Games of the non-commonwealth has lessons for Sri Lanka
Posted on October 10th, 2010

Ajit Randeniya

 Another episode of the farce known as the Commonwealth Games started on October 3 in Delhi, following high drama created by the western corporate media. The people of India however, could not care less about the circus, and they kept away in droves while the contests were taking place in empty venues.

 The obvious, justifiable frustration of the ordinary Indians was exemplified by Asamanja Ghose, a writer to the Times of India online, who posed some extremely pertinent questions: “We shouldn’t have organised the Games at all. The country which in 63 years of independence hasn’t been able to provide proper living houses, clean drinking water, uninterrupted electricity, full time jobs, healthy food, clean air and free education to all its citizens despite spending trillions of dollars is sinking into the slime and grime of corruption and bad governance trying to pull off an international sporting event”.

 There are lessons for Sri Lanka here, if we are seriously “ƒ”¹…”bidding’ to host this farce. The obvious questions are, can the country justify the enormous cost (billions of dollars) of staging the “ƒ”¹…”Games’ and are there better uses the money could be put to? The objective of this posting is to pose these questions in the light of the totally “ƒ”¹…”dead’ nature of the so-called Commonwealth and the Indian experience.

 Firstly about the Commonwealth: the collective histories of the 54 nations that form the membership of this body with its benefactor Britain makes it an anomaly of enormous proportions: it is an “ƒ”¹…”on-going’, illegitimate “ƒ”¹…”partnership’ between the British, who had been committing unspeakable crimes of genocide, rape, and plunder of riches until the uppity adventures of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Emperor Hirohito upset the apple cart, and the victims of their crimes!

 The increasing irrelevance of the Commonwealth to the people in the former colonies is evidenced by a Royal Commonwealth Society-RCS (formerly known as the Royal Empire Society) report titled ‘An Uncommon Association, A Wealth of Potential’; following its largest-ever public consultation on the future of the Commonwealth across seven countries, the RCS reported that only one-third of the people knew what it was! It is gasping for breath and is being kept alive only through a biennial holiday to member country leaders, packaged as a Heads of Government Meeting, and the “ƒ”¹…”Commonwealth’ Games, held every four years.

 Now we come to the Games and the events leading to the current Delhi Games. Due to the vain Anglo-Saxon (talk of a mixed breed!) efforts to rival the Olympics as the prime international sports meeting, the British and their cousins (Canada, Australia and New Zealand) do not like to grant the Games to developing countries: these four countries have hosted the event 13 times between them, with the gloss taken away of the 1986 Games when 32 nations boycotted because of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s objections to sanctions against apartheid. Malaysia’s bid and successful hosting in 1998 was considered an aberration! It is against this background the extraordinary western media attack on the integrity, pride and capabilities of the Indian nation during the two week period leading up to the current Games need to be considered.

 The farcical Games were scheduled to start on October 3, but the media contingents from Australia, Canada and New Zealand descended in Delhi at least two weeks prior to the opening and started a vile campaign based on a chorus of “ƒ”¹…”lack of preparation’ on the part of the organisers.

 In order to let facts not stand in the way of this vicious and most uncivil onslaught, they chose to ignore the fully completed facilities such as the swimming pools, the velodrome, and the running tracks, and concentrated on the Games Village, that was on the way to completion during the 12 period preceding the opening : they complained of dirty rooms, stained beds, and filthy toilets as well as rogue dogs and vandal construction workers.

 Of course, according to Indian thinking and approach to things, the cleaning of the newly constructed building was always going to be completed by the date of the opening of the games, but reporting such Indian confidence was not helpful to the message the western corporate media had in mind! This is why it was “ƒ”¹…”manna from heaven’ when a foot over-bridge near the main Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium collapsed!

 Interestingly, the adverse propaganda campaign led to the colonial boot licking president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, a Jamaican named Michael Fennell, to almost “ƒ”¹…”order’ the Indian government to take steps to immediately “ƒ”¹…”fix’ the problems. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh obliged by holding a meeting with union ministers and the organising committee!

