Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Winter Sports 1: Football and History -

A brief video essay starring Frederic Kanoute

Beyond the Pale

A bombed-out house in Gaza

After an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza. Photograph: Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images

photo from The Guardian

"I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word: Homeland"

I Come From There by Mahmoud Darwish


The world is broken into pieces. Is there a language to bring the pieces back together and make the world whole?

Diplomacy and politics do not appear to contain this language.

Could world football provide the language in which this broken Babel of voices struggles somehow to speak?


From Spanish Football & Sports:


FEDERIC KANOUTE yesterday voiced his personal opinion after
scoring the 2º goal in Sevilla FC 2-1 victory over Deportivo in the
1ºleg of the SPANISH CUP ( image below).

We are all terrified & concerned as human beings of what is occurring
in Palestina, & we pray daily for a stop to the military activities so that the
Palestinian people can stop suffering. It´s a complex affair, it is not black
& white at all, Kanoute has a democratic right -plus as a Muslim- to
express his feelings.

However, just for reflexion, SFS feels it is best not to mix politics with
sport. The latter is already emotionally charged as to have another
emotional element get mixed in. Sports is meant to united, while politics
by its nature disunites as there is always a loser.

Althought Kanoute´s action is human, a sign of solidarity & a right, it´s
best be kept off the field. Its the ethical thing to do: neutrality in Sports


The above comment from a blog post suggests that Frederic Kanoute's gesture of displaying a "political" message in removing his shirt after scoring a goal for Sevilla--on January 7 at home to Deportiva La Coruna in the Copa del Rey--was inappropriate: "not the ethical thing to do," as the poster, one STRIKER, puts it.

What do you think?

Was Kanoute out of line? Or was he taking a useful step in attempting to find a language in which to communicate collectively held thoughts and feelings otherwise either inexpressible or effectively proscribed in the "authorized" world media language outlets?

Was his a legitimate attempt to begin through the communication of an intelligible sign to put the pieces back together and make the world whole--or merely, as STRIKER has implied and others have more specifically suggested, a further explosive fracturing device, aggravating rather than healing, separating rather than bringing together? And even, in the worse case, perhaps indeed also a naive and distracting sideshow somehow compromising the sacred "neutrality of sports"?

Beyond the Pale would be curious to know what Pseuds readers think about this.

In order to reach a semi-informed position from which to consider the question, please consider the following video evidence, comprised of ten minutes or so of clips of the event as reported in various You Tube postings--this is the important evidence--followed by another ten minutes or so of clips from the same source, documenting highlights of the player's career with Sevilla and before that with Tottenham (while entertaining in themselves, these latter clips relate to the question at hand only insofar as they establish Kanoute's footballing fame, and thus viewing them might be thought of as optional if you're a football fan and thus familiar with this well-known player's career already--or if you don't think demonstrations of his skills to be relevant in any case).


The video evidence

Frederic Kanoute scores for Sevilla vs. Deportivo La Coruna (2-1) in the Copa del Rey 07.01.09 (Spanish match broadcast--Kanoute goal only.)(1:17)



Frederic Kanoute with Gaza (still photos/music)(Historical framing)(0:58)



Footballer Frederic Kanoute showing his support for Gaza (Algeria channel news story, with historical context.)(1:27)



Frederic Kanoute the greatest football player in the world (Frederic Kanoute celebrates with Luis Fabiano.)(0:17)



Sevilla vs Deportivo La Coruna 2-1 (Ahistorical view: Spanish broadcast match highlights, all goals: Luis Fabiano scores on a free kick for Sevilla's first; then Jesus Navas crosses to Diego Capel, who heads down past Diego Colotto to Kanoute, who scores Sevilla's second and celebrates with Luis Fabiano, showing his "Palestina" shirt; finally Omar Bravo pulls one back for La Coruna.)(2:49)



