The Olympic weeks of 2016
The relevance of Olympic split seconds, and millimeters amongst champions vending for the illusion of national pride, and the bloody battle, in full color on our screens, over Aleppo, captured our full attention, last week. Alas, it is summer and cucumber time.
Aleppo is only 103 km, or a two hours drive, straight east, from the coastal city of Antakya, formerly known as Antioch. Antioch to Aleppo was humankind’s Via Dolorosa, where people, cults, religions, and opportunists wielded nothing but bloody axes, paving the roads with crushed skulls and bones. From the Battle of Kadesh (1275 BC), where Egyptian pharaohs and Hittite kings decimated each other’s troops, to the ruthless slaughter of today, the Antioch-Aleppo corridor has been a 4,000-year long theater of continuous bloody battle. What is happening today may be confusing to many, but it is no aberration from history.
Champions, who advance themselves as prime fighters for and instead of fighting masses, came to us in school as role models, like Achilles, Ajax, and Hector, the heroes of Troy. We never stopped cheering for them, even with the modern Olympic Games, when the champions of the world eagerly lend a hand in the new fashion of nation building and establishing racial superiority; athletic achievements seem to be devoid of philosophical consciousness. The heroes---champions and martyrs--- on the Aleppo battlefield, remained anonymous for the world.
Martyrs, counter-heroes, and our compassion with losers, created martyrology and shaped Jewish, Christian and Muslim cultures. In Christianity, Jesus Christ became the ultimate champion-martyr of all times.
A supposedly premature departure of a flight from Rio to Schiphol with Olympic losers became last week’s “Flight of Martyrs.” Two other Dutch Olympic losers, one individual and one team, who only received silver laurels, spit out their repugnance in full display for the world press; they behaved like spoiled little children. It was a performance that made everyone wanting to puke. The Olympic Games were no longer a joyous feast, a competing for youth, but a selfish contest of ruthless megalomaniacs.
How many of the champions of Antioch-Aleppo, from Ramesses, Alexander the Great, and Seleucus, to Jesus, Mohammed, An-Nasir Salah ad-Din, would have gone to Rio to defend the honor of their people, and on which flight do you think they would have returned, the Champions or the Martyrs flight?
By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Opinion Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle