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Old 08-06-2013, 06:39 PM   #1
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Sochi 2014 (Political discussion)

Sochi 2014....or as many are calling it, the Anti-Gay Olympic!

Ahhh....aren't the Olympic nice? Ya know, bringing countries together, allowing us to hold hands with our sisters and brothers from another mother, teaching us that with friendly competition we can all be one, learning about different countries and culture, and uniting the world as one.....all while staying away from political issues, right?

So I am sure most have seen all the recent coverage of the Russian government's firm stance on homosexuals and homosexuality. It ain't a nice one. Russia's view of this situation is hugely oppressive and it is beginning to be noticed quite widely by the world to the point where George Takei popped up on my newsfeed today encouraging me (and his thousands of followers) to sign a petition to move the 2014 Olympics back to.........*drumroll*......Vancouver!!

Now, there is a better change of Stephen Harper streaking before the Grey Cup kick off, but it raises the question of how should we (as viewers/citizens/fans/etc) and the IOC do with situations like this?

The IOC announced that participants, volunteers, and tourists will not be affect by these laws, but Russia has negated this. It all seems very confusing and it appears to be turning into a little, "he said she said" where at the end of the day, nobody know what the fuck is going to happen.

There have been issues with almost every Olympic games since the advent (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympi..._controversies) and more recently, for layman's sake, Beijing human rights issues in regards to hiding poor neighbourhoods, putting walls around poor areas, labour issues, etc., Vancouver and the whole DTES, anti-gent, health care, etc...so this isn't a 'new' issue per se...But, for some reason Russia has seemed to have gone out of their way to tell the world that within their borders gay=bad. Are they attempting to swing the pendulum the other way as the last few years there has been countless leaps for gay rights all over the world?

I ask again...how should this be dealt with? Do we ignore it as we have with all the other Olympic games? Do we finally put an end to what the games have turned into (a burning pit for billions of dollars and political chest beating).

I'll be honest...I enjoy watching the games. I like watching Canada compete, I like those handful of heart-warming stories that inevitably arise, and I enjoy those 2 weeks of TV that doesn't suck. However, I think I am going to have a harder time with it in 2014. For some reason, it just doesn't feel right.

On the other hand (my anthropologist hand) and to play devil's advocate here, who are "we" to dictate how another country or culture operates within their borders. Is it right that the world can go in and fight to change another country's law for a 2 week period? Should we honour and respect another culture regardless of our own thoughts and feelings?

What does everyone think? Will you be signing the petition to move to Olympics back to Vancouver?

Some recent articles:

2014 Sochi -- Russia will enforce anti-gay law during Games - ESPN

Sochi 2014: Russia will enforce anti-gay laws, says minister | canada.com

Russia to enforce anti-gay rights law during Sochi 2014 Olympics: sports minister (with video)

Petition (although a fruitless effort, imo):
http://www.change.org/en-GB/petition...to-vancouver-2
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:50 PM   #2
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Do nothing. Frankly, there's nothing anyone can do about it. And it's not like it's illegal to be gay in Russia... they simply passed a bill that makes it illegal to talk about gay issues to minors.

Not saying that it's right, just that in the grand scheme of Olympic scandals and issues, it's not exactly the biggest headline out there.
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:50 PM   #3
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The province may go more broke so no. Once was a good enough memory.
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:18 PM   #4
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If you don't agree with Russia then just boycott the games. Nothing else you can do. They spent 50+ billions of dollars to make these games happen and it will go on.

And its not like Vancouver can just come and go oh, we did 4 years ago. We can put everything into place again in the next 7 months. Nope. Not enough time to recruit and organize everything behind the scenes to make it happen.
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:39 PM   #5
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Only issue I have with the Olympics is where its being held...security threat is over 9000!
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:30 PM   #6
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every country has their problems...let them go broke like every other country who holds the Olympics.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:01 PM   #7
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The "issues" in Vancouver are so insignificant compared to this.

On one hand, I fucking love the Olympics, especially the Winter Olympics. On the other, it's absolutely stupid to make being gay illegal and have that shit apply to incoming athletes and touristsl.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:09 PM   #8
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Is Sochi gonna be ready in time?

Maybe boycot is a good thing.......... for Russia.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:04 PM   #9
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Who are we to sit here and tell another country their culture is wrong and they are wrong in their beliefs and policies.

