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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Mt. Everest, the Oppressed Mountain

May 5, 2008

Olympics being used by China for Propaganda

By Florian Godovits
Epoch Times Germany Staff
May 03, 2008

The planned Olympic torch relay to the summit of the highest peak in the
world, Mt. Everest, is a "farce", says alpinist Reinhold Messner.
According to him, the torch will not be able to burn at such heights
without extra oxygen, and the TV-footage of the event "has already been
shot".

Mt. Everest is being abused for a propaganda campaign, he says –even if
we don´t like to hear it – in 1936 it was the same thing with the Nazis,
back then the Olympics were abused for a propaganda campaign as well".
May 8th will be the 30th anniversary of the first conquering of the
highest mountain of the world without oxygen bottles. Messner and his
friend Peter Habeler were the first ones to succeed in doing so. The
mountaineer and former member of the European Parliament, Messner, is
angry about the current actions in Tibet.

He has raised a Tibet-flag 60 square metres in size at his museum in
Sigmundskron in South Tyrol, Italy. "It was blown away by the wind, but
now we will get a new one, bigger and more stable", says Messner. China
has missed the chance to be liked by everybody by granting Tibet more
freedom, he continues. "The world would be at China´s feet." He can´t
understand why China has not realised this chance.

Tibet´s heritage belongs to the whole world

The Tibet issue is one that should concern the whole international
community, because "Tibet´s heritage belongs to the whole world". Its
culture is a very rich one, hence all of mankind should strive towards
it. This should happen with appropriate means. „Today´s weapons are
words. We should ask for more democracy", says Messner. The Olympic
torch relay should continue to be used to expose the plight of Tibetans.

In today´s China, a communist system pairs up with absolute capitalism
and fascist elements. "If that coincides, the devil isn´t far", says
Messner.

When the Olympic games were allocated, it was thought that the human
rights situation in China would improve. But the opposite has happened.
And politicians would be in a difficult situation right now. They would,
according to the mountaineer, "get beaten from all sides". In his
opinion the Olympics should be used as a platform to call attention to
human rights abuses.

Reinhold Messner reflects on the 30th anniversary of his first
conquering of Mt. Everest without oxygen bottles. "In the 90´s we have
put the mountain in chains and ropes", he says. He criticises the
commercialisation of climbing Mt. Everest and the lack of ecological
conscience of the mountaineers. In Sigmundskron he shows a sculpture
made up of 100 kilograms of trash collected on Mt. Everest. "Mountains
have got their strongest charisma if we don´t tame them. It´s our
christian belief, that we want to make the earth our subject – it´s a
pity the Asians have taken this on."
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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