Apparently the organisers of the first European games in Baku have pretty well paid for the British team to attend.
I know it’s hardly blood diamonds, but people are still asking questions about it.
But I know a chap who was in with a damned good chance of representing us at the Moscow Olympics back in 1980. He’d spent an awful lot of time training and what happened? There were all sorts of people saying how shocking it was that we were sending athletes to the Soviet Union after they’d invaded Afghanistan, and eventually his sport pulled out. He never got his chance. Four years later it’s a different world, he’s four years older; he’d quite literally missed the boat.
The problem with ‘sports boycotts’ is that they enable people to ‘send a message’, feel smug AND sanctimonious, and at no cost. If the British team don’t go to Baku, frankly I’d never notice. I’m unlikely to watch the games. (Let’s not beat about the bush, if they held the games in Barrow I doubt I could work up the enthusiasm to watch them.)
But firstly there are a lot of people who enjoy this sort of sport. Even more there are people who’ve trained with eye watering dedication, all their lives, just to get a chance to compete at this level.
Now then; I could demand we boycott Baku; feel smug when we do, tell people that we’ve shown ‘them’ what we think of ‘them’ and it hasn’t cost me a penny. Indeed I’ve suffered nothing.
Screwed some other poor beggar’s life but one cannot have petty moral victories without some cost.
I must admit I rather regard athletics and sport as part of the entertainment industry. Long distant runners probably get out more than rock guitarists and might even be healthier, but they’re part of the same industry.
So I suppose as a writer I’m also part of the same industry as well. Should I announce that I want to ban my books being sold in Baku?
As an aside it might be worth it for the free publicity and the chance of a couple of column inches in the Guardian.
But actually, I’ve had a better idea. This way you, the honest reader, can take a stand for liberty and democracy.
It’s beautifully simple.
Or http://www.amazon.com/War-2-2-Tsarina-Chronicles-Webster-ebook/dp/B00U0OE23W/&tag=ethings-21 if you’re American.
Then you can pre-order a copy of the book. The cunning plan is that if decent people buy them all, it’ll mean there’s none left for tyrants and rogue states.
That’ll show them we mean business!