Over half of the world believes homosexuality is wrong and is a sin. Perhaps the rest of the world should boycot any Western-cultured Olympics?



This very forum constantly stands up and states new immigrants should conform to our way of life, and meld into our culture, and not disrespect our country by displaying the 'wrong' ways of their culture. How can the same people turn around and say another country should change their beliefs to accommodate us?
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:25 PM   #10
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While its not necessarily rules or laws I would impose if I had the power, I have absolutely no issues with Russia's policy on their own home soil regarding homosexuality. I had this conversation with a friend the other day, she was asking me to boycott watching the Sochi Olympics because of this, I flat out told her no, personally for me, while it sounds crass, this issue for me is relatively low on my personal totem pole and does not trump my interest or support for Winter Olympic sports, especially Olympic Hockey and Team Canada.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:26 PM   #11
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Who are we to sit here and tell another country their culture is wrong and they are wrong in their beliefs and policies.

Over half of the world believes homosexuality is wrong and is a sin. Perhaps the rest of the world should boycot any Western-cultured Olympics?



This very forum constantly stands up and states new immigrants should conform to our way of life, and meld into our culture, and not disrespect our country by displaying the 'wrong' ways of their culture. How can the same people turn around and say another country should change their beliefs to accommodate us?
Well, that is the very point I made (although I think "over that the world" is a little bit of a stretch)

Is this a human rights issue or is this a cultural issue? Much like female circumcision (yes, I realize I am opening a can of worms) in Africa. As a member of a developed country, do I have the right to change another culture?

But...is homosexuality a cultural paradigm?

This law isn't just about talking to an underage person about gay issues. Anyone who is suspected of being gay is at risk.

What about the parallels that people are making between the 1936 games and the Holocaust? Maybe this attitude of "oh well, its up to them...its a touchy subject....boycott won't mean anything" is the wrong attitude to have.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:28 PM   #12
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who is one country to go and enforce their beliefs onto another.

It is akin to spreading democracy to those lesser countries who need to be enlightened.

The hero and villain roles are forever mutually interchangeable. Just as jihad's in America are labelled Terrorists, while probably Saints back home.

On another note. who dictates what is acceptable in this world is determined by strength. IE. The UN voted against American entry into the middle east post 9/11, but they went ahead anyways. No one physically intervened. Short sighted possibly on the part of the US, as it definitely ruined their image and that strength may no longer be as high as it once was due to that
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:29 PM   #13
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What you have to understand is that Russia is a very conservative country that never got around to a proper, linear sexual revolution with more things gradually becoming more acceptable. There also weren't any "waves" of feminism, as women were granted all rights and responsibilities right after the revolution and there wasn't the sort of gradual acceptance like there was in the West. Those things are related. Homosexuality was only decriminalized very recently, and taken off the list of mental illnesses very begrudgingly without much public debate around the issue. When the Soviet Union started falling apart, pretty much everything was instantly allowed, porn, prostitution, all at once were out in the open like a shock wave, so the sexuality of a typical Russian is a really weird thing.

You're expected to get married and have kids, the younger the better. There is a lot more involvement of your parents and grandparents in a traditional Russian family, many people even live with their parents after getting married and having kids, because realty is very expensive. At the same time, there is a sort of neurotic sexuality everywhere. Russians are very promiscuous. Infidelity is excepted, divorce is almost guaranteed. Sex is supposed to be that thing men do to women, too, which is a remnant of the former, more conservative times. Sex is somehow both a taboo humiliating act done to another person and a normal thing. You're expected to be sexually active, but at the same time, you're also shamed for it quite a lot. The image of any sexual deviation from a certain norm is pretty much a caricature. People confuse transsexuals, homosexuals and pedophiles, too. And this is in a country where you're not even supposed to look weird.

The prison culture also has a very strong influence. Lots of people, even educated people, know prison slang and basic laws and rules of prison life. One of those laws is that, basically, the guy who's at the end of the food chain is supposed to take it up the ass. That is a very shameful thing.

