(* With apologies to my lesbian friends! XXXXX)
Sochi is turning out to be a bit of a PR nightmare for Vlad the Dictator, and it’s next to impossible for me not to savour the schadenfreude.
Despite the exorbitant cost (30 billion smackers is more than Eric Pickles spends on cake each year!) the whole shebang aint ready. By all accounts the accommodation is a shambles, there are missing manhole covers in the streets and the rest of the world sniggered up its sleeve as the Olympic Rings flowered at the opening ceremony – or most of them!
It would be nice to think that this is karma bitch-slapping the hell out of Russia for the sort of homophobic claptrap that this country sort of climbed out of with the repeal of the egregious Section 28. Sadly it is more likely just a demonstration, were it needed, that the bribery and corruption that is rife in Russia STILL can’t get a decent job done – whether or not the despot is “elected”.
I am not among those that would call for athletes to boycott the games. In the long run I think that would achieve far less and I cannot, in all good nature, begrudge their participation in something for which they have trained so long and so hard for something over which they have no control.
In any case, a boycott is one day’s news! Far more effective is the drip-drip of little stories coming out (phnarrr!) from Sochi which is keeping Putin’s homophobia up in the headlines day after day. Kudos to Dutch snowboarder Cheryl Maas who became the first athlete to show a protest with her rainbow and unicorn decorated gloves. Kudos to Channel 4 and Google for their uncompromising support for equality. And as for that German team uniform? Homage to1972 and Munich my arse!!
Putin’s homophobic law would have made an international stink at any time, but is all the more embarrassing when he’s trying to convince the world that Russia deserves to host an event that should be all about inclusivity. He says that we would be welcome in Sochi, provided that we “leave the children alone”. This, by far, is the most insensitive, ignorant and offensive part of his backward stance. It means that either believes that homosexuality is a choice or that we’re all paedophiles. Either way he is wrong and displaying a level of ignorance and intolerance that should be out of place in a world leader in the 21st century.
Fortunately, the rest of the world, or at least that part of the world that has dragged itself kicking and screaming from the dark ages or is not suffering from the backlash of post colonial christian bigotry, is sticking it’s finger up at Putin and hollering “swivel”. Perhaps he should try it – after all they do say that the bigger the homophobe the bigger the closet case!