Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Delirious Beijing (Feb.22)

In her article titled “Delirious Beijing” Euphoria and Despair in the Olympic Metropolis,” Anne Marie Broudehoux describes Beijing as a “city without urbanity, where megolomaniacal architiectural objects are built on the ashes of an organic fabric.” After a brief visit, I do get a similar sense. It feels as if, in this case, the buildings are more just objects, attempting to achieve or create something that does not yet exist. In this sense, they are not manifestations of realities, but of hopes and dreams, covering the untold realities and future uncertainties. But, they have given great pride to the people of the nation. I kept asking myself, “Is the cost worth what you are getting?” I don’t know for sure and none of us may ever, and I am probably not in a position to answer. You never really know anything for sure in China. But, I do know, watching the countryside go by, there is extreme and massive poverty, pollution, and environmental degradation. The displacement and restlessness of people outside the major cities is clearly growing. Human rights abuses continue, and the state seems to have been able to enable to believe that controlling their access to information is actually a good thing.

Regardless, Beijing is an extraordinary place. It will be anyone’s guess what will happen with the Olympics. Well, maybe not. I think the Olympics will be amazing, but they will probably be one of the most controlled Olympics ever. It is what happens after the Olympics what I believe is anyone’s guess.

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