One of the things I love about world sporting events such as the Olympic Games, other than the displays of fantastic athleticism, is that they provide an opportunity for people to escape from oppressive regimes by seeking asylum in freer countries. The fact that this won’t be possible in 2008 because the Olympics are being held in one of history’s most oppressive nations is only one dimension of the travesty that are Olympic games in China, but at least one athlete may have found a way around the problem.
Afghan runner Mehbooba Andyar is missing. The only female athlete from the violent tribal Islamic country of Afghanistan, who trained despite Taliban threats of enslavement and worse, has skipped town before the Olympic games. Andyar was training in Italy in preparation for the upcoming Olympics, but just a few days ago, she simply disappeared–with her personal belongings and passport–fueling speculation that she has run off to seek asylum somewhere.
Of course, one cannot imagine any athlete leaving a Muslim country in order to seek asylum in China at the upcoming games–especially a woman. That would be ludicrous. Andyar would only trading one range of threats to her person stemming from tribal and Islamic culture for an entirely new set of tortures in the culture that brought the world foot binding and still practices coercive abortions.
Somehow, apparently, Andyar knew enough about the world to plan her escape from Afghanistan before the Olympics–while she was in Europe.
At least I hope so. There’s still the possibility that some hateful Muslim man or group has kidnapped her, and that she’ll turn up dead somewhere.
If not, and if the young runner has made the courageous choice to try to pursue her own happiness in the world by seeking freedom from Islamism, then I wish her “godspeed!”