Three nights later, on January 10, Sevilla travels to La Coruna to again face Deportivo, this time in Jornada 18 of the La Liga season. An unrepentant Freddy Kanoute appears as a second half substitute, and in 33 minutes produces two fine goals on wonderful crosses--the first to Luis Fabiano, the second to Renato--to lead Sevilla to a 3-1 victory. Spanish broadcast match highlights.(3:06)



Frederic Kanoute Tribute--a "Frederic Kanoute complication" (sic) compiling Kanoute goals for Sevilla, to '08. (Apolitical)(6:33)



Kanoute: Thunder! (Compilation: Freddy Kanoute with Tottenham, to '07)(4:53)



The question then would be: having viewed this evidence, fellow Pseuds, do you agree with the conclusion reached by STRIKER (above)?


gg said...

well done!
To some people, sport is "holy" - politics shouldn't be allowed to defile it.
Sport is very, very important to me, but some things are more important.
Kanoute is entitled to voice his opinion on anything under the sun and face the consequences of his statements. I applaud him.
Those who say that sport and politics should not be mixed fail to see that they are inextricably entwined, and have been for ages.

P.S. Your writing is always excellent, usually informative, and often enlightening.
I'm glad you found your way here!

mac said...

Have not thought this through, so this will be words spewed onto the page.

We must be allowed to express our opinions.

My only reservation is that there's no dialogue here. It's a statement, a slogan. It may, or may not, be shared by his teammates, or his club's fans.

Even if it is, and they expess solidarity, then, football's tribal nature will mean that some opposing teams may (will) take an opposing stance (this migh be more strongly the case in countries where footballing rivalries - the derby kind - encompass political differences between rival fans far more than occurs in England).

And there tends to be no dialogue in those cases. If there were (to compare a minor divide with an inestimably greater one) Liverpool and Everton would be building a shared stadium as we speak. If THEY can't agree....

Wow. I'm awfully negative, aren't i? As I said above, it's not that I think sportspeople shouldn't be allowed to express an opinion, political or otherwise, as much as real people - it's more that I don't think football's the most useful sport from within which to do it.

STRIKER is wrong when he says "Sports is meant to united, while politics by its nature disunites as there is always a loser." There's always (well, usually) a loser in sport, too. In fact, the point of sport is to pit people/teams (and by extension, their fans) against one another - and in no sport is this more pointed than in football. There is neutrality in sport, and even in football, but football, in particular, thrives on rivalry.

Tragedy can unite, but often briefly, and we all know about songs that certain fans of certain clubs sing mocking the past tragedies of rivals.

Again, all that shouldn't stop Kanoute. Football has a global reach. He may have brought comfort to those suffering by letting them know that the were not without support.

But world peace through football?
Cricket, maybe.

offsideintahiti said...

Good question, BtP.

I don't have time to look at all the videos or to do any in-depth thinking (as if I could when I have the time), but my gut feeling is that it depends on the message.

"Vote for so-and-so" would be totally out of place, whereas a plea for atrocities to stop is understandable.

offsideintahiti said...

But why did I stop just short of writing "commendable"?

beyond the pale said...

Appreciate the thoughts, all... Purpose here was to think a bit, and to get people thinking.

"Inextricably entwined" indeed, gg.

Offie, as to the "plea" nature of FK's gesture, do take a look at at least the second clip listed--Frederic Kanoute with Gaza. (It's less than a minute.)

(By the way, all, FK drew not only a yellow card but a fine for his action.)

Margin said...

hmm, combining my two great passions and the two subjects about which I like to write.

Sorry - The idea sickens me.

Politics has to be a completely open, completely free, and a completely unfettered expression of ideas and views.

So Kanoute might just as well have put "Kill the Jews" or "KKK" or "Bin Laden" or "CCCP" or "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" on his t-shirt.

Because if we accept he has the right to make one political statement through football, then we accept the right of every footballer to make any political statement they wish.

And I can't accept that sport is the place for that.

After all - There is no issue in politics that is not controversial.

A player can withdraw from sport for political reasons. But that is surely different to making sport political. It is in fact a statement that in some instances the right of a citizen to be political means setting sport aside for a greater principle.

beyond the pale said...

