It was clear well before the weekend began that the Formula 1 event held in Bahrain on the weekend, was going to be no ordinary race meet.
I should start out by saying that I am a Formula 1 junkie, a hopeless one….
However this weekend was different, and I have to say that I watched the qualifying, and the race with a sense of guilt.
I am no expert on the goings on in Bahrain, so I won’t pretend to know even half of the troubled countries woes. What I do know however, is that the Formula 1 event due to be held in Bahrain last year was cancelled, for the same reasons this years event had question marks over it.
It is not the safety of the drivers I have concern with, these guys risk their lives every time they squeeze into the cockpit, I think their veins are full of adrenalin rather than blood. Also with the amount of money involved I am quite sure the teams can hire a militia as a security detail.
My question is what message does holding the event at all send, and what is the reason for a different message to last year?
I have heard some of the team principles say that holding the race will highlight the protesters struggle and assist in giving them a voice.
My hope is that that is true, and that holding the event is not just about money. The optimistic side of me believes their reasoning, but the realistic side of me thinks it is absolute crap. After all, they clearly had a different view last year when the event was cancelled.
Like I said, I’m no expert on the Bahrain situation, but what I do know is that people are suffering. Therefore it should be a question of respect over cash.
I have tried to think of a similar situation that we can compare it to, and the only one I can think of is the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.
Where this Formula 1 event is similar to Munich is that people are suffering, but the party continues on next door…
For those who don’t know about the Munich Olympics, here is a brief rundown.
Eleven Israeli athletes were held hostage inside the Olympic Village, by a Palestinian group named Black September. All of the hostages ended up being killed in the end, however where this compares with Bahrain, is that during the ordeal, as hostages lay dying on the floor at their feet, and the Isreali’s faced certain death, they endured also hearing right next door the Olympics continuing on regardless. Here is the link to a trailer for the excellent documentary “One Day In September” about the Munich Olympics.
I cannot imagine how worthless and unloved those hostages must have felt. Imagine knowing that the whole world realises you are suffering terribly, and will probably die, but seemingly shrugs its shoulders. The Olympics carried on a couple of hundred metres from the Israeli hostages, they would have heard all the music, the cheering and clapping, and everybody enjoying themselves as their lives were about to come to a very public end. That would have to be the worst feeling, and it seems so heartless and cruel in hindsight.
Those suffering in Bahrain must feel quite similar. I know the race is held miles out of town, however anybody who has been in Melbourne when the Formula 1 is in town knows how the sound carries. Even if they can’t hear it, there would be no escaping knowing what was going on. The parties, the champagne, the rich, the famous, and your own suffering….
Maybe I am a hypocrite for watching it, I dunno, but I know I feel a bit crappy about it…Follow @madwixxy