Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Get used to the Olympic protests

Three public appearances for the Olympic torch, three nasty protests. Get used to it, get ready for more and, almost certainly, get ready for worse.

There is no chance that the path from here to Beijing in August will be a tranquil one.

For those who have made a free Tibet their cause, this is a unique, historic opportunity. They'll never have the planet's attention like this again. For anyone else among the legions who have a grievance with the government of China, now is the moment to grab the spotlight.

And since the Chinese response when challenged tends to be light on public-relations niceties, light on hand-holding diplomacy and heavy on defiance and force — consider that the first volley in Canada was to summon reporters to an audience with China's ambassador to Canada so he could call the Dalai Lama a liar — the stage is set for a moment of reckoning about what the modern Olympic Games are really about.

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