Beijing, China. We have heard more about the pollution than anything else. The opening exercises are focusing on the history...at least so far, we are only an hour in.
It is an amazing display with unbelievable choreography. The technology is amazing and yet, some things that I thought were computer-run were human-run. Beautiful humans. The amazing drummers were told to smile more. Why, I wonder? Does China want to change their image with a smile. Do they think I will buy Chinese dinnerware because of a happy citizen's face. It's nice to see them smile but it's a "no" to the dinnerware. To change their image they must be strict in what they import. Internal policies too, need to be addressed. No longer will they be cloaked. This opens their country for worldwide scrutiny.
15,000 performers, each one whose life will be changed because they were chosen to be in this Olympic opening ceremony. For some it will be the highlight of their lives.
These Chinese people, these billion plus people, are all being changed for the better or the worse, just like you and I, every day of their lives. When we think of the Olympics we think of the athletes but it's not the athletes I am thinking of tonight. I am thinking of the woman, living in a hill town, squatting so seemingly effortlessly, over a charcoal fire, making her family's meal in one pot. The Olympics is not an important event in her life tonight. Seeing her family fed is. I see in the young man who leaves his family farm to go to the city and work in a factory so he can send money home. I see the young girl who lives in an orphanage because she was not born male, waiting for anxious parents from another country to get the papers in order so she can have a family.
Each number is a person, has a face, has fears and hopes and dreams. Each person has myriad experiences that are unique to them only. Each has a story. How I wish we could hear them, these stories of people not so different from us.
Let the games begin!