Olympic Torch Relay Insanity

This whole Olympic Torch Relay thing has taken on a life of its own inciting riots and controversy everywhere it goes. First, this race has been happening all over the world for years, but its just supposed to be a way for everyone to be involved in it. I read in the NY Times the other day that this was actually a Hitler idea in order to shift the public eye to a fake vision of peace while other atrocities are taking place elsewhere. Fascinating idea if you think about it.

The torch came through Seoul on Sunday April 26, and I actually just happened to accidentally see it. We were heading to Smokey's Tavern to try their delicious Burgers in Itaewon when we got off the bus at Hannam to see hoards of Chinese people and flags all lined up along the street. The torch was supposed to come through Seoul on Saturday, but due to security issues they changed everything and the route to be on Sunday instead. I was on one of the last buses to cross over the Han River, which was pretty lucky for me.

We waited about 15 minutes before we saw dozens of police filled buses come down the road, along with the the coca-cola and Samsung floats and then hundreds of runners surrounding the one guy holding the torch.

It was all over in a matter of minutes, but it was still interesting to be apart of. It traveled past us down to City Hall where it met up with 5,000 more fans or supporters before heading onto North Korea for the first time ever. It is interesting to say that North Korea was the only country to have absolutely no protests. A North Korean in Seoul however did try to ruin the festivities by dousing himself in gasoline and running towards the torch attempting to light himself on fire, but the authorities saw and stopped him before he could do any damage. He was of course, protesting China's policy of finding North Korean defectors and sending them back to North Korea which is against UN refugee laws.

Whether or not I think China should have the Olympics, I can never remember a time of the games having this much attention. It is extremely fascinating to see the world's reaction to all of it though. It's also interesting at the rate that we are truly becoming a global community...