Friday, December 20, 2013

Putin, Hitler and the Olympic Flame

("Putin, Secure in Power, Says He May Free Jailed Rival")

For a brief moment in the summer of 1936,  Germany attempted to camouflage the atrocities it was perpetrating upon so many of its own people. With the eyes of the world upon it as Olympic host nation, all signs (literal as well as figurative) of the persecution of the Jews disappeared. The hated gypsies were rounded up and hidden from view. And, to the dismay of the Nazis, not only were blacks permitted to compete, but Jesse Owens became the star of the games.

Yet nothing could change the truth behind the lies, and once the Olympic flame was doused, the brutality began anew.

It is most welcome that President Putin has given hope some of the worst of his human rights violations will be reversed in the coming days. From the possible release of Mr. Khodorkovsky to the freeing of two members of Pussy Riot along with thousands of others wrongly confined, one must consider the chance that this is the beginning of a new and better time for Russia.

Yet, there is little to suggest from watching Mr. Putin over many years to viewing the recent crackdown barring "propaganda about non-traditional sexual relations", that what we are witnessing is anything more than a repeat, in different form, of the charade played out on the Olympic stage by Hitler almost 80 years ago.

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