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Games Played on Poor at London 2012 Olympics

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 7/27/12

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London resident Zita Holbourne plans to participate in the Friday July 27th Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games held at the gleaning new stadium located not far from her community of Newham.

However, Holbourne, a trade union activist and poet, is not participating as one of those lucky enough to have secured an expensive ticket to attend the glitzy Opening Ceremony.

Holbourne's participating in a community forum on the 27th about the legions of unlucky London residents who've received no jobs, no contracts or other economic benefits from this multi-billion dollar premier international sports competition originally touted as a vehicle for helping low-income Londoners.   

"The Olympics have been a disaster. The Olympics have not created opportunity for black communities," Holbourne said.

British officials secured the Olympics for London on pledges of providing improvements for low income and minority residents in England's capital city. Nearly half of London's population is non-white.

Holbourne, co-chair of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, will participate in an "Alternative Opening' not far from the stadium to continue efforts opposing austerity policies of Great Britain's conservative government that many across that nation say are producing rising unemployment, injustice and inequality.

Olympic preparations in England including building facilities for the games have cost over $17-billion most coming from the national and local governments according to a July 26th article in The Guardian newspaper.

This massive public funding for Olympics related expenditures (plus bailouts for bankers) occur as Britain's conservative led government continues its budget cutting "austerity' slashing funding for education, employment, housing and other social needs including requiring the terminally ill to work part-time to continue receiving government benefits.

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The conservative government claims insufficient funds exist to address the worsening economic plights of Britain's poor, working and middle classes.

Omowale Rupert, a member of London's Pan-Afrikan Society Community Forum, said the 2012 Olympics is "being used as an excuse to siphon money from the pockets of ordinary people -- the bills will be left for us and the profits will go to the transnationals."

Rupert once competed as a high jumper in international track-&-field meets including the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games.

The London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) is the first ever Olympic organizing committee to have a Diversity and Inclusion Division.

Preparations for the games did achieve many of LOCOG's stated goals like reclaiming long derelict toxic industrial wasteland in East London (where the stadium and other game's sites were constructed).

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Yet LOCOG's pledges for jobs and contracting opportunities, particularly for uplifting black, ethnic, minority and low income whites living in the five London boroughs abutting the 560-acre Olympic Park remain unfulfilled according to many community leaders and residents from those five "host' boroughs.

The host borough of Tower Hamlets, for example, has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in London but only 1,700 residents from that borough held any of the tens of thousands of Olympics related construction/retail jobs according to a report in one London newspaper earlier this week.

London Olympic officials have earmarked one-third of the post-Olympics housing in the apartments built to shelter athletes for low-income residents of those host boroughs.

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)
 

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