I'm shocked by the suggestion that we boycott the Olympics because of China's crackdown on Tibet. The games are a beautiful reminder that it is possible for humans to put aside their differences and compete as brothers and sisters, abiding by a system of fair play, thrilling in the simple joys of competition. It's intolerable that this sacred tradition be disrupted just because a few heads are bashed, a few homes burned, a few monks disappear. Surely we're bigger than that.
Instead, we could use this situation as a chance to reinforce an important Olympic principle: no matter how horrendously a host country behaves, there is nothing it can do that will dissuade us from flocking to its capital and pouring millions of dollars into the economy while dully absorbing their happy-face propaganda. We must keep in mind that timeless Olympic message: if your land is stolen, your livelihood denied, your religious traditions obliterated, your sacred treasures destroyed, don't despair! Raise your eyes to the beauty of the Olympic torch as it is trotted through your gutted land, to the capital of your oppressors.
What is going on in Tibet may be seen as a form of sport in its own right, a thrilling, pre-Olympic warm-up: the Chinese beat, harass and imprison Tibetans; the Tibetans cower, run away, are imprisoned. The Chinese hit and shoot; Tibetans fall, bleed, die. Later, the world shows up in Beijing, cash in hand.
As we consider the ultimate justice of this issue, we must return again and again to the essential question: who is richer, China or Tibet? Well, that's easy, since technically Tibet no longer exists because, when China invaded, it declared that, since Tibet had always been part of China, China was not invading Tibet but kindly liberating it. After the kindly non-invasion liberation (once the corpses had been removed from the streets, that is), Tibetans, already poor, got poorer due to the looting of their country or, more precisely, "righteous socialist redistribution". The fact that this made the Tibetans vastly poorer and the Chinese Han population vastly richer is, perhaps, testimony to the Hans' superior dedication to socialist principles.
While it's true that Tibetans are perhaps the most gentle race on the planet; true that they have enriched us with their spiritual tradition; true that China has proven itself time and again, in Tibet and at home, to be brutal and oppressive, we must summon up the better angels of our nature and ignore these facts.
It would be a great tragedy if the sight of a few gentle monks bursting into uncontrollable tears of anguish caused us to abandon the Olympic ideal of international brotherhood.