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From Canada, with Love

For the last couple days the National media in North America has displayed image after image of how unprepared Russia is for these Olympic Games.

I’m sure there are many pockets that have been lined with Rubles, and those rich cats don’t give a care to how their shoddy workmanship and selfishness looks to the rest of the world. They probably have never considered how it will make their fellow Russians feel. One has to consider how embarrassing it must be , with the entire world invited to your home, and the place is a mess, the water is undrinkable, and many accommodations not even near to being ready for the onslaught, with shower curtains and door handles becoming black-market staples.

I will not deny that the North American media takes great delight in the whole spectacle – from the horrid anti-gay laws, threats of attacks, anti-freedom of speech, and of course to the double toilets, and stray dogs greeting hotel guests inside their rooms – there would appear to be plenty of fodder to feed from.

Regardless of all that, it is to the average Russian I am thinking of, and I dearly hope you are able to feel that well of pride I felt when the Olympics were here in Canada (although, I fear it will only be due to your media white-washing it for your viewing pleasure).

The Olympics have come to represent so many things in the eyes of the world, beyond the sportsmanship and actual games themselves, there is this sense of camaraderie and peaceful relations. So far, I have seen little of that, and that is a shame.

I’m writing this because, as I looked at the images of unfinished landscaping and yellow tainted water, as I read the many tweets from the NA media, I felt embarrassed for you, the Russian people. For I know those images are not a representation of you.

I have grown up, as many North Americans, with a fairly tainted view I believe of Russia. That view aside, Putin and all the laws against free speech and the corruption, the anti-gay attitudes, I don’t believe represent you. I say that, however, to be honest, I can’t say WHAT represents you since your Government seems hell-bent on eliminating you from the equation. I really know NOTHING about you.

However, I do know this, you too deserve more than what I fear will be the ultimate opinion of these games. Inviting the world home for an extended sleep over can’t be an easy trick to pull off; and to do it with style and grace, with no incidents or mishaps, is an uncommon feat.

North Americans can be a spoiled lot, yet I do believe it is a basic human right to expect at the very least clean drinking water, and to not fear for your continued freedom due to ones personal sexual orientation. I’ll grant maybe the semen covered bed sheets to be rather disgusting, and having a stray dog share ones hotel room is somewhat of a…ahem…eye-opener. The double toilet? Well, yeah, bit weird.

Perhaps having this bright spotlight shone upon your fair country will ultimately prove worthwhile. As perhaps with many Russians, I don’t own or subscribe to TV. I will instead be perusing the internet, reading blogs and various newsfeeds online. However, even so, I will strive to ignore as many derogatory reports as I can, and make every effort to merely observe the fine sportsmanship and talent that these games highlight.

These games represent the world coming together – with that in mind, know that I will be thinking of you, the individual Russian, and not your corrupt leaders and how poorly they have served you. I hope to be delighted and surprised, and to be one of many who come away with that feeling.

So, lets share that virtual couch, and arm and arm, prove the powers that be that we are more than their corrupt, slavish addiction to power and money.


Related Articles: Travel Nightmares from Sochi


  1. MissFit

    I absolutely love this article. Thank you for writing it. You captured my thoughts freakishly well. We are an arrogant nation. And once again, we miss the point. We steal the joy. We relish in the downtrodden because it makes us somehow feel better than we really are. A nation is only as strong as its weakest link and at the rate NA is going – we wont have an arrogant leg to stand on soon enough.


    1. PaulaB

      Thank you :-) I just got looking at all the images from Sochi…and as much as I hate the horrible anti-gay propaganda in Russia, and the obvious corruption… I can’t help but feel for the people themselves. At some point things will change for them, but its not my country, and its not for me to judge … since how can I really know what’s going on from thousands of miles away? What I DO know though, is that they are not that different from me, and I just hope they can enjoy these games as I did the ones Canada hosted in Vancouver. I can’t change anything, but atleast I can wish them well.

      And thank you again for your kind words…PaulaB


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