Compared to Belorussian Olympian, US-hating athletes get off easy

Lavender-haired U.S. Olympian flag-protester Megan Rapinoe and her losing women's soccer team will be returning to the country they so unproudly represented and will undoubtedly continue to trash the US.

Silver medal U.S. Olympian shot put winner Raven Saunders, who protested on the stand as she "raised her arms and crossed them into an X shape," saying it "represented 'the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet,'" will be returning to the country she so unproudly represented and will undoubtedly continue to trash the U.S. 

Bronze medal U.S. Olympian hammer throw winner Gwen Berry, who turned her back on the U.S. flag, will be returning to the country she so unproudly represented and will undoubtedly continue to trash the U.S. 

Not only will they return to the country they so vehemently criticize, but certain populations in this country will consider them heroes and will praise their actions.  They might even get rich off this negativity, making highly paid personal appearances and speeches.  Oh, sure, many Americans will condemn their actions, but these protesters do not have to fear they will be imprisoned — or worse — by the U.S. government the Olympian protesters hate.  As I commented here:

And what better way to represent America in all its diversity, pluralism, and multiculturalism than by criticizing it without fear? Can a Chinese Olympian or Nobel Prize–winner do that and continue to live freely in China? Miss Iraq 2017, Sarah Idan, was forced to flee Iraq and lives in fear of her life because she posed with the enemy, Miss Israel, and spoke the truth about Iraq's and most Muslims' deadly hatred of Jews, Israel, and the U.S. Meanwhile, Berry can criticize this country without fear of imprisonment or even death by government as in those other mentioned countries.

Add Olympian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya of Belarus, a former Soviet state, to the list of people who criticize their country at their own risk — either being imprisoned upon return or forced to defect for their safety.  Claiming "she had been removed from the team due 'to the fact that I spoke on my Instagram about the negligence of our coaches,'" which meant she had to compete in races she didn't know about, she refused to board a flight to her home country after she was literally kidnapped and taken to the Tokyo airport.

The incident on Sunday, first reported by Reuters, highlighted discord in Belarus, a former Soviet state that is run with a tight grip by President Alexander Lukashenko. In power since 1994, he faced a wave of protests last year, which some athletes joined. (snip)

President Lukashenko was faced with mass street demonstrations last year over what his opponents called rigged elections, and ordered a violent crackdown on protesters. The president denies the allegations of vote-rigging. (snip)

In a video published on Telegram by the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation, Tsimanouskaya asked the IOC to get involved in her case.

A source at the foundation, which supports athletes jailed or sidelined for their political views, said Tsimanouskaya planned to request asylum in Germany or Austria on Monday.

While I can't comment on the validity of Tsimanouskaya's accusations and don't know anything about her personal life, her eagerness to forsake her country stands in stark contrast to the U.S. Olympian protesters who aren't about to defect to...oh, say, Cuba.  Or Belarus.


Image: CBS News: The National via YouTube.

Monica Showalter adds:

Yes, the U.S. Olympic team harbors a nasty American-flag-hating bunch, but I don't think there's a comparison between these two incidents.

The Belarusian girl criticized her coach and by extension, the brutal Belarusian state, not her entire country or its people. Her state deserves and should get criticism and sanctions all the time, if not full-blown regime change. The American people, by contrast, do not deserve such criticisms, and their annoyance at the America-haters don't belong in any comparison with the Belarus dictatorship, even one that makes them seem benign in comparison. There's no comparison here at all. 

The Belarusian state acted in the most vile lawless totalitarian manner possible - by forcing the athlete back to a very likely future of imprisonment and torture. This government is so evil that just this year they brought down an international commercial passenger jetliner on a phony claim about a bomb aboard, solely to rake out a dissident on that flight and take him someplace where he has since been jailed and tortured. The America-hating athletes by contrast face the righteous wrath of the American people, not the American state, with no threat of violence, merely a refusal to buy these America-haters' commercially endorsed products and a refusal to watch the Olympic television broadcasts, accompanied by criticisms on platforms like Twitter. That's the First Amendment going on, that's nothing like a state dictatorial act. The American people are just not comparable to the despicable government of Belarus, and no, the Belarus government should not be implicitly cheered for its 'strong hand' or whatever on such matters under any circumstances, let alone be compared to Americans and our G-d-given right to criticize or our exercise of our freedom of choice. 

I am sure this is what Ethel meant but it didn't quite seem obvious enough in the piece.

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