It's said English is currently a world language, but could FK have made his statement equally effectively by giving a speech or writing an article in English? Or in French, or Spanish, or Arabic, for that matter?

And this is curious to me: I find a commonalty of feeling with many people--often perfect strangers, often people with whom I don't share any other language--through football. It sounds odd, but it's true. Watch a bit of a match in a public place: no more than a few minutes go by and the people in the room, wherever they may come from and whatever their native language, will find a way of communicating.

There are these sentences in Pascal Mercier's novel Night Train to Lisbon that have given me pause for reflection:

"Of the thousand experiences we have, we find language for one at most and even this one merely by chance and without the care it deserves. Buried under all the mute experiences are those unseen ones that give our life its form, its color and its melody."

We are said to live in a global village. But where are we to find its true discourse?

It was once thought that "before the Fall," the inhabitants of Paradise were able to communicate with each other and with all other living things without recourse to words at all. The word was the thing and the thing was the word.

But the Fall appears to have occurred.

If nothing else, at least FK, by showing that shirt, appears to have got people talking. And in the long run that may well prove more memorable than who went through in the Copa del Rey, don't you think, Margin?

Margin said...

He'd have got more people talking by wearing a t-shirt declaring "Gays deserve AIDS" (Most people know about Gaza already, and the papers and TV are full of it)

But he is a citizen who has every right to believe gays are a menace and a danger and corrupt our young and condemn us all to eternal damnation.

And he has every right as a citizen to pursue that agenda politically.

So by your judgement if he got people talking about it he surely has a right to use football as a vehicle for his politics WHATEVER that might be?

ringo37 said...

The idea of "communicating through football" is a poetic device, surely, and nothing more. Kanouté isn't making his point through football, he's making it through some writing on a t-shirt.

It sounds like I'm being pedantic but I think it's important to point out the distinction.

If we were all obsessed by, say, plasterers instead of sportsmen, we'd be "brought together" by plastering in much the same way - and, if a superstar plasterer lifted up his dungarees to display a political slogan on his vest, we'd be having pretty much exactly the same debate.

Not everything a footballer does counts as football.

Some excellent points, Margin, by the way.

guitou said...

Timing is everything-
freedom of expression may use sports as a podium for a cause and the first thing coming to my mind in this regard is the Black Power Salute during the 68 Olympics-
For me it was a great moment of American History as well as an illutration that sports can live with political issues.
Therefore when it is in the interest of humanity and used to serve a just cause I am for it-
Well done Beyond ,thanks for bringing it up, it was a good idea;
Did you know there is a French version of Pseuds?

Margin said...

Surely a better saluting example is the Berlin Olympics? Surely that is a far more noteworthy example of sport living with politics?

And surely it was in the interests of humanity to save it's genetically finest specimines from being clouded by interaction and worse still biological integration with Jews and gypsies?

Of course we should not confuse matters here.

Football is sport, like rugby, cricket, and a great many other wonderful things. The Olympics is and always has been a political rally for whatever regime is hosting it.

Margin said...

And no, I had no idea we had a French counterpart.

That's great news.

guitou said...

matter of confusion?
shouldn't be a problem if you are clear about freedom of expression- Meaning you don't have to agree with a person expressing his opinion but you accept his rights to do so-
Reference to Tommie Smith and John Carlos was simply made as a good example for using a podium to promote a cause-
I thought it was a good illustration of sports and politics crossover because of the media attention and coverage at the time-
Comparaison between humanetarian causes is not the topic and treating the difference between one cause versus another could be a source of confusion-

zeph said...

I don't often say this, but maybe the status quo is OK. If a player knows he'll be punished for expressing a political view, he won't do it lightly, and the audience will know that he's going to pay a price for doing it, so take it more seriously. And most sportspeople will bring their fame and influence to bear in supporting causes away from the field of play, which is perhaps the best way to do it?

But Margin is right, we applaud political gestures only when we approve the politics.

Is it a French-originated Pseudscorner, or has our one been translated (possibly by people we know)? And is it called Le Petit Coin des Pseudos?

mac millings said...

