An Iranian Olympic athlete, a favorite to win the gold in Judo, withdrew from the competition because he refused to fight an Israeli. He refused the honor of being an Olympian and a gold medal because he doesn't like Israel.
He reports "Although I have trained for months and was in good shape I refused to fight my Israeli opponent to sympathize with the suffering of the people of Palestine and I do not feel upset at all."
But shouldn't the spirit of the Olympics supercede political views? Shouldn't we learn from the warm reception that the American's and Iraqi's got during the ceremony, or from North and South Korea marching together, and planning to compete as one team in the next games? With all their problems, they can come together for 2 weeks to compete as one Korea. Thats pretty darn awesome.
I mean I KNOW the Middle East is rippled with antisemitism and hate and problems, and has been for generations and generations, and I KNOW that it won't all be fixed overnight or even in my lifetime, and I'm not in 100% support of the Israeli government's treatment of the Palestinians, but I also feel that it's not ALL Israel's fault. The Palestinian's and their leaders show fault also. And NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, it is NOT COOL to blow up civilians on busses, or malls, etc.
Aren't the Olympics supposed to foster International Unity and Peace. If this Iranian athlete couldn't push it all aside and in the spirit of the Olympics compete with the Israeli athlete, maybe it's a good thing he withdrew, he doesn't deserve to be an Olympian. Besides the fact that it's attitudes like that which will keep the Middle East a continued "problem" area of the world.
And I say it again, maybe I just expect too much from people. But it's still pretty sad to see the hate in the world, and the things it drives people to do.