Thursday, 10 April 2008

The Olympic Torch Relay : The Faces Said It All

7 March 2008

Thousands of people who turned out to see yesterday’s London leg of the Olympic torch relay, witnessed how vulnerable and tiny the actual torch looked, carried by a single athlete and surrounded by a group of Chinese looking men in blue and white jogging suits. I couldn’t stop wondering who they were.

Later, I learnt that those Chinese minders were employed by Beijing Olympic Organising Committee to look after the torch and they are to go with the torch on its journey around the world. And they are called “flame attendants”.

News around the world reported how the ugly scenes of protest disrupted the relay and people’s concentration around the farce, violence and ignominy throughout the route. But for me, the most interesting sight was a phalanx of Chinese minders and in particular their faces.

Their rigidly upright bodies with the tight shoulders said they were military trained but what is the most striking for me was their expressions. The faces that could not disguise the anxiety and uneasiness. In fact, they looked so worried and disturbed that they looked like a herd of hyena who had just caught a zebra but were still surrounded by the lions.

They were equipped with communication ear pieces but that’s all, and it was clear how frustrated and strangely vulnerable they looked for not being able to hold guns, as they normally would in China, whenever they are up against protesters.

Those poor men, the employees and servants of the Chinese government with their remarkable behaviour and facial expressions of hyenas are only the reflection of their bosses and superiors. The same hyena-like expression and behaviour also applies to the faces of the Burma Junta, who China helps and supports throughout their oppression of the country’s democracy movements, in exchange of the cheap deal of natural resources.

By Goldie Shwe

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