WHY THE SOCHI OLYMPICS SHOULD BE CANCELLED

With less than 100 days left until the 2014 Sochi Olympics; the world remains on the fence of whether to support or boycott the Games. Sochi was elected as the 2014 Winter Olympic destination in July of 2007, and since then the actions of the Russian government and the organizing committee for the Games have created a dangerous environment for both Russians and visitors alike.

There are three reasons why the International Olympic Committee should cancel the Sochi Olympics.

1) Anti-Gay Laws within Russia

In 2012, when the world seemed to be moving forward in the acceptance of non-traditional relationships and people, Russia moved backwards. The Russian government adopted a federal bill banning the distribution of ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships’ to minors. The law states that you will pay heavy fines if you use the media or Internet to promote ‘non-traditional relationships’.

Media and Internet would include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any social networking site, any site that would tell you when or where a Pride Parade is taking place, any media source talking about pride, anyone or anything representing a “non-traditional person or relationship”, or pretty much anything the government doesn’t see as a good representation (in their opinion) of their country.

Well, as we know, the government has not only enforced these new laws with fines but with horrific beatings and jail time. But don’t worry! President Vladimir Putin has said all international athletes, straight or otherwise will be safe in Russia…

Would you feel safe?

How can a country in the 21st Century still be allowed to discriminate against people for the way that they are? I thought that the world decided that was “not okay” after Adolf Hitler and the Nazis murdered over six million Jewish people just because one man thought they were below him.

The International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Charter states they will ‘act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic movement’.

Check out the Charter for yourself:

http://www.olympic.org/about-ioc-institution

I believe that not allowing any Russians, athletes or not, to show their sexual orientation, whether it be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, would fall under that category of them not allowing a country to discriminate against a party of people. Regardless, the IOC has ignored these issues and is allowing the Sochi Olympics to go on.

2) The Circassian Genocide 

The Russian-Circassian War ensued in 1864; but calling it a war is controversial. Disregarded by the Russian government, the Circassian population living in the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains were invaded and taken over. With over 1.5 million Circassian’s being murdered, it is known as the Circassian Genocide. But, because the Russian government says ‘it never happened’… it never did, at least not in any Russian history books.

The region of Krasnodar will be the destination for the Sochi Olympics,

The Krasnava Polynana Mountains will hold the mountain cluster of the games. Specifically, athletes will be using “Red Hill”; the mountain named after all of the Circassian blood spilt in 1864; where 1.5 million people where murdered.

3) The Not-so-Green Games

When planning the location for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, many environmental concerns were ignored. Geologist Dr. Sergei Volkov stated that there are many environmental and geological problems with the location. He said the land is full of mercury and uranium deposits and that there is a high probability of landslides during the Games. This makes the location incredibly dangerous if true.

Mercury is a very toxic substance, known to affect a person through inhalation and physical contact. When a person inhales mercury, it is extremely toxic to the person. Within 3-10 hours of contact, the person could experience flu-like symptoms that could cause a life-threatening accumulation of fluid inside the lungs or a long-term lung injury. It can also affect the nervous system, which will cause tremors and instability to the person. Uranium doesn’t have an immediate affect on the body like mercury but uranium deposits emit radon gases, which have been proven to cause lung cancer.

Since his statement, Volkov has fled the country in fear of the government.

Not only is the land posing a threat, but the water as well. In October, it was reported that Russia broke its ‘Zero Waste’ Olympic Pledge. The Associated Press found that Russia dumped tons of construction waste into an illegal landfill, raising concerns that the water that will be directly supplying Sochi, has been contaminated.

If the water has been contaminated and the land is in fact dangerous to be on; the 2014 Sochi Olympics should be cancelled.

The 2014 Sochi Olympics should be cancelled. They go against everything that the International Olympic Committee says it stands for. The Russian government is discriminating against people because of their sexual orientation. They are ignoring a 19th century massacre of the indigenous people of Krasnodar. And they have created an unsafe environment for the athletes, visitors, and residents of Sochi. The 2014 Sochi Olympics need to be cancelled.

Callie Warren

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