the sochi effect

9e95b9c5460c816b632aab3d6c605c73 it’s time for the olympics. the winter ones, of course. and i’m semi-excited. ok. i’m not really excited at all. but, i know me. and as soon as news networks and twitter and Facebook friends begin posting stuff about the olympics, i will climb on board the olympic excitement train and get all caught up in curling (who knew that existed before the previous olympics?), figure skating, snowboarding, speed skating, and other events. and, as i do every olympics, the opening ceremonies will cause a tear to fall down my cheek. that is always a great moment of global unity, in my opinion.

but, this year, there is much, much more on my mind as well. and, maybe i will not climb on the olympic spirit train…

i suppose you could say that it’s hesitation. and concern. now, i’ve never been to russia so i know nothing about it first-hand. and i try not to judge a country i have not visited because they can be so completely different than expected – in good and bad ways. at least that’s what i’ve experienced. but, i must admit it, i am worried. scared, even. and, of course, i am angry.

right now all of the news seems to be about whether sochi is ready to host the olympics or not. can they handle the crowds? will there be violence or terrorism? on the news today there were reports that the accommodations for athletes are not up to par. the photos they showed were of fairly bare rooms, with toilets that you cannot put toilet paper in. instead, you use the trash can for the paper.

my first reaction to the “sub-par” conditions at hotels and such is this: suck it up. you are in another country and things will not be like they are at home. that’s what happens in different countries. and it is one of the beauties of travel – experiencing different cultures and ways of life, seeing how other people live, discovering and exploring. but, you must do this with an open mind. and with the expectation that things will not be the same. this is an adventure, and you will have stories galore to tell. not to mention, you will learn so much about yourself.

now, there is another issue that hits much more closely to home for me and you all have heard about it, i’m sure: LGBT rights. in russia, it is now illegal to be gay. and, from what i have read and seen, it is completely acceptable to bully, attack, and beat up any gay person or ally. it’s just horrible. ridiculous. and sickening.

and so, i am having a hard time reconciling the olympics (a global, unifying event) being in Β this country where not all people are accepted. i could go on and on, but instead, i am going to leave you with a video. a very, very, very disturbing video. it is very graphic, so if you are sensitive, do not watch it. instead, read this article from gq:

iron-closet-gq-magazine-february-2014-russia-01

but, if you think you can handle it, here is the video. it is so important for us to be aware.Β warning! graphic & disturbing!

peace, love, and equality. xx

8 comments

  1. As much as I love the Olympics, I won’t watch. I have heard too many disturbing reports of what’s going on over there. From the anti-gay violence and intolerance to the killing of stray animals, it’s just not worth it to me.

  2. Peace. Love. Equality. Absolutely Liz! I cheer on what you concluded with. I began laughing with your writing at the opening, and nodding all the way through, but I won’t watch the awful video. This point does need to be discussed and remembered – it’s a human rights violation happening right now. Definitely sickening. And is a damper on the Olympics for sure, considering one aspect I love about the Games is the coming together of all of us – a global game. That means ALL of us. I pray they wake up soon and reverse that horrific policy. Thanks for bravely sharing this important post.
    Hugs of solidarity, Gina

    • liz

      Oh, dear Gina, thank you for your comment. Yes, we all breathlessly hope that one day soon all people will be considered equal. Besides, isn’t our diversity what makes us beautiful as a world? xoxo

  3. I watched the video and was really shocked! I knew that Russia had a problem with LGBT but those stories are incredible – incredibly sad.

    • liz

      I know. It’s just sick. I had no idea the level of it was this bad – and to think that type of violence and hate crime are supported (or at least not punished) by the government. Just sick! It is so important for us to spread the word that it really is like this in different parts of the world. Thanks for braving the video, Laura! xo

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