Then there is the concept of "tolerance" which is almost a swear word in the media. Basically, to distance us from the west, we are told that the West is on decline, because they allow various minorities more rights than "normal people", and they allow women too many rights, so their birth rates are down and they'll all be replaced with Arabs soon. Demographics is a very important issue here, because the population is aging and dying out. There is a derogatory term "tolerast" which is a combination of tolerant + pederast, that describes someone who would allow themselves to be dominated by all those "lesser" beings. The remnant of the idea of an outside enemy who wants to destroy mother Russia by making it weak is pretty strong, too, and a strong Russia is something people want. Then there is the issue that this is a poor country and people have a lot of bigger problems than simple social acceptance. Basically, if you can't afford to raise your children, you still have to live with your mom at 30, and your hospital has rats and no central heating, you don't have the capacity to worry about someone's feelings. Human rights activists are viewed as rich, sheltered fools like those people you might see on /r/TumblrInAction[1] . There isn't much of an open discourse.

A whole series of laws appeared at approximately the same time, and I personally think they're a reaction to a strong forming opposition: any organization with foreign funding is supposed to register as a "Foreign agent", which does pretty much nothing, mostly affects charities and makes them seem like CIA spies; you may no longer "offend people's religious feelings", which was written specifically after the Pussy Riot thing; and then there's the law forbidding "propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia to minors" which was later changed to "denying traditional values". Basically, it's a pretty strong ideological attack on people who aren't happy with the current government. You don't like something? You're an American spy and you want to molest children and you also take it up the ass.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:35 PM   #14
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^ this is a very good post.
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Old 08-06-2013, 11:13 PM   #15
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I find it interesting Russia's stance on current gay issues. Considering these Winter Olympics are in Russia, Russia loves figure skating as much as Canadians love hockey, and the majority of high caliber male figure skaters are, as the Russian's would put it, "pidor"

But the whole issue is also low on my interest scale, and as a Canadian male, I'm really only interested in the hockey tournament. I will pass on the petition. Vancouver 2010 had protests about housing and gentrification. Sochi 2014 will have protests about the LGBT community and their lack of respect towards them. It isn't a "modern day" Olympics without gold medals and social protests. GO CANADA!

However, I do feel the dumbest form of protest is pouring perfectly good Russian vodka down the drain. It makes no sense. The vodka producers have nothing to do with law making as far as I know. It would be like if I were to protest Canada spending billions on fighter jets, I should stop pouring maple syrup on my pancakes.
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Old 08-06-2013, 11:18 PM   #16
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My love for hockey trumps any sort of feelings I have that would convince me to boycott watching the games. Olympic hockey is awesome.
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Old 08-07-2013, 12:01 AM   #17
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On the other hand (my anthropologist hand) and to play devil's advocate here, who are "we" to dictate how another country or culture operates within their borders. Is it right that the world can go in and fight to change another country's law for a 2 week period? Should we honour and respect another culture regardless of our own thoughts and feelings?

What does everyone think? Will you be signing the petition to move to Olympics back to Vancouver?
no, I will not sign any petition. its their country, its their rules.

I don't fly half way across the world to stay with a friend and end up telling them "tough shit, I wear shoes inside my house so i'll wear them in yours.".

of course that's not the exact same...but you get my idea...its their country so let them do what they want. if someone comes into my house and doesn't like the rules to my house (no smoking inside, you make the mess you clean it, leave the toilet seats down etc...) you can shape up or ship out.
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Old 08-07-2013, 12:26 AM   #18
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Thanks to education, there comes a point where 'historical beliefs' or 'cultural differences' don't fly in this day and age - there -is- a definitive right and wrong.

Much like shark finning or gender inequality, certain ideologies are wrong despite any sort of belief or cultural boundary.
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Old 08-07-2013, 12:34 AM   #19
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But who's to say "our" belief system is any better than theirs? Hell, even here there are clashes over what's considered to be right and wrong.
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Old 08-07-2013, 12:49 AM   #20
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From interwebs:

What you have to understand is that Russia is a very conservative country that never got around to a proper, linear sexual revolution with more things gradually becoming more acceptable. There also weren't any "waves" of feminism, as women were granted all rights and responsibilities right after the revolution and there wasn't the sort of gradual acceptance like there was in the West. Those things are related. Homosexuality was only decriminalized very recently, and taken off the list of mental illnesses very begrudgingly without much public debate around the issue. When the Soviet Union started falling apart, pretty much everything was instantly allowed, porn, prostitution, all at once were out in the open like a shock wave, so the sexuality of a typical Russian is a really weird thing.

