Sunday, August 3, 2008

"One World, One Dream"

A lovely, vague motto for the Olympic Summer Games starting this week in Beijing. "One world, one dream" but for the outside world, many questions remain.
Will there be sufficient security for the athletes and spectators in this tinderbox of contentious issues. Will the air be clean enough for the athletes to safely breathe? The US team has quietly distributed Nasa-developed anti-pollution masks to its athletes. The British hockey squad also plans to wear red contact lenses to see through the haze.
Will Beijing remain true to previous promises of unrestricted Internet for foreign reporters and guests? Will NBC have access to Tianamen Square for live feeds? At all hours? Will Internet hungry visitors to China need to download the free bypass software offered by partners of The Global Internet Freedom Consortium?
Will doping dominate the headlines, yet again? Or violent protests? Or biological threats?
Will visitors find the lack of personal privacy annoying? A disconcerting tidbit from the US State Department's Fact Sheet on Beijing during the Olympics, "All hotel rooms and offices are considered to be subject to on-site or remote technical monitoring at all times. Hotel rooms, residences and offices may be accessed at any time without the occupant’s consent or knowledge."
But one of the most perplexing questions for me is, what are we looking at in this hauntingly gorgeous shot by Victor Fraile in today's NYTimes?
Is this an exotic Butoh dancer? A preview of the opening ceremony costuming theme? Or is this, as I suspect, the new smart accessory in Beijing, a smog scarf?

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