17 August 2008

Defectors and Traitors

When one decides to leave a totalitarian regime, one “defects” which is an antiseptic modern euphemism for escaping.

Cuban athletes that escape Fidel Castro’s stable of athletes are said to be “defecting.”

As an aside, it’s interesting how there have been no defections of Cuban athletes in the Totalitarian Olympics in Beijing……..I wonder why…….

When athletes in any other country decide to live and work in another country, they just move. When Cuban athletes decide to do the same, it’s an international incident.

The United States is home to athletes from a host of countries and when international competitions come around no-one bats an eyelash when these athletes choose to represent their native countries. Many Olympians from other countries live and train right here in South Florida, for example.

Cuban athletes who decide to leave Cuba and purse happiness somewhere else are labeled traitors to their country and, more importantly, to the revolution that has given them everything. They are not allowed to represent their country ever again though many would probably like to. They are stripped of their citizenship and birthright.

The rest of the world shrugs this violation of human rights off as the eccentricity of Cuba’s fiery benevolent dictator for life, Fidel. Crazy Cuban quaintness.

In the rest of the world it’s a totally different story.

In these 2008 Totalitarian Olympics we are even being treated to an American athlete, Becky Hammon, who did not make the US women’s Olympic Basketball team and was offered Russian citizenship so that she can play on the Russian squad.

Becky and the Reds

Hammon’s questionable decision to turn her back on her country so that she could fulfill her life-long dream of being an Olympian has not made many headlines. Everyone just shrugs it off as if it was no big deal. And I have yet to see Dubya writing a reflection denouncing her as a traitor and chastising the Imperialist Putin for luring her away with his Petro-Rubbles and Stolichnaya Elit Vodka.

Here in America, many people actually defend her asinine and selfish choice. And while other folks like me bid her good riddance and hope they tear up her passport and put her on the terror-watch list, the vast majority couldn’t care less.

As a matter of fact, Jim Lampley interviewed the newly naturalized Russian lass today and very diplomatically asked her if she felt a tug of her heartstrings when the American delegation marched into the “Bird’s Nest” in Beijing. She said no and deflected the question by saying that she did feel a little jealousy because Team USA's outfits “were so cool.”

Now I can see why Ms. Hammon made the decision to represent the country that pioneered a political system that is responsible for the deaths of 100 Million souls, and as evidenced by recent events seems to be flirting with the notion reclaiming its former “glory,” and justifies it as merely a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” Pure shallowness.

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