By Linn Washington
London resident Zita Holbourne plans to participate in the Friday July 27th Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games held at the gleaming new stadium located not far from her community of Newham.
However, Holbourne, a trade union activist and poet, is not participating as one of those lucky enough to have secured an expensive ticket to attend the glitzy Opening Ceremony.
Holbourne’s participating instead in a community forum on the 27th about the legions of unlucky London residents who’ve received no jobs, no contracts no other economic benefits from this multi-billion-dollar premier international sports competition which was originally touted by British politicians and promoters as a vehicle for helping low-income Londoners.
“The Olympics have been a disaster. The Olympics have not created opportunity for black communities,” Holbourne said.
British officials secured the Olympics for London on pledges of providing improvements for low-income and minority residents in England’s capital city. Nearly half of London’s population is non-white.
Holbourne, co-chair of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, will participate in an ‘Alternative Opening’ not far from the stadium as part of a continuing campaign to oppose the austerity policies of Great Britain’s Conservative-led government -- policies that many across that nation say are producing rising unemployment, injustice and inequality.
Olympic preparations in England, including the building of facilities for the games, have cost over $17-billion, with most of the funds coming from the national and local governments, according to a July 26 article in The Guardian newspaper.
This massive public funding for Olympics-related expenditures (plus bailouts for bankers) occur as Britain’s Conservative led government continues its budget-cutting ‘austerity,’ slashing funding for education, employment, housing and other social needs, including requiring the terminally ill to work part-time to continue receiving government benefits.
The conservative government claims insufficient funds exist to address the worsening economic plights of Britain’s poor, working and middle classes.
Omowale Rupert, a member of London’s Pan-Afrikan Society Community Forum, said the 2012 Olympics is “being used as an excuse to siphon money from the pockets of ordinary people – the bills will be left for us and the profits will go to the transnationals.”
Rupert once competed as a high jumper in international track-&-field meets, including the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
The London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) is the first ever Olympic organizing committee to have a Diversity and Inclusion Division.
Preparations for the games did achieve many of LOCOG’s stated goals, for example reclaiming long derelict toxic industrial wasteland in East London (where the stadium and other game’s sites were constructed).
For the rest of this article by LINN WASHINGTON, JR. in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to:www.thiscantbehappening.net/