The Corner

Torch To Be Extinguished?

This might be good news:

The International Olympic Committee may scrap the international leg of the Beijing Olympic torch relay as a result of the protests over China’s military crackdown in Tibet. Jacques Rogge, the IOC President, says the organisation’s executive board will meet on Friday to debate whether to allow the torch to continue its 85,000-mile, 21-country journey…The IOC is holding its last official meetings in the Chinese capital this week with organisers of the Beijing games. Gunilla Lindberg, a Swedish IOC member, said that the protests surrounding the torch relay were “damaging the Olympic movement”. “I think it is very sad. I get angry,” Ms Lindberg said. “Using the torch this way is almost a crime. This is the property of the IOC, it is not a Chinese torch.”

Frankly, Ms. Lindberg, it makes little difference to which unaccountable, dictatorial bureaucracy the torch belongs. However if this wretched Swede wants an alternative solution to the torch mess, the proposed itinerary does offer one intriguing possibility:

After San Francisco the torch is next due to visit Buenos Aires, Dar Es Salaam, Muscat, Islamabad, Mumbai, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Canberra, Nagano, Seoul, Pyongyang, Ho Chi Minh City, and Taipei. It then arrives on the Chinese territory of Hong Kong, moving on through Macao for a grand tour of mainland China before arriving in Beijing on August 2, two days before the start of the games.

Pyongyang! Gunnilla, why not take  the torch in Pyongyang, and let it stay there – I can think of no better place for it. And while you are staying in that congenial, comfortably totalitarian capital, why not give the people of London a break and arrange for the 2012 games to be transferred to the tender care of Kim Jong Il? In perpetuity.

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