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Paying homage to Chile

Canada spent $117 million (Canadian, I presume) on a five year “Own the Podium” program directed at earning recognition in the Olympic community, $66 million of which were tax dollars. They have also reportedly sent a total of $135 million in aid to Haiti in wake of the recent earthquake. $50 million of that is directly from the government in order to match private donations from Canadian citizens and corporations. Apparently the money was well-spent. Canada brought home 14 gold medals and 26 overall, including the gold in men’s hockey. Compare that to the total three gold and 18 overall in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Meanwhile, Chile suffered an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale over the weekend, almost completely eclipsed by the Winter Games. Both of these were eclipsed in The Daily Mississippian, and Colonel Reb continues to distract the general public here at Ole Miss. I personally find it extremely sobering to reflect upon the fact that the global society euphemises the tragedies of this cold world with things like curling, figure skating and Colonel Reb. Where is there solace in times such as these? Amid a global AIDS epidemic, war on terror, economic depression and severe natural disasters, what can man do but frolic about in his tutu? The proceeds global media make off of the Olympics should be donated to lessening the strife experienced on a day-to-day basis. Hurricane Katrina hit the southern coast of the United States in August 2005; the federal government was completely unprepared to deal with the aftermath. Of course, damages and casualties are expected, but not at the level at which they were experienced. I have heard certain students use Katrina as an excuse not to send aid to Haiti, reasoning “because they didn’t send any to use for Katrina.” Just to be noted, 80 percent of Haitians were below the international poverty line and two-thirds un- or under-employed before earthquakes ravaged the country. Anyway, the point is that the passivity of this world to global crises can only be expected when the general populace doesn’t care about what doesn’t affect them. I don’t know where this record level of blameless selfishness has sprung from, but something needs to change. My point is not to ask everyone to become a saint nor to forget the issue of Colonel Reb. The least that could have been done was to pay homage to the 700 dead in Chile this past weekend. There was nothing in The Daily Mississippian about the earthquake or about the Olympics. Homage needs to be paid to the victims of the earthquake. And people complain when their rights are violated. Colonel Reb is such an insignificant speck in the course of history. Forget “vote yes,” it’s a trap” or “why I voted no.” The entire Colonel Reb issue IS the trap. I did NOT vote because I could not possibly care less what caricature is on the field. If you ask me, the athletic department has much bigger issues to worry about.