In the middle of the Sochi story, between the Russian officials who want to enforce the country's new anti-LGBT laws during the Winter Olympics and the activists who believe holding the Games in a human-rights-hostile atmosphere is immoral, are the 104 members of the International Olympic Committee. The members of the committee are the ones who chose Sochi as a location, and they're the ones responsible for the security of athletes and staff, the ones who suffer financially in the event of a boycott or sponsor pullouts. And so far, the IOC's reaction to events has been, at best, passive. The group said nothing publicly after the laws were passed and, when pressed in recent weeks, has said it's received assurances from the Russian government that the law won't affect the Games, a statement Russian officials then denied.
What is the IOC? Who are these people who have become so suddenly critical? Well, here are some of them:
1. Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal of the United Kingdom
2. His Royal Highness Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan
3. Her Royal Highness The Princess Nora of Liechtenstein
4. His Royal Highness The Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
5. His Royal Highness Prince Nawaf Faisal Fahd Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia
6. His Royal Highness Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia
7. His Royal Higness The Sovereign Prince Albert II of Monaco
8. His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
9. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark
10. Her Royal Highness Princess Haya al Hussein of the United Arab Emirates
11. Princess Duchess Nancy Fancypants of Wizard Elf Castle
That last one may or may not be real. But this fact is: 10% of the International Olympic Committee consists of European and Middle Eastern dukes and princesses. Ten of the people in charge of handling this international human rights crisis have the job title of "aristocrat." It's not reassuring.
CORRECTION: Prince Joachim is Belgian. An earlier version of this item misstated his nationality. (8/18/13)