Rhythm Of Fate

by Yannis Zervos

The Cambridge - Oxford boat race on the Thames last week was marred by the two boats clashing into each other upsetting the balance and rhythm of the oarsmen with warped results. Months of training and hope dashed on an errant error. Was it the tides, the winds, the coxswain or the tilt of fate? As the Greek Olympic flame has been lit, a symbol that the Games commence, I cannot help but wonder what rhythms of fate will emerge to surprise us.

Greece is indeed behind in its preparations and ahead in its expectations. Yes the Stadium will get a roof and the Marathon road will be paved, perhaps; maybe even the garbage will be cleaned up and the minions of volunteers will perform miracles of management. Maybe the idea of the Olympic Truce will move al Qaeda to suspend its jaded Jihad that has jolted us to new realities of unshielded threats of Anthrax and Ebola and nerve gases so surreptitously developed in the depths of the Soviet Union, despite the signed Treaties, promises and primrose prognostications of peace.

Olympic Games costing 4.6 billion Euros, and still counting, are an insult in their present form and have little to do with the athletes, gamesmanship, national truces and a lot to do with financial kickbacks, shoddy construction and Hubris. Fate is especially tough on matters of Hubris in hyperbole. The Calatrava 'Con'struction is just one example. Do the athletes realize that the new Olympic Village had been built on the epicenter of our worst earthquake in Athens which is still rumbling? That no sidewalks can accommodate wheelchairs and barely people, with their accumulation of holes, garbage, motorbikes and unregulated parking? Does our $ 800 million security system include the prevention of unbridled bag snatching in addition to the atomic suitcase bomb scenarios?

The real Gold will end up in the wrong hands, the visitors appalled at our sloppy infrastructure, the athletes tormented in the heat while the world looks on to this giant arena on their silver screens lapping up consumer adds and ersatz wins and losses. Gladiators of the 21st century plying their trade for pittance. Yes, let the Games begin, but let them begin with humility and grace. The Games are important if they help the people on our planet, not just the contractors; they are important if they stimulate the average person to strive to do things better for themselves and their country. The Games are important if they help us resolve cultural and economic differences. They are important if they stress 'amila' noble competition. They are important if they emphasize non-violent solutions to violent problems. It was a Greek idea that worked once and can work again.

It is not too late to tame the Trojans, beat back the Barbarians and face the world in a city that dares to be different. The tilting fates will crack a smile and keep our boats on course to victory.