report on Play the Game (h/t Zeljko Blace) on the political repression in Bahrain, and the lack of response of the IOC to the attacks on athletes:
So the initial restraint soon came to an end, and the Bahraini regime, urged and reinforced by the nervous Saudis, began to clamp down on any protest actions in a suddenly very violent manner. Moreover, the government also started applying very shrewd tactics, beginning to persecute in a systematic and brutal fashion some categories of people whose well-known faces and popularity among the crowds would have created a bad image for the rulers. So they started arresting and jailing athletes, artists and journalist, while others 'disappeared', were assaulted or simply were barred from carrying out their sports activities or their jobs. (Similar targeting has more recently begun to be exercised against groups such as teachers, engineers and businessmen).
When athletes and sports officials in Bahrain started witnessing these actions against many of their colleagues, they were obviously getting scared and started to find methods to get the information out to their contacts abroad, in addition to the rather meager coverage in international media. They sent a petition to the IOC, FIFA, IHF, FIBA and various other federations, and they contacted friends abroad. In this manner I personally got confirmation of the jailing of several players on the national handball team, an international referee, and several officials of the Bahrain Handball Association. I was urged to help spread the news in the hope that this would speed up action.
It should be noted that the Bahraini government has been completely unashamed of publicly stating their intentions. In a YouTube video, the young Prince Nasser who has been placed as President of the Bahrain Olympic Committee can be heard expressing, in a hateful and menacing manner, that all those who speak out against the government will be hunted down and cannot escape. The President of the Football Federation, another prominent member of the royal family, announced that athletes had no rights to free speech; they must stay quiet and remain loyal to their government. In other words, what is going on is not exactly a secret to anyone, and it is clear that athletes are persecuted also in the absence of any accusations of crimes but simply on the basis of voicing their opinions in public.
Accordingly I found it necessary and urgent to inquire with senior officials of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), about the conspicuous absence of public statements or any other form of action on the part of the IOC. The IOC's normally shows a rather obsessive insistence on autonomy for the sports movement and more specifically on the absolute prohibition against government interference. Even much less drastic cases, such as interference in federation elections and operations have quickly caused IOC to resort to suspensions and other punishment.
I noted that, given the ongoing role of the government of Bahrain, where they (just like in many other 'similar' countries, and amazingly tolerated by the IOC) totally manage or even dominate the sports scene, it would be necessary to apply as much pressure as possible, such as making it publicly known around the world that the IOC investigating the situation on an emergency basis.This just might cause the Bahraini government to come to its senses. After all, the situation literally involves life and death; it is not a minor bureaucratic issue that can be handled quietly and with low priority.
However, the scary and mind-boggling answer I have received essentially suggests that IOCmust proceed quietly and without jumping to conclusions, while awaiting more facts and evidence! I fully understand that one must be careful about throwing around accusations or verdicts, but surely there is no legal constraint involved in relying on petitions from large numbers of athletes and unanimous media reports as a basis for stating publicly that an urgent investigation is underway.
Instead, the IOC says it has requested clarifications from the Bahraini Olympic Committee, which is headed precisely by the person who has publicly stated the intention to hunt down athletes and officials who try to exercise human rights in the form of free speech. The unmistakable impression is that it is more important not to embarrass the Prince in public than it is to get the persecution, jailing and beating of athletes stopped as soon as possible!
Read in full HERE.
|7-9 September 2012|
Brussels Gay Sports will offer a weekend of fun and fairplay in the capital of Europe, with volleyball, swimming, badminton, and tennis, as well as fitness and hiking.
Learn more HERE.
|26-28 October 2012|
The success of the first edition of the QueergamesBern proved the need for an LGBT multisport event in Switzerland. This year will be even bigger, with badminton, bowling, running, walking, floorball.
Learn more HERE.
|17-20 January 2013|
Sin City Shootout
The 7th Sin City Shootout will feature softball, ice hockey, tennis, wrestling, basketball, dodgeball, bodybuilding and basketball.
Learn more HERE.
|13-16 June 2013|
IGLFA Euro Cup
After this year's edition in Budapest at the EuroGames, the IGLFA Euro Cup heads to Dublin for 2013, hosted by the Dublin Devils and the Dublin Phoenix Tigers.
Learn more HERE.