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The West’s Hypocrisy at the Paris Olympics Unmasked

In recent years, Russia has been entirely banned from partaking in the Olympic Games due to the crimes against humanity that they have committed in the Ukraine.   But according to an article published in the Russian media titled “Visa with a trick,” this year, the International Olympic Committee is banning Russians from partaking in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris unless they are ideologically opposed to the war in the Ukraine, act under a neutral flag, and have nothing to do with the Russian security agencies.  In other words, the restrictions against Russians have been lessoned.

Nevertheless, Zavur Uguez, Zaurbek Sidakov and Abdulrashid Sadulaev, all members of the Russian military, were permitted to partake in the wrestling competition at the Olympic Games under a neutral flag.  This right here highlights how hypocritical the West is. While Russia faces limitations on its participation in the Olympics on paper, while members of Putin’s military are permitted to partake under other countries flags, even though the Olympics are supposed to be apolitical, a country like North Korea might be participating in the Paris Olympics 2024 without any sort of restrictions.

North Korea is one of the most repressive countries on planet earth.   In fact, the average North Korea suffers far greater under the tyrannical yoke of Kim Jong-Un than the average Russian suffers under Putin.   According to Amnesty International, “more than 40% of North Koreans suffer from malnutrition amid widespread food insecurity. People in the country are cut off from communication with the rest of the world. Anyone deemed to act in a manner that is threatening to Kim Jong-un’s government risks being imprisoned for life or could even face execution.”

While Russia is also a very repressive state that cracks down on dissent, but at the very least people are not starving to death there.  According to the Global Nutrition Report, “Russia’s obesity prevalence is higher than the regional average of 25.3% for women but is lower than the regional average of 24.9% for men.”   The World Health Organization added that the number of deaths for malnutrition in Russia reached 242 in 2020 or .01% of the population, a far cry from the 40 percent suffering from malnutrition in North Korea.   However, while Russians face restrictions in partaking in the Paris Olympics, North Koreans face no such obstacles, even as they starve their people to death.

According to Human Rights Watch, “The North Korean government systematically requires forced, uncompensated labor from most of its population to control its people and sustain its economy. A significant majority of North Koreans must perform unpaid labor, often called “portrayals of loyalty,” at some point in their lives. It also restricts all basic civil and political rights, such as freedom of religion, expression, and association, and discriminates against at-risk groups, like women and individuals and families with low songbun, a hereditary ranking system that arbitrarily classifies North Koreans according to their family’s history and the individual’s supposed fealty to the government, among other factors.”

“The people of North Korea suffer under constant surveillance and face the daily threat of imprisonment, torture, sexual abuse, and execution – and it’s been this way since 1948,” said John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “It’s time for the rest of the world to act. Kim Jong Un isn’t going to change his behavior unless concerned countries demand it.”  A good way to force North Korea to change its human rights conduct is if the International Olympic Committee started to treat them the same way that they treat the Russians.

About the Author
Sivan Gamliel is a freelance journalist based in Bat Yam. Originally from Nahariyya, she grew up exposed to the threat posed by Hezbollah based in Lebanon. She has a BA in communications from Emek Yezrael College.
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