I had concluded my previous post on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s declarations regarding the “great partnership” of a “global dynamic duo” i.e. the UN and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), by asking:
When considering the foundations, legacies and values of the UN (and its offspring, particularly the IPCC) and those of the IOC, do we have a case of “Mendacity loves company”? Or simply a case of ‘You keep silent about our scandals and hypocrisy, and we’ll keep silent about yours’? Or perhaps both?!
There’s a Feb. 22 report on (believe it or not!) the CBC site from Nahlah Ayed, which strongly suggests that the answer is both.
Alexander Koropov has lived on the same, tranquil hill for 25 years. So when a train suddenly whistled past, practically through his backyard, he could no longer sleep.
In fact, there has been much to keep him sleepless ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin succeeded in convincing the International Olympic Committee to choose Sochi as the 2014 host city
Koropov, meanwhile, is poorer, sicker, and more frustrated than ever. His land, once home to a thriving garden and surrounded by trees, is also worse for wear: now a hill of stubs, and a desiccated garden of weeds — where there were once apples, hazelnuts and figs.
If he could afford it, he says, he would move, even go abroad to claim asylum, just to try to salvage something of his life.
“I lost everything,” he says in an interview. “I am like a beggar now. I became an ‘Olympic bum.’”
It’s easy to lose count of the ways Ashtyr residents say they have been wronged by the Olympic Games — the ways in which they will remember the Games and the preparations that have possessed their region for nearly a decade.
Limestone quarries sit like open wounds nearby. Trucks used to travel back and forth from them every day, kicking up clouds of dust.
At one point there was illegal dumping. New power lines were set up only to supply a nearby military installation — and the train line of course — bypassing the village’s ancient lines entirely. Water wells were damaged in the construction, forcing residents to rely on water that has to be hauled in three times a week and stored in large plastic tanks.
The IOC president visited the village last year and was promised the water matter would be resolved before the Olympics began. It’s yet to happen.
“Yes it’s taking its time,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said recently in response to a journalist’s question. “We have asked the local authority to come back to us and I believe we have a promise that by the end of March they will have water.”
“[The area] was very beautiful. There were huge trees,” says Koropov.
“The river got smaller, and almost no fish in it now. Even the fish you get now smells like diesel fuel.” [emphasis added -hro]
Excuse me?! Where were all the protesters from Greenpeace, WWF, The Nature Conservancy?! Where were Suzuki, Hansen, Neil Young and other big-mouthed (small-minded) celebrities while all this construction – and environmental destruction – was going on?! How could this have escaped their notice?!
[Koropov] says most of his land has been seized and declared public property. Demands for compensation have largely gone unheard.
“It’s like we have all been written off the records,” says Koropov.
He says the village wasn’t against the idea of hosting the Olympics. But residents never expected the ugly environmental legacy such an international event could leave behind.
“No one speaks about the dark side of the Olympics,” he says ruefully.
Well, certainly not anyone from the UN’s “transformational” sustainable development bureaucracy and their virtual army of NGO partners. And – not surprisingly – not a peep from “global dynamic duo” senior (financial) partner and oh-so-environmentally concerned, Ban Ki-Moon.
That’s quite the “legacy” the UN and the IOC, this “global dynamic duo” (of partners in hypocrisy) have been building, isn’t it?