[Updated Tue, Oct 17, 12:20 p.m., probably not for the last time.]
My limit for tolerance can be pushed only so far, and this pretty much does it for me:
Britain's 2012 Olympic Committee was in crisis over the weekend after it was reported that the Summer Games that year will occur during Ramadan, the holy month of Islam when Muslims fast from sun-up to sundown.
One might initially have sympathy with the Muslims ... until one reads further to see the actual timeline. Let's start with the Olympic scheduling requirements (all emphasis added henceforth):
The International Olympic Committee requires the Games begin between July 15 and Aug. 31 but leaves the final decision to the host city.
All right, so we have a mandatory range for the start date for the Games, which normally run for just over two weeks. And that mandatory range turns out to clash badly with the month of Ramadan in 2012, doesn't it?
The 2012 Games are scheduled for July 27 to Aug. 12, while Ramadan, which follows a lunar cycle that moves it earlier each year by about 11 days, will run from July 21 to Aug. 20.
In short, Ramadan that year couldn't really be scheduled any more inconveniently with respect to the Games, could it? To minimize the damage, the British organizers had two choices. First, they could have scheduled as early as possible to start the Games on July 15, but that would have have still run into Ramadan only six days into the competition.
The other option would have been to wait until Ramadan was entirely over and start on Aug 21, which would have worked but would have pushed the last few days of the Games into September -- kind of making them the Autumn Games as opposed to the Summer Games. But one doesn't really need to get into this kind of nitpicking detail to be more than a little fed up with the complaining.
It's one thing to work around someone's schedule if that involves a day. Or maybe a few days. Or maybe even a week. But get serious -- if you choose to have a religious observance that spans a month, it's beyond reasonable to ask that the rest of the world put its plans on hold for you. You want to get spiritual for a month? Go wild, knock yourself out. But the rest of the planet has places to go, people to see and medals to win. You're more than welcome to join the festivities. Whoops, got other plans? Sorry to hear that. Feel free to drop by again in four years, we'll be doing it all over again.
(It's even more aggravating that Ramadan, as the article describes, "follows a lunar cycle that moves it earlier each year by about 11 days," which makes long-term planning even more difficult since you're trying to hit a moving target year after year. Talk about making planners' lives as difficult as possible.)
In short, let's not make this into an issue of religious intolerance, because it just isn't. It's simply a question of scheduling and logistics. Hey, we got some Games going on, you're welcome to come on down. Oh, you're busy? Too bad.
Whether Muslims choose to observe Ramadan faithfully is entirely their decision, so let them (individually, if need be) make that decision. And let them accept the consequences. Ideally, without the childish whining. God knows, we get enough of that from the Christians around here.
IS IT JUST ME, or is there a veritable infestation of "anonymous" wankery going on lately, as the first commenter takes umbrage with my alleged double standard:
Wow, CC, you really are the world's biggest hypocrite. Back here, you called Kate McMillan all kinds of names toward the bottom for a post she wrote making fun of Muslims and this Olympics thing. And here you are, doing exactly the same thing.
Not surprisingly, "anonymous" has missed the point, the mark and pretty much the whole planet. Let's see what I actually wrote in that earlier post:
OH, IRONY OF IRONIES. There's something pants-wettingly funny about the Canadian wingnut-o-sphere moaning on and on about DoRA and how their delicate, religious sensibilities need to be protected, then having one of the most deranged among them publish a post accusing others of being crybabies.
Note carefully that I didn't just make fun of Kate's position. Rather, I made fun of the idea of someone accusing others of being crybabies, when the Christian wanker community have made petulant, infantile whining a veritable way of life (do I really need to mention the "Defence of Religions" Act yet again?). In short, I was pointing out Kate's hypocrisy on the topic.
I, on the other hand, have every right to have written this piece since I make it a habit of treating all childish complaining about alleged religious persecution with the same measure of utter contempt. In short, I am being totally consistent, as you're welcome to verify with an old post of mine in which I show that it's not beyond various snivelling Christians to demand that others change their sports schedules to accommodate them.
Therefore, thusly and Q.E.D., I have been perfectly consistent, while Kate is still a hypocritical wanker. Are we done here?
BILLIONS AND BILLIONS SERVED? Commenter "mike" makes a number of points, one of which I'll respond to right now:
... choosing to schedule the games unnecessarily during a period of fasting for members of the world's second largest religion with 1.4 billion adherents worldwide is completely unreasonable in my opinion.
You use that number "1.4 billion" as if it's somehow meaningful. It isn't. As many people are aware, female athletes in Muslim countries are subject to a shitload of abuse for doing things that female athletes in the Western world take for granted -- training in public, wearing normal (revealing) athletic apparel, that sort of thing. For more details, feel free to start here.
What this means is that, even though Islam might have 1.4 billion followers, there's no possible way that you can make the case that that number fairly represents the number of potential Olympic participants -- not when Muslim women have the odds stacked against them from the very beginning.
So it would be howlingly hypocritical for (male) Muslim leaders to rant on about how the timing of the 2012 Olympics is so totally, totally unfair to Muslims when, in many cases, Muslim women have absolutely no hope of ever participating in the first place, thanks to those very same misogynists.
Tp paraphrase an old joke, it's sort of like killing your parents, then complaining how tough life is as an orphan. Sort of like that.