Olympic torch: Carrying a flame of peace is not that easy

Conan O’Brien called the bus that was loaded up with the Olympic torch the burning bus. I think that’s what he said. Whatever it was, it got a chuckle from last night’s audience. He was referring to the news story that the Olympic torch was loaded onto a bus outside Paris because protesters kept trying to put it out all the way from London. The protesters are upset about China’s policies in Tibet and Sudan

I first heard about the torch woes yesterday afternoon from a radio news report. From what I heard, the torch was put out and relit a couple of times. It sure didn’t sound like a movie version of a grand athletic event to me. I’m thinking of the kind of event where the music from “Chariots of Fire” plays and everyone moves in slow motion. There’s hugging and cheering, maybe some tears–that kind of thing. Instead, I have images of pushing, shoving, yelling between those who want to put the torch out and those who don’t. The great commotion between onlookers, police officers and protesters, I imagine, might be giving the people who agreed to carry it pause–as in “What was I thinking?” Think a Shakespeare crowd scene. “Put the torch out!” yells some of the crowd. “Save the torch!” yells the bulk of the crowd. “If it’s put out, what will become of us?” The practical crowd members are the ones who saw the writing on the wall and put it on the bus.

Protesters have already scaled the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to put up Tibetan flags against the torch’s appearance in San Francisco tomorrow. Should be an exciting time to see just how this flame fares.

Considering the Olympic Torch Relay symbolizes world love or some such thing, it’s ironic that it’s the target. Actually, the flame means that people should put down their arms in a sacred truce. The arms means guns, but in this case, perhaps it should mean real arms, as in those things attached to people’s bodies. On the other hand, the protesters are making a point. It certainly makes for a twist on the tale of Olympic glory history.