I just saw a PBS special on the preparations for the upcoming Olympics to be held in Beijing.
I learned that the national stadium's nickname is "The Bird Cage", and was fascinated with the "water cube" with its translucent bubbles made of plastic that is self-cleaning and durable.
I watched many in-depth interviews with athletes and their families. I learned about wu shu; how it's not going to be included as an Olympic sport in this year's games, but yet the Olympic committee relaxed its rules to allow a prestigious wu shu competition to take place in Beijing at the same time as the Olympic games.
The official symbol is of a stylized running athlete stretching his arms out wide as he races across the finish line. It was suggested that Beijing and, indeed, the whole of China are represented in this symbol as the outstretched arms also indicate a 'welcome' to the world. A universal gesture of friendliness and hospitality.
It's a beautiful thought.
My mind couldn't help going back, as it has many times before, to June of 1989, when my heart was aching for those brave people who were forced to retreat when the tanks advanced ... all of which was covered on television while a tune from "Les Miserables" could be heard in the background.
I had a date to play bridge that evening, but I just couldn't leave the house until I had composed the following poem. I felt such a terrible sense of loss and sadness. The poem helped a little bit. It's untitled.
Hear us! Hear our cries!
Remember what you've seen & heard,
Remember their lies!
A fight to the death --
A man? A dream?
The number 'eight' is regarded as a lucky number, I've been told. SO, 08/08/08 has to be particularly magical for them!
What will you be doing Friday night? I'll be watching the opening ceremonies -- in awe, I'm sure.