 Few of the participants, such as the Australian heifer named Dani Samuels, a supposed “ƒ”¹…”world champion’ in that most elegant of the sports (not!), the discus throw, pulled out of the games, due apparently to “ƒ”¹…”filthy’ accommodation and security fears. The fading Australian sporting “ƒ”¹…”superstar’ named Jane Fleming (who gained national notoriety for faking a leg injury at the Barcelona Olympics!) added her “ƒ”¹…”two cents worth’ by announcing in disjointed English that: “The fact that someone of Dani’s stature has withdrawn I’m sure is making a whole lot of others question their attendance”.

 The subtext of all the media reports was that: it’s a sign that India is not ready for the Games and the infrastructure here is not “world class”. More explicitly, the reports made the ridiculous suggestion that India had hoped to use the Games to display its growing global economic and political influence rivaling neighbour China which put on a spectacular 2008 Beijing Olympics and they failed spectacularly, damaging the country’s reputation! Moody’s Analytics, a unit of the Moody’s rating agency (who gave Lehman Brother’s “ƒ”¹…”junk bonds’ that caused the American Financial Crisis of 2008 an “ƒ”¹…”AAA’ rating!) said investment in India could be damaged as a result.

 All this while the event cost the Indians an more than US$6 billion: significant money was spent to beat the other bidder, the Canadian city Hamilton; at the in the final poll held in Jamaica in 2003, India offered all member nations $US100,000 each for their vote, outbidding the Hamilton offer of $70,000 each. There were other costs such as those of keeping the chief executive, New Zealander Mike Hooper, for two years in Delhi to supervise progress, in a mansion rented at US$36000 a month; it is easy to understand as to why he described the accommodation at the Games village as “filthy” and “uninhabitable”!

 What this types of behaviour proves is that the creation of a so-called “ƒ”¹…”Commonwealth of nations’ by the British at the winding-up of the empire was perhaps an atrocity as evil as the crimes they committed the world over for over a 200 year period. This illogical and irrelevant fraud (the British wealth is not “ƒ”¹…”common’ at all!) has now seen its days.

 The unbelievably shameless adverse propaganda perpetrated by the un-commonwealth officials, the media and some non-entity athletes of Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand against India’s organising of the “ƒ”¹…”Games’ should convince the developing world to put an end to this farce and get on with their nations’ development.

 Any planned expenses for the Games bid and its conduct could better be spent to provide health and education for the poor in Sri Lanka who are not going to be benefited by keeping the Commonwealth alive. So the bid needs to be abandoned.

 The British Empire, whatever name it is hidden under, is a stinking memory of our own experiences as well as Indian events such as the Amritsar massacre and the stealing of the Koh-i-Noor, the largest diamond then known to the world, by (Lord!) Dalhousie of the East India Company.

 The Koh-i-Noor symbolises the unashamed plunder of Indian riches by the British: it was later handed over to Queen Victoria by Dalhousie in 1877 when she declared herself Empress of India, and was set in the crown of the so-called Queen Consort, with the “ƒ”¹…”Queen Mother’ who died in 2002, “ƒ”¹…”inheriting’ the stolen property. It is kept in the Buckingham Palace Art Gallery.

 When Elizabeth II made a state visit to India in 1997 to mark the 50th anniversary of Independence, several Sikh MPs demanded the return of the diamond. Keeping true to form, she declared that “the multiplicity of competing claims makes it impossible to establish the gem’s former ownership”. In an interview July this year, the new Prime Minister, David Cameron, stated that the gem could not be returned to India as the move would set an unworkable precedent: “If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty.”Sir Humphrey Appleby (of Yes, Minister) would have been proud of that line!

Let’s can the Games.

9 Responses to “Games of the non-commonwealth has lessons for Sri Lanka”

  1. gdesilva Says:

    The entire concept of the so-called Commonwealth must be questioned not just the Games. The wealth becomes common when the wealthy can have free access but not the other way around. Let’s not forget that the ‘Great’ Britain was the main player in getting the EU to remove GSP+ from Sri Lanka just to mention one small event – so much for the common wealth they are trying to promote. It is nothing but a mechanism to perpetuate common slavery in developing countries. It is time that the developing nations said ‘enough is enough’.

