Vancouver Olympics – Alert!

With less than 2 weeks to go before the 2010 Winter Olympic Games begin in Vancouver, BC we are beginning to see the crass politicos trying to hijack the attempts at worldwide Understanding. Sad!

The following incidents were recently reported in Vancouver, and they are a solemn reminder that Vancouver will be a political “target” before and during the Winter Olympics and the Paralympics, which begin a month later, on March 12th.

Here’s what happened.

Vandals of unknown origin have attempted to dampen the Olympic Spirit by attacking Israeli flag decals displayed along Vancouver’s sidewalks.

The decals are part of “Flagwalk”, a display of some 450 international flags (from 80 countries participating in winter sporting events); the walk wanders through Yaletown to South Granville.

Recently, two Israeli flag emblems disappeared from South Granville after they were sloshed with paint and the words “Free Palestine” were scrawled on them.

Mark Gurvis, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, said “It’s very sad that this would happen in the midst of the Olympics, at a time when our region will be welcoming the world … .”

The emblems, were at the entrance of two Starbucks (at 7th Avenue and Granville Street) (on Granville between 12th and 14th Avenues). The desecrated flags were removed by the South Granville Business Improvement Association (BIA) in December.

The spots where the flags were remain empty for the time being as the BIA had not factored in multiple replacement costs.

BIA executive director Sharon Townsend told the Jewish Tribune that no police report was filed, “mostly because of time constraints and the realization that there was little anyone could do about it.” Well, I hope if anyone saw the perpetrators, or if they are bragging, that they get turned in!

The Israeli flags will be replaced prior to the start of the Olympics, but that doesn’t solve the problem of a hate crime. The community needs to stand in solidarity against hatred. And, Olympics visitors need to be aware of their surroundings and who’s doing what nearby.

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