The Olympic torch: A continuing saga

For the next three days, the Olympic torch is going no where. Starting today, it’s journey to Beijing was put on hiatus while China is having three-days of mourning to commemorate the losses caused by last week’s earthquake. After the torch’s trip up Mt. Everest–and its altered jaunt through San Francisco after being hustled into a van in Europe when protesters put it out a few times, the torch certainly seems to be capturing the highs and lows of the human struggle to survive and excel.

According to the news, just like the path the torch has taken, the Olympics might not look like what the Chinese originally planned. There may be a version with less hoopla.

As China struggles to deal with the catastrophe dealt by the earth’s movement, some shoddy building construction and bad luck, the torch’s symbolism seems all that more poignant. It might seem like who should care about a flame in the throes of such a disaster, but in a way, if the torch does make it to Beijing to signal the start off the summer games, it could be seen as representing more than its original intention.

When the torch changed hands in Australia on that sunny day the end of April, there wasn’t any inkling that the news in China would be so devastating three weeks later. When the torch appears in Beijing to light the big Olympic flame, perhaps it might have switched from a symbol of China’s might to one that highlights the perserverance of humanity despite the forces that might put us out.