No politics please! (Unless it’s anti-Russian politics)

Neil Clark
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
Andrei Fomochkin, Director of the Republican Center for Olympic Training in Track and Field (Belarus), with a Russian flag during the parade of athletes and national delegations at the opening ceremony of the 15th Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. © Iliya Pitalev
If there were prizes going for hypocrisy, then the International Paralympic Committee would surely be strong contenders for the gold medal.

The IPC has slammed Belarus after its team committed the crime of - wait for it - holding up a Russian flag at the Paralympics opening ceremony in Rio.

The official who carried the flag, a Mr. Andrey Fomochkin, has had his accreditation rescinded.

The IPC said that it would remind Belarus that “political protests are forbidden at the Paralympic Games.” What a load of humbug. For it was political games by the IPC that got Russia banned from the event in the first place.

The Committee, lest we forget, imposed a harsh and unjustified blanket ban on all 267 Russian Paralympians from competing in Rio (even though no individual has been publicly named as being a drug cheat), and also forbade Russian Paralympians from competing under a neutral banner at the games.

Politics it seems is not allowed at the Paralympics - unless it’s anti-Russian politics - in which case it’s not only fine but obligatory.

This isn’t the only time in 2016 we’ve seen different standards applied to ‘political protests’.

In May we had the utterly farcical Eurovision Song Contest.

The Ukrainian entry ‘1944’, a song about Stalin’s forced deportations, clearly breached the competition’s own rules which state: "No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature shall be permitted during the Eurovision Song Contest.” 

Yet despite this, Jamala was allowed to perform her composition by the European Broadcasting Union.

In February, I predicted: “If Jamala is allowed to sing the song she "just had to write," in contravention of the Eurovision rules, then it’ll be championed by all Russia bashers on the continent. We’ll all be under pressure to give the song ‘Douze Points’ to show our ‘solidarity’ with Ukraine.”

And that is of course, exactly what happened. Although the Russian entry won the popular vote, juries of ‘music industry professionals’ in 'NATOland' helped push Jamala over the finishing line.

Jamala was enthusiastically promoted by the CIA-founded US propaganda network RFE/RL and when she won NATO tweeted a You Tube profile on her they had made in 2015.

But of course Eurovision 2016 wasn’t at all political, folks!

Compare what happened to Jamala (feted by RFE/RL and NATO), to what happened to another female singer, the Hungarian artist Boggie, who entered a song for Eurovision called ‘Wars for nothing’ in 2015. This song won the Hungarian national heat, but then got into trouble-not because of its lyrics - but because one of the captions in the song’s video contained the words

“2014 Gaza two-thirds of the victims were civilians, including more than 500 children.”

As I noted earlier this year: “Israel wasn't mentioned by name and the song clearly was about commemorating all the innocent victims of war. But that didn’t stop the Israeli Ambassador to Hungary lodging a complaint to Hungary’s broadcasting authority, with the result that the ‘offending’ words in the video were removed.”

I’m sure if the ‘offending’ words involved Russia or Stalin, there wouldn’t have been such a big a problem. I’m also very sure that if Serbia submitted an entry next year called ‘1999’- about the illegal US-led bombing of Yugoslavia carried out that year (perhaps describing how 14 people were killed by a NATO air strike on a passenger train at Grdelica, the EBU’s [European Broadcasting Union] ‘No Politics’ rule would be applied rather more strictly than it was in the case of Jamala. Needless to say Boggie - the co-composer and performer of ’Wars for Nothing’, was not profiled on YouTube by NATO; neither was she promoted by RFE/RL…

Politics intruding into sport, and international music contests, is ok so long as it’s the ‘right’ kind of politics. The sort of politics that the US State Department approves of.

If it’s not, and you display the ‘wrong’ politics, then the rule book will be thrown at you, with force.

Disciplinary proceedings have begun against Celtic football club after some of its supporters waved Palestine flags at a recent match against a side from Israel in a Champions League qualifier.

The fans, it seems, were waving an ‘illicit banner’- even though Palestine is a member of UEFA. The double standards of UEFA when it comes to flag waving have been chronicled by Robin Bairner of

Flying some flags will get you into trouble, while flying others won’t. The most expensive flags to wave are Palestinian ones, and as we see from Rio the Russian flag.

What makes the situation even worse, is that if you so much as dare to point out the double standards in all of this “Making political statements is against the rules” nonsense, you’ll be accused of being a ‘conspiracy theorist’ and being ’paranoid.’ We’re not only expected to put up with blatant bias, we’re being bullied into keeping shtum about it, when we see it.

Playing politics? That’s only what those ‘Russkies’ and ’totalitarian’ countries friendly to Russia do- like Belarus. We, in the West, keep politics out of sport and international events. We’re objective and totally fair! If we want Ukraine to win Eurovision it’s because Ukraine has the best song! How dare you suggest otherwise!

The ludicrous myth of Western ‘impartiality’ can also be seen in the way that blatantly biased sources like the aforementioned RFE/RL and other US government-funded, Washington-friendly organizations are cited as ‘reliable authorities’ by the same imperial truth enforcers who loftily dismiss RT as “Kremlin propaganda.”

Again, it’s a case of: “we don’t do politics- they do.” Torrents of fact free anti-Russian vitriol, paid for by Uncle Sam and US defense contractors, is hailed as “great, fearless, objective journalism,” while those who dare to put forward non-NATO friendly views, and back these views up with hard evidence, are accused of “bias” or even worse.

What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank,” wrote the great Bertolt Brecht. When it comes to dragging politics into sport, we need to ask: “What is waving a flag, compared to the banning of an entire country?

Follow Neil Clark on Twitter @NeilClark66

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.