Excellent points, indeed, Margin.

It's nice to think that sport could bring us together, and that "in a public place: no more than a few minutes go by and the people in the room, wherever they may come from and whatever their native language, will find a way of communicating", but surely that's in a *neutral* place. There are plenty of public places (esp. public houses) where I wouldn't dream of trying to communicate with those watching a game on the TV.

Margin is correct about the Olympics, too.

And he's also right about sloganeering, in that, as Zeph says, "we applaud political gestures only when we approve the politics." Sports are for, and represent, the people of the fractured world. Football unites them in a mutual like of football, not of each other.

Politicians? There's a guy about to enter the White House, whose main problem come re-election time will be to explain why he hasn't saved the world. In the meantime, however, it looks like he'll be closing the prison at guantanamo Bay. It's a start...

munni said...

I agree wholeheartedly wwith gg's first comment, and think that Kanoute, like the rest of us, has every right to express his views through the means available to him. But, Margin, there's a clear difference between any sort of political messages, whether we agree with them or not, and messages of hatred (racist, homophobic, sectarian, whatever), and I don't think it's inconsistent to say that the former is acceptable and the latter absolutely is not.

I will add, though, that I've always been slightly uncomfortable with celebrities making social or political statements simply because they have a voice and an audience, when in most cases they are no more educated about or invested in their pet issue than the average man on the street.

Guitou, are you going to link us to this parallel version? (don't worry, my school French is far too pathetic to attempt commenting there).

guitou said...

I disagree,
of course it must be a justification for using a sport in order to promote a message-
But it implies a notion of objectivity to accept the way a message is delivered even if you don't agree with the messenger-
Assuming this is a valid argument, what's the point to create a hierarchy of sporting events and to argue over which one is more noteworthy than another to promote a cause-
Also in my view,status quo is not an option because with status quo there is no change-

Anonymous said...

seriously, there is a French version with Beyond's thread - I found out last night, and as Zeph suggested
it could be from one of our friend . May be from the south pacific-
Hopefully the guy about to enter the white house will do a little more than closing Guantanamo and at last he is bringing something the world needs:HOPE-

anonymoi said...

sorry, I do it all the times, I should switch my pseud for Anonymous-

anonymac said...


Absolutely. A good start, and the first of many good things, I hope.

zeph said...

Well, of course, sport is used all the time to promote a message: "BUY OUR PRODUCT! See how good our bank/insurance/beer/sportswear is becase we sponsor your team, now go and SPEND MONEY on it!" We've got used to it and yet, if sport is to be purely about sport, it shouldn't be acceptable. We live with only seeing the manager interviewed in front of a stupid board covered with logos. So perhaps we should accept if the board had political party logos or slogans on?

Suppose Obama and McCain, with their obscenely large campaign funds, had sponsored popular sports teams? (Maybe they did!)

I don't have a set view on this, because the answer is always 'it depends' - on the message, whether or not you agree with it, how dangerous it might be...

offside said...

1) What (and where) is this French thingy?

2) I have NOTHING to do with it.

3) Free Tibet.

mac millings said...


I wouldn't suggest a 'hierarchy', and I'll step back just a little from my point that football is a more divisive sport than an inclusive one, by saying that maybe if, say, the US and Iran played football against each other more often, the world probably would be a better place..


I take your point about the difference between political messages and messages of hatred, but I think there's too much gray area. What if one footballer revealed a slogan that said "Abortion doctors are murderers" and another player one that read "Bush is a murderer"?

Some might consider them messages of hatred, others messages of justice. Do those players have a right to express those views? And even if they do, have they achieved anything?

It's not freedom of expression I have a problem with, it's sloganeering.


Important US politicians almost have to show support for a team. Obama is a Chicago White Sox fan, and I'm sure McCain would be getting very excited about the Arizona Cardinals'(s?) playoff run were he still in the public eye.

offside said...

4) On freddy's shirt, what does the bit in Arabic mean?

Gui-el-maboul said...

