SHOULD have done with Hitler when he hosted the Olympics.  But are there any host cities that are ABLE AND WILLING to ratchet their areas back up to high gear? Instincters in former host cities should ask their local media and governments.

It has to start somewhere.  It should start with our community being firm on this

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