Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre Urge Boycott of Olympics



Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre Urge Boycott of Olympics


Long, C.


Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre


Oct. 14, 1968




Intercontinental Press, 6 (14 Oct. 1968): 858-9
Bertrand Russell Archives, C68.28




Intercontinental Press


McMaster University


Bertrand Russell Archives




Le Monde of October 5 carried a report over four columns which states: "The Warmed forces deliberately opened fire on demonstrators in Mexico." The first sentence of this report reads: "It is a massacre. There exists no other word to describe what took place during the meeting organized by the Student Strike Committee."
The account in Le Monde continues: "The speaker reiterated his advice to remain calm but he was brutally attacked and garrotted by one of those next to him, while others on the platform who tried to escape were seized by men emerging from apartments. Contrary to the version given by most Mexican newspapers, there was no rifle shot or any provocation whatsoever. On the contrary, one could see in the crowd men in civilian clothes with the left hand in a white glove who gave a signal to the military to open fire from all directions. The horror began. There were over 5,000 soldiers with 300 tanks and they killed indiscriminately . . . The anger, astonishment, agony, horror are all combined. There has been nothing since 1914 in the way of comparable killing in the Mexican capital. The photographs of the wounded demand a reason for this massacre of the innocents."

This description by an indisputably impartial reporter of Le Monde suggests the enormity of the cold-blooded massacre of students and ordinary Mexican citizens, including women and children, who gathered at a peaceful meeting to listen to speeches about the reasons for the student strike. The Mexican Government has behaved with a barbarity comparable only to the massacres carried out by occupying Nazi troops in Europe or by napalming American planes in Vietnam. Throughout the world people have been aroused to passionate anger and alarm. We express our most profound solidarity with the heroic Mexican students. We ask people, organizations and nations to boycott the Olympic games. We ask all those preparing demonstrations anywhere in the world, on any question, to direct their demonstrations as well to the Mexican embassy. We hope that the demonstration in London on October 27 will be a demonstration not only against the massacres in Vietnam, but in total solidarity with the Mexican students and in support of their legitimate demands. Almost immediately after this ambush-massacre occurred, the Mexican Government met the Olympic Committee and said: "The intervention of the forces of order have assured calm and that there will be no trouble to prevent the Olympic games from taking place." The same day, the United States State Department declared: "The disturbances in Mexico City affected only a small part of the population and order is now restored." There is clear complicity between the United States and Mexican Governments to meet popular unarmed resistance with massacre. If the Olympic Committee agrees to hold the games in Mexico, it stands guilty of complicity in this crime.

If the Olympic games take place in Mexico, they will take place at the invitation of a barbarous government which is outside the pale of civilized society. We hope that Mexican workers and peasants will rise to the defense of their fellow Mexican citizens murdered in cold blood. Nothing short of the overthrow of this government will prevent further such atrocities. The Mexican students have the support of decent people in every country in the world.

Bertrand Russell
Jean-Paul Sartre