Thursday, April 17, 2008

Olympic farce: the subcontinent

The torch of shame did Islamabad last night, with 60 athletes carrying it round the track of a stadium in front of a tiny invite-only crowd, guarded by thousands of armed police. The only way the public could watch it was on television. It was a little bit of Beijing, right there in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, in India, the protests have already started, with 50 Tibetian exiles being arrested after breaching security to demonstrate in front of the Chinese embassy. Another group were arrested after staging an alternative rally along the official route. And so the world's largest democracy colludes to protect the reputation of the world's largest dictatorship...

The torch is supposed to do its New Delhi leg today, along a drastically shortened course, but it is unclear whether anyone will be allowed to watch, and officials won't even say what time it starts. So, they can have their relay, but only if they run it in secret with an army guarding it.