Sports and the progressive ideology

We may disagree with John Terry and Voula Papachristou's comments but we're failing Voltaire's fundamental test of freedom of speech and thought as a society

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Down and out: Papachristou has been expelled from the Greek Olympic squad
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Philippe Labrecque
On 2 August 2012 13:58

Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou received the capital punishment, directly from the hands of the Greek Olympic committee, as she was expelled from the Greek national team last week. The decision came after Papachristou, 23, tweeted something about mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus being able to eat homemade food due the presence of Africans in Greece.

Recently, here in the UK, similar accusations of racial abuse were made against John Terry. Although he was later cleared of the accusations, Terry had to nonetheless defend himself in court and, more importantly, in front of the cameras of the media. The real trial was not in front of the judge but on the front page of newspapers across the country, where many had condemned him already.

Random, unconnected events? Of course not. What we are witnessing is the effects of a progressive ideology, which has replaced the Church, as the moral authority of our time in the West.

Anything said, especially in public, against the accepted progressive doctrine cannot be tolerated. Even a harmless tweet that no one can smell or touch, or a comment yelled on a football pitch, yet unheard by the supposed victim, cannot be ignored. We are not talking about either of these athletes writing a book that resembles something like “Mein Kampf”, but simply regrettable comments with very little depth.

Were Papachristou and Terry guilty of racism? Jean Beaudrillard, a French philosopher, wrote that S.O.S. Racism, an organization fighting racism, did for racism what S.O.S. Whales did for whales: it saved it. Racism is constantly redefined to justify public attacks such as those against Terry and Papachristou. The latter two having the misfortune of using ethnicity as the denominator of what are otherwise insignificant insults.

The accusations of racism against the two athletes are, as Beaudrillard warned, unfounded as I seriously doubt either could explain their views as based in an elaborate and complex definition of a hierarchy of races rooted in social Darwinism and infused in Volkisch ideology. The comments may have been insulting or misplaced, but they were by no definition racist as racism is a much more complex concept than the priests of progressive ideals would like us to believe.

What the priests of the Church of progressive ideals could not digest was the disobedience of those two athletes, even if unaware, to the accepted tenants of progressivism. Terry’s trial, who only faced a fine of 2,500 pounds, and Papachristou’s crucifiction, supposedly to defend Olympic values, resembled more the Inquisition of the dark days of the Middle Ages than anything else.

Just like heretics, Terry and Papachristou were put on a public trial as much to punish them of their crimes against the dominating ideology of the time, as to send a signal to anyone that would defy the progressive order.

The very fact that even the Court of England was seized to examine the case of a screaming football player reveals to what extent the progressive ideology runs deep in our collective minds and even in our laws.

As much as I agree with defending Olympic values, we may want to begin with the rampant commercialization of the games, steroid use, or even oil-rich countries buying African athletes to represent countries like Qatar or the United Arab Emirates before we prohibit someone who tweeted a bad joke from participating in the Olympic Games.

Having been an athlete myself for many years, I saw, heard and lived racism, from all sides, and despite disapproving and voicing my objections, I never thought it merited a trial in court, even less in front of the media frenzy willing to sacrifice anyone for a juicy scandal.

If anything, in my experience, athletes are far better are resolving ethnic or cultural issues than the wider public, or even the Court. We may want to remember Derartu Tulu, a black Ethiopian and Elana Meyer, a white South African, both long distance runners, joining hands despite the tensions over the Apartheid regime, as they crossed the finish line to finish first and second respectively during the 10.000 meters race in 1992 in Barcelona.

If you find my tone sarcastic, know that there is also a deep disappointment in Western Society behind my words. The media were willing puppets, if not executioners of Terry while very few rose to the defence of Papachristou.

Voltaire, a famous French philosopher known for having inspired the French Revolution and its ideals, famously declared “I may not agree with you but I will defend your right to say it.”

We may disagree with Terry and Papachristou’s comments but clearly, we failed Voltaire’s fundamental test of freedom of speech and freedom of thought as a society.

Philippe Labrecque is a freelance journalist and commentator

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