Now that the London Olympics are history and the global fervour which accompanied them has died down, it is safe, one hopes, to let rip about what was nothing more than an utterly deplorable waste of public money, which could, if there were any sane ‘human’ hearts left, have been put to far better use for mankind and indeed for the salvation of a massive percentage of struggling people the whole world over.

The London Olympics were, from gaudy start to monumentally extravagant finish, nothing more than a jamboree for the ‘Corporate Greed Brigade’, with those further down the business ladder snatching profits from wherever and whoever they possibly could in their frenzied rush for that global god of evil - ‘money’.

The true cost of the ‘games’ will, probably, never be known and the amount of profit will certainly never be released for public perusal. But a tentative figure for expenditure from the ‘public’ coffers of the British government is somewhere in the region of at least $17 billion with, this is equally stupendous, an additional $860 million to cover security issues while the games were in progress.

Then, of course, there were the collectively astronomical costs incurred by every single participating country in training and transporting their ‘none’ professional athletes to the venue of what was the costliest Olympic Games held so far: Barcelona Olympic Games in 1994 cost over $11.8 billion, Athens 2004 in excess of $10 billion with Sidney, supposedly the ‘best’ Olympic Games ever, costing a relatively low $3 billion because, it is said, the venue was outside the city and, therefore, easier to handle all round.

The ‘corporate greed brigade’ did, as always, wear a liberal dose of camouflage by the provision of sports and personal sponsorships whose recipients proudly served as walking, running, swimming, shooting etc, advertisements’ for ‘global gangsters’, who, in a variety of countries, openly indulge in what can only be called ‘slave labour’ through whose poorly paid labour, often working in dreadful conditions for long hours with women and children being the major percentage of this ‘force’, a sizeable chunk of their profit accrues yet, come something like the Olympic Games and everyone, including those who usually rally against such atrocities, conveniently appear to forget in the overpowering rush of global adrenalin which tends to accompany such mega events.

Just imagine, realistically, how far something like $17 billion would have gone towards feeding the starving all around the world and towards caring for the millions of refugees driven out of their homes by war, drought, disaster, etc, would have gone with, for good measure, the additional $860 million being used for medical assistance or perhaps education and you will, perhaps and one hopes, realise the shocking brutality of spectacular waste on, possibly although the writer is not sure, the most monumental folly so far to have been staged and staged during this time of complete global chaos which could, no exaggeration, finally push our current lifestyles completely over the edge and into well deserved oblivion.

It used to be that the Olympic Games were promoted as a kind of international peace forum which, when run on their original ‘non-profit’ lines, they were in many, but not all, respects. But once the ‘Corporate Greed Brigade’ stuck their voracious fingers into the pie, any acceptable concept of peace was tossed firmly out of the global window and, now that professional athletes are allowed to compete alongside amateurs as was previously the case, even any remote possibility of the event being used to create international dialogue on peace has been firmly replaced by that of warmongering as, let’s face it, the ‘global gangsters’ in charge are deeply mired in the arms trade too.

There is yet another side to this charade too: a large percentage of amateur competitors are under the impression that the Olympic Games are still an arena for the peace and harmony, which is, sadly, absent from their home countries and lives; this is especially true if they come from war zones such as Afghanistan. These brave innocents place their complete trust and faith in the belief that through their all so public efforts, progress towards sustainable peace not only can, but will be made, yet, as has become increasingly clear, this is definitely not the case and they are sacrificing their innocence on an extremely painful, downright profiteering, funeral pyre, indeed!

The illusion that the Olympic Games are great global news has been swallowed, hook, line and sinker, by the vast majority of the world population, who look forward to the event for months, sometimes years, in advance and, while, in the good old days, this rang true, the situation now is, putting it bluntly, quite the reverse unless, that is, you happen to be a member of the profit over humanity brigade too.

‘Turning the clock back’ is not always a good thing to attempt and is rarely possible in the true sense of the term, but, when it comes to the Olympic Games, reverse mode is the only way in which the spirit of the games can possibly be resurrected.

 The writer is author of The Gun Tree: One Woman’s War (Oxford University Press, 2001) and lives in Bhurban. Email: zahrahnasir@hotmail.com