The Good: Olympic Global Health Ad and The Bad:Olympic Ethnic/Economic Cleansing?
Given the primacy of the Olympics, this is well worth covering. First with regard to ExxonMobil’s commercial on Malaria during prime time, when over 1 Billion people were watching, this might have been the largest audience ever for a global health ad. In our previous post on this olympian ad, I think Rob Katz from Acumen put perfectly:
“I’ve seen the ad twice already (during the opening ceremonies and again today.) It’s great to see Exxon Mobil spending as much as $750,000 to promote its social responsibility efforts around malaria. What’s even better is that Steven Phillips – who appears in the commercial – makes it a point to say that malaria isn’t just a CSR initiative for Exxon. Rather, it’s a business continuity issue – if Exxon’s workers are sick, the company loses money. Having a productive workforce is serious business, and Exxon appears to be serious about large scale malaria prevention activities, including insecticide-treated net distribution and even indoor residual spraying…”
Now, for the ugly side of the Olympics, the excerpts from below have strong wording (ethnic cleansing for example), but it is worth reading and considering. Disclaimer: I have not verified the data sources used or the robustness of the analysis. They do offer a solution at the end – keep the Olympics in one location or set of locations. From the Gaurdian UK:
“Everywhere they go, the Olympic Games become an excuse for eviction and displacement. In every city it examined, the Olympic Games – accidentally or deliberately – have become a catalyst for mass evictions and impoverishment. Since 1988, over 2 million people have been driven from their homes to make way for the Olympics.”
- 1988 Olympics in Seoul-720,000 people were thrown out of their homes.
- 1996 Olympics, The Games were an excuse to engineer a new ethnic cleansing programme. Without any democratic process, they demolished large housing projects (whose inhabitants were mostly African-American) – Around 30,000 families were evicted. The police were given pre-printed arrest citations bearing the words “African-American, Male, Homeless”… In the year before the Games, they arrested 9,000 homeless people.
- 2008 Olympics, In Beijing, 1.25m people have already been displaced to make way for the Games, and another quarter of a million are due to be evicted.