Russia, never a leading proponent of human rights, continues to make headlines for its public and private persecution of its GLTB citizens. Now Sochi officials are rounding up and poisoning their hundreds of neglected stray dogs in an effort to clean up the streets before the tourists get there. And the journalists who have arrived early to cover the events are Tweeting about the disgusting and sometimes dangerous conditions they're finding in their woefully unprepared hotels.
Sounds like a great place to visit!
Admittedly, I don't really care about the Olympics or any other sports. However, I do have a great deal of respect for the Olympic athletes, who sacrifice and train hard to master their chosen discipline. In their work, I find parallels to mine, and in their dedication and achievements, I find inspiration. I wish them well, and I don't fault them for going to Sochi, even our gay Olympians, who surely must find this a great conflict. The same goes for the journalists, who are doing their jobs. We don't always get to choose where we work.
But even if I lived for the Olympics, I would not spend a dime to go to Sochi. I won't contribute to the fundraisers to send the athletes' parents there, either. I won't sport any Olympic parephenalia, and I won't shed a single tear for tourists who go to Sochi and get sick from the disgusting water or have a miserable time in unprepared, badly thrown together hotels or fall victim to some scam or other. Sorry, but it serves you right.
Tourists should boycott these games. There shouldn't be a cent going into Russian coffers. The government is actively persecuting gays, and refusing to protect them from being terrorized, kidnapped, tortured, and humiliated by private citizens who are no more than thugs. Even if you think being gay is a lifestyle choice with which you disagree, you should be disgusted and appalled by what is being done to fellow human beings.
Russia certainly isn't the only place with a terrible human rights record. And I am quite sure that there are plenty of Russians who don't agree with these policies. Lord knows I'm certainly not proud of everything my government does. But as the NY Times editorial linked above states, "the charter of the International Olympic Committee, which calls sport a 'human right' and states that 'every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind.'" Clearly this isn't possible in Sochi, and the choice of Russia as a location for the 2014 Winter Olympics is hypocritical in the extreme.
The (incredibly lame) slogan of the Sochi Olympic is Hot. Cool. Yours. Tormenting citizens and mistreating animals is neither hot nor cool, and "yours" only pertains to the right kind of people as determined by the Russian government.
Boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics.