Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Olympics Are Barely Underway and Athletes Are Getting Banned

The Olympics are barely underway (soccer started today) and there's already a bunch of athletes disqualified for failing drug tests, but one athlete was booted because of racist twitter comments. A Greek triple-jumper was booted for the comments today.
With a 140 character message, triple jumper Voula Papachristou leaped her way out of the London Olympics and into an international spotlight she did not anticipate.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee expelled Papachristou from the team after the 23-year-old Greek mocked African immigrants on her Twitter account. The committee said that Papachristou was "placed outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic Movement."

While gearing up for her first Olympic games on Sunday, Papachristou commented on the reported influx of West Nile mosquitos in Athens. She tweeted in Greek, "With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!!!" Her tweet provoked a bevy of ill responses, and many Greeks called for her dismissal from the Olympic team.

Papachristou also retweeted messages from the extreme right Golden Dawn party, which has criticized Greek's prime minister and his stance on immigration.
Racist is racist. It's part and parcel of what the Golden Dawn thinks of immigration and immigrants. It's xenophobia at its most exposed.

West Nile is prevalent around much of the world, including the NYC metro area. We have regular spraying of insecticides throughout the region to limit the spread of mosquito populations in the area and doctors are better informed as to the symptoms to help identify those who have become infected. That's limited the mortality rate here, but it's got nothing to do with immigrants. It is prevalent among migratory birds, which are a spreading vector, which is why it's been found around much of the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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