Wednesday, August 13, 2008

China is having its Olympics

I am happy for the Chinese people. Honestly.

There is a kind of happiness that comes when you know you have been through hell to get to where you are. That is what the Chinese people and their leaders are basking in. For the past 7 days! The Beijing Olympics has kicked off and nobody will wipe it away from World history that the 2008 edition of the global sports event took place in China.

The time difference between Beijing and GMT is 8. This means I have to sit up until the wee hours of the morning to watch games. I am happy to do just that. Even if it is support of the people.

There is a kind of feeling that comes to individuals when they are charactarised by the attitude of their leaders. So the whole world has come to think that Chinese people are the same as the Chinese government. No. People are the same everywhere... even if the governments are different. National pride, the type that makes you go out and yell in streets when your national team wins, that makes you spend just to show off that you are happy that 'it is happening in my country', that pride resides in every human heart.

I do not have all the elements to judge the 'democracity' of the Chinese government, but one thing I know, I was happy to watch the opening ceremony. I was happy they chose a theme that break with the image of the China that the global media has been showing us. ONE WORLD ONE DREAM

People have dreams and everyone has the right to work to accomplish his or her dream, despite their geographic or political location. As I watched the nations parade at the Bird's Nest stadium, I could feel my heart beat. It went wild when countries to which I have an attachment showed up. I was particularly impressed by the big tall Yao Ming and the little boy who survived the earthquake in Sichuan. One African country actually showed up with one athlete! But he had the right to fly his national flag alright! And that is what makes a dream come true!

The Olympics, I have come to believe, is not just about winning medals. It is actually beyond sports. I am convinced that it is a meeting of minds, of people, of dreams and of common ideals. Being there is as important as winning there. Island country citizens have something to write home about. Some of these athletes from the islands, on entering the stadium on the opening ceremony day, were hit by the fact that the number of individuals present at the stadium (91 000) was more than the entire population of their countries.

And the Presidents that came, loads of them... there is something about crowds that politicians cant resist. Hey! Even if they are Presidents or State Officials, who does not want to support his or her national team, who does not love the cheer, the beauty, the wonder and the joy! Presidents or politicians... they too are people!

The Olympics will offer thousands of people the opportunity to go and have a taste of China for themselves. The parallel events are there, the whole country is theirs to visit.. eat, drink, sleep and breathe China. Then judge for yourself! Like they say, experience is the best teacher..

I am pretty sure that after this, people will view China and the Chinese in a different way... They will understand that there are people living there.. One billion three hundred million of them. That is a quarter of the World population. And maybe they will come off with a better respect for the people, and eventually for their leaders..

I also have hopes for the World Cup coming in South Africa. It will be the first in the continent. Already the criticisms are flowing. A million reasons why South Africa cannot, should not not, may not and possibly will not... The very same things we heard for China.. I am convinced that the joy of South Africans will be akin, if not greater, than that of the Chinese. It will not be only Proudly South Africa, it will be Proudly African! It needs to hold. So thousands will have the opportunity to come, drink, eat, sleep and breathe Africa... and eventually judge for themselves..

I hope, I believe, I trust and I will do my little part to make it come true..

One Africa, One World, One Dream. Congratulations China..

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