"may allah protect offie from mojitos and mosquitos"

offie ben tahiti said...

Et c'est ainsi qu'Allah est grand.

Ebren said...

Free Tibet? Awesome - I'll have one. I can then put it on eBay.

The England football team famously gave a Nazi salute in Berlin in 1938.

You can see it here

Ebren said...

Oh, and the BBC piece on the incident: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/3128202.stm

Margin said...


it would be lovely were that the case and we all felt that everyone had a right to express any view - but just read a few comments below yours and you will see


"there's a clear difference between any sort of political messages, whether we agree with them or not, and messages of hatred (racist, homophobic, sectarian, whatever)"

Of course a white seperatist or an islamic statist or a catholic doesn't believe their message is one of hate when they seek to allow whites their natural culture, protect women from prying eyes, or save the souls of homosexuals.

Politics has to be a free exchange of ideas. And there is no capacity for that on a football pitch. And decided what is and isn't acceptable is not the place of football.

So allowing nothing of the sort is surely the best and most practical option.

guitou said...

-common sense may be used everywhere including a football pitch-The "comments below" you are refering to, are de facto the best illustration of subjectivity and censorship.
I think you're missing the point, first of all Berlin salute in 1938 had no real time impact whatsoever it was long after the war that analysts started to publish their interpretation of the shameful salute from the England team to the Nazis-I don't think this incident can be related to our topic, it was about a bunch of cowards sucking up to Nazis dictators-
Having said that, I agree that sports and politics should not be mixed only if we were in a perfect world- But we're not- Yet sports is no more important than humanity an there is nothing wrong if a football player use his platform to protest against repression using his rights of freedom of speech- Even if it doesn't reflect our opinion trying to apply restriction on these rights it's a devious way to deny them-
In conclusion, since sports had always been mixed in politics, the connection was inevitable-We have to accept it.The selection between the good and the bad messages is left to the censors -

Margin said...


That is in part not true. The Nazi salutes at the time were very very contentious and were published with condemnation in this country and with validation across Germany (which by then included what used to be Austria).

Claiming that the massive propaganda coop of getting England to play in Germany during the short phase of appeasement had no real time impact is just not true.

But we also have to acknowledge that that was politics forced on football from outside. England were forced by the Tory government of the age to play in Germany at that time to bolster the perception of peace.

Had a player not wanted to back that he could have (as Australian Cricketers did in regards to South Africa decades later) pulled out.

But as I said, deciding that politics trumps football should mean sacrificing football for a political principle. Not infecting football with personal politics.

And I disagree that we have to accept sport and politics mixing.

We work hard to keep racism out of football. And we largely succeed in England. But we do so on the grounds that football is not a forum for politics.

We have to - because football is not an open forum for all ideas. And if it is not that it is no place for politics.


BTW - out of curiosity - Do you think Kanoute sensibly blamed both Hamas and Israel for the lack of a Palestinian state?

beyond the palegin-- said...


beyond the pale said...


Speaking as you have been of "good sense", "sensibly", etc.--in which category of good sense I suppose you'd file your helpful repetitive references to Nazis, implicitly if illogically equating them with Freddy Kanoute (who by the way as you ought to know has spent literally millions of his well-earned footie money on relieving human suffering, building hospitals and mosques, not to mention his recent brave gesture of compassion toward the enormous human suffering even now occurring in Gaza)--I wonder if, as an avowed member of the loyally "collectivist" Spurs support ("we work hard to keep racism out of football"), you'd "sensibly" feel that the chants directed at Sol Campbell by the Spurs travelling support at Fratton Park on September 28 ("He's big, he's black, he takes it in the crack"--and that was merely one the nicer ones) could be:
(a) nastier than anything dreamed up at the Nuremberg rally, or
(b) evidence of the history-proof purity and high-ground integrity of sport?

munni said...

Without knowing what the Arabic script says I can't say this with certainty, but now that I think about it he's not even making a political statement. He's not casting blame or recommending a course of action or even overtly taking sides (unless you think that "Palestine" is an inherently politicised term, but I would argue that it depends on context, and the context in this case is only what we project onto it ourselves).