  2. gunarat Says:

    “Amen”

  3. jayt Says:

    There are million widows living in the concentration camps. there million of hindus and muslim children living in below poverty. These children and their parents should be look after first but not the western games which should be held in the west where they have money for it.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    We should remember that India was divided & Pakistan (East & West) formed at the end of British Rule there. Ironically, today Pakistan (East) in lost in a quagmire of war & confusion ….
    No wonder India is not enthusiastic about the Commonwealth Games !

    Presumably, the C’wealth Games are a prelude to western economic ideas taking root there, big time.

    The brand of western development in wealth creation is questionable. Westernising India up to a point is not a bad idea, particularly where removing Caste Issues (Dalits) is concerned, and modern hygiene facilities made available to one and all there, together with other modern conveniences. As for the rest, India can do without !

    Delving further into the theme of Development :
    Both India & Sri Lanka should use the PHYSICAL QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX in development, not the GDP & the Trickle Down Effect, which are failed policy western policies. The Physical Quality of Life Index measures, among other factors, Life Expectancy, Health Care facilities, Education, Infant Mortality, etc. These are real indicators of well being rather than wealth in the form of paper money, property or business holdings.

    What makes Quality of Life truly better for All ?

    In my book PQLI should measure: Clean Air, Water, Food, Environment. Good Shelter, Clothing, Education geared for country’s needs. Facilities for the needs of the Sick, Poor & Elderly. Family Planning is essential too, and the small family encouraged through tax benefits for the small family.
    Readers, please add some more indices.

  5. AsokaK Says:

    Ajit,
    Heaps of news & reports which the imperialist & Zionist press barons will never publish on:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/

  6. Malinda Says:

    Fran Diaz

    Agree wit heverything.

    One more index: end of newspaper monopoly, (free publication of daily philosphy, poems and other ideas no matter how good or bad thay are).

    Malinda

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    Malinda, here’s more about PQLI as a measure of real well being. Dr James Grant who was head of UNICEF in the 1980s encouraged Prof David Morris to study the PQLI of 127 countries and Lanka fared extremely well in the PQLI study at that time.

    Prof. David Morris of Browns University, USA, (1996), said re the poorer countries of the world : “These improvements did not come because of World Bank or USAID support. The gains have come mainly from the mobilization of indigenous capacities. Development experts are blind to the fact that some of the world’s poorest people have always had to adapt to the changing demands of exacting environments, and have done so with considerable skill.

    Rising PQLI numbers show that there is vitality, creativity and genuine organizational potential that can be mobilized to directly improve the conditions of poor countries. To take advantage of these indigenous capacities requires us to reduce the single-minded focus on rapid economic growth measures. The pallid justification that growth benefits will trickle down to benefit the world’s poor in the long run ignores the truth that in the long run we are all dead. Strategies to increase the opportunities for the world’s poor in their lifetimes require investing in human capital in new ways. Foreign donors, official as well as non-governmental organizations, must learn to be true partners who can give up the power of the purse and accept the validity of working through indigenous institutions”.

    Dr Morris was Professor of Sociology & Professor of Comparative Study of Development, Browns Univ, USA, as well as Prof. of Economics, Washington Univ, Seattle, USA.

    You can Google “PQLI” and get a lot more information on this topic.

  8. cassandra Says:

    Ajit,

    For me, the crucial paragraph you have written is that in which you say, “Any planned expenses for the Games bid and its conduct could better be spent to provide health and education for the poor in Sri Lanka who are not going to be benefited by keeping the Commonwealth alive. So the bid needs to be abandoned”.

    The 64,000 dollar question is, “Will SL in fact abandon the bid for the doubtful distinction of hosting this silly competition?”

    I, for one, am not holding my breath.

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    In order to remain a Non-aligned Nation, Lanka will have to please the East & the West, and its regional countries. It’s good for Lanka’s “political health” to remain Non-aligned. GoSL was accused of going too far East, so now its time to swing a bit to the West ! Therefore the possible involvement with the Commonwealth Games. Being Non-aligned in Lanka’s geo-political reality is costly business, either way. Please correct me if I am wrong.
    Lately, Mr Ban Ki Moon is actually praising Lanka ! Wow – how thrilling !

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