By Michaela Gates, Staff Writer
The Olympics games are slated to start this week in South Korea and I am absolutely dumbfounded as to why North Korea is being allowed to participate in the games at all. Given the nation’s litany of heinous acts, the way they humiliate their athletes, and the fact they are a general threat to world safety; why not send a message and bar them from the games.
The Olympic games were founded as a means to promote sportsmanship as well as good will amongst nations. They were essentially meant to be athletic competition in its purest forms and a chance for athletes to compete for their country of origin for nothing more than pride.
When one peaks into North Korea as well as the lives their people are forced to live, it seems as though their everyday life is a detriment to everything the games stand for. Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader of North Korea, controls every aspect of Korean people’s lives and is constantly responsible for wide spread famine throughout the country.
One can also not forget about the internment camps that Un has set up all around the country. The camps are used to house those who are deemed a threat to Un’s regime and often times prisoners die from being overworked as well as sleep deprived while in the camps.
I realize that the actions of a nation’s government should not affect it’s Olympic athletes’ eligibility to compete; however following the 2010 World Cup Un’s father Kim Jong Il, had his athletes punished and humiliated for their losses.
According to a 2010 Newsweek article, the athletes were subjected to a four hour barrage of criticism from North Korean political figures and some reported the head coach of the team was in fear of his life.
While this was eight years ago, not much has changed in Korea other than Un replacing Il, both are equally unstable as well as sadistic. While I understand the gesture of letting these athletes compete, at what point are we enabling this psychopath.
If a North Korean athletes doesn’t do well are they going to be hurt because of it? If Un and his peers feel embarrassed about how their athletes compete how will they react?
The truth is we cannot say for sure, however there is a chance an athlete is subject to a disgusting amount backlash from the North Korean government.
The rest of the world needs to draw a hardline against the atrocities being committed in North Korea and simply ignoring it because we have the privilege of doing so.
Even in North Korean athletes are granted permission to compete, bar them from wearing a North Korean uniform or raising the nation’s banner.
Or if the Olympic committee is that dead set of having them compete, have Un sign a contract that he will not have his athletes harmed or subjected to cruel and unusual punishment following the games.
It disgusts me how that man can take things like the World Cup and the Olympics, who for these athletes should be their proudest moment win or lose, and make it hell on earth.