8/08/2008, the lucky numbers that mark the start of this year's Olympic games in Beijing! Several space explorers participated in the opening event and/or the run up to it. Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova and the first Malaysian in space, plus the first three Chinese National astronauts all played parts.
Conspicuously absent were US, European and Japanese astronauts. Although the Olympics were created to be a purely sporting event, the games, for the past several decades have become political arenas and a way to make political statements. This, for better or for worse.
I for one, hope that relations between the Western countries (especially the US) and China will improve soon. It doesn't make any sense to ignore or to try to isolate China. I don't defend China for much of what the country's leadership has done in the last century and the beginning of this one, but it seems more effective to engage rather than not.
Call me naive or idealistic, but my hope is that through engagement, we can improve life for everyone on the planet.