You're expected to get married and have kids, the younger the better. There is a lot more involvement of your parents and grandparents in a traditional Russian family, many people even live with their parents after getting married and having kids, because realty is very expensive. At the same time, there is a sort of neurotic sexuality everywhere. Russians are very promiscuous. Infidelity is excepted, divorce is almost guaranteed. Sex is supposed to be that thing men do to women, too, which is a remnant of the former, more conservative times. Sex is somehow both a taboo humiliating act done to another person and a normal thing. You're expected to be sexually active, but at the same time, you're also shamed for it quite a lot. The image of any sexual deviation from a certain norm is pretty much a caricature. People confuse transsexuals, homosexuals and pedophiles, too. And this is in a country where you're not even supposed to look weird.

The prison culture also has a very strong influence. Lots of people, even educated people, know prison slang and basic laws and rules of prison life. One of those laws is that, basically, the guy who's at the end of the food chain is supposed to take it up the ass. That is a very shameful thing.

Then there is the concept of "tolerance" which is almost a swear word in the media. Basically, to distance us from the west, we are told that the West is on decline, because they allow various minorities more rights than "normal people", and they allow women too many rights, so their birth rates are down and they'll all be replaced with Arabs soon. Demographics is a very important issue here, because the population is aging and dying out. There is a derogatory term "tolerast" which is a combination of tolerant + pederast, that describes someone who would allow themselves to be dominated by all those "lesser" beings. The remnant of the idea of an outside enemy who wants to destroy mother Russia by making it weak is pretty strong, too, and a strong Russia is something people want. Then there is the issue that this is a poor country and people have a lot of bigger problems than simple social acceptance. Basically, if you can't afford to raise your children, you still have to live with your mom at 30, and your hospital has rats and no central heating, you don't have the capacity to worry about someone's feelings. Human rights activists are viewed as rich, sheltered fools like those people you might see on /r/TumblrInAction[1] . There isn't much of an open discourse.

A whole series of laws appeared at approximately the same time, and I personally think they're a reaction to a strong forming opposition: any organization with foreign funding is supposed to register as a "Foreign agent", which does pretty much nothing, mostly affects charities and makes them seem like CIA spies; you may no longer "offend people's religious feelings", which was written specifically after the Pussy Riot thing; and then there's the law forbidding "propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia to minors" which was later changed to "denying traditional values". Basically, it's a pretty strong ideological attack on people who aren't happy with the current government. You don't like something? You're an American spy and you want to molest children and you also take it up the ass.
Interesting, but that thoughtful outline of the bigger picture doesn't sell newspapers. It's better to say 'RUSSIA WILL ARREST ALL GAY ATHLETES'

Also, since when did the Olympics become the correct platform to celebrate any kind of sexuality? It is a sports event - why don't we keep it as that. What if they wanted to setup a SWINGERS House at the next Olympics, celebrating partner swapping and non-monogamous behavior. Like a lead balloon.
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:44 AM   #21
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But IS it a belief system or a sign of oppression? What if the law was a mixed race couple could not show affection in public? Would it be the same thing? We are not talking about a "cultural" belief in the sense of wearing shoes inside is bad. This is discrimination, no?

I'm not one to fall victim to the mainstream media's attempted correlation between this and the 1936 game but I must admit, it isn't that far off.

And, I tend to disagree...I think it is more than just a sporting event. The IOC itself brings politics into by promoting sport as a "human right for all".
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:36 AM   #22
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:43 AM   #23
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Interesting, but that thoughtful outline of the bigger picture doesn't sell newspapers. It's better to say 'RUSSIA WILL ARREST ALL GAY ATHLETES'

Also, since when did the Olympics become the correct platform to celebrate any kind of sexuality? It is a sports event - why don't we keep it as that. What if they wanted to setup a SWINGERS House at the next Olympics, celebrating partner swapping and non-monogamous behavior. Like a lead balloon.
It's a political issue.

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Old 08-07-2013, 07:01 AM   #24
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i'm not boycotting the Olympics or anything Russian, but I do tend to agree with what Obama says, "there should be a basic right for every individual in the world"

Maybe i'm too much of an optimist, the world ain't all sunshine and rainbows i realize that, but i hope that one day we're forward enough were as a universal society we don't discriminate against race, religion, gender nor sexuality.

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Old 08-07-2013, 07:30 AM   #25
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Like a tweet I just read, "asking a Canadian athlete to boycott the Olympics is like going to Harvard for 4 years and passing on the degree"

No point to take away people's life long goals for another countries views.
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