Juliette Kayyem on Saudi Arabia’s Olympic team

Saudi Arabia’s Un-Olympic Spirit
The Boston Globe
April 26, 2012
Op-ed by: Juliette Kayyem, lecturer in public policy with the Belfer Center and member of the Belfer Center Board of Directors
Topic: Saudi Arabia’s Olympic team

“Olympic spirit is in the air. With less than 100 days until the opening ceremonies in London, the international sporting event is a reminder that, despite everything, the world still knows how to throw a party. Even the most cynical of us become true believers in universal good watching the most fit men and women compete. About those women, though. There is still one major exception to the celebration of all athletes. Saudi Arabia now stands alone as the only country competing without female participation.

The kingdom is only sending little princes. Saudi Arabia may be backwards, but it is also very calculating. Under Olympic rules, it is now too late for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban them from the games. Only public humiliation can change Saudi Arabia’s stance. This is not about religion or decorum. It is all about Saudi Arabia being slow and stubborn.”

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