The single word "Palestine" is a simple reminder that bad things are happening there. Hardly a controversial point.

beyond the pale said...


"The context in this case is only what we project onto it ourselves..."

Absolutely. So far there's been a lot of reading-in going on here (and that shouldn't be surprising, as much of the international response to the Kanoute gesture has also included a good deal of reading-in... which as we know is not the same thing as truly reading).

As you suggest and as that short clip linked in the piece says, Kanoute is "with Gaza" in the sense one who has and shows compassion can legitimately be said to be "with" the object of that compassion.

When I said earlier that I posted this piece in order to get people to think, I now see that the thought we were meant (and I don't mean meant by me) to arrive at may have been the one you have just stated.


Thank you for your efforts in, at several points, helpfully raising the level of this debate, especially by introducing the example of the actions of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics. (Gui, could we two really be the only elephants in this graveyard--er, fertile breeding ground of ideas--with memories that long?) Your implied proposition that there are causes and there are causes--some better than others (and Munni and Zeph have echoed this quite reasonable view) goes right to the heart of the matter at hand. Discriminations of this (or any) kind make great bedfellows with thought, one has always found.

But rather than wrestle further in the narrow confines of this tiny comments box with the further implications that perhaps follow, I've tried to address them in the slightly more expansive venue (ahem!) of a proper Pseuds Sequel post. Perhaps it's just the magnifying effect of my neural screen-saver, but there are larger issues I see developing here. (And if what's going on in Gaza right now--that little matter referred to on Freddy's shirt--doesn't qualify as a larger matter than the pristine sacredness of sport, it's hard to imagine what would.) I've now written that anyway, more or less an an extension of some comments made by you and Greengrass earlier, and sent it off to Ebren, so with luck it will go up here soon--inch-by-inch-Allah, as Offie's Adamo might say or sing it--no doubt to fan the flames, but then what else is any forum of free expression for?

(A bit exhausted by all this, folks, so unfortunately was unable to locate that video
clip I'd wanted to give--the one showing all those virtual-reality citizens standing shoulder-to-shoulder in an only-slightly-disorganized demonstration of the Pseuds Power Salute, all swaying slightly--and wearing grass skirts naturally, as the rally is being held on the sands beyond the margin of the promenade of the Pakalolo Potted Palms Paradise Hotel.)

Guitou said...

welcome to the hotel,
is it the famous hotel where you can check in anytime
but you never can check out?

my favorite version because ,she stands in the dorway and she shows you the way....

Angelica said...

Gui--And if you scan very rapidly through all 873 of the posted comments as I did, you will, in addition to suddenly feeling as though it's 1977 all over again (lord help us, the room's spinning), learn that the performance actually took place in Greater Oceania, not all that far from points Pakololan.

And by the way, since we've traded seventies trivia before, did you know that the hotel the song was written about was a 70s-updated-and-gentrified old Gold Rush era establishment in Boulder, Colorado, called the Hotel Boulderado (you'll note the syllables fit the tune of the song)? In that snow-gilded era more white flakes were probably consumed by rock stars there than were ski'd upon on the slopes of Aspen. I edited a magazine there during that time and found it absolutely the most unreal environment in which I have ever almost existed. Thus, again, the entire complex would be totally Pakololan.

So thanks (I think) for the memories...

beyond the pale said...

Gui--Forgot to add, "Angelica" is a name I sometimes use when in a Seventies-ish mood. (All your fault.)

beyond the strip mall said...


Re. Your projection (commenting to Zeph) of McCain's show of excitement, were he to be elected, about the Phoenix (Arizona) Cardinals, you imply that McCain is actually alive. This is brave.

And as a student of the symbolic significance of NFL team names, have you ever considered the oxymoronic conflict in the idea of a Phoenix also being a Cardinal? That would be like an immortal mortal, would it not? Not indeed that either a Cardinal or a Phoenix could be found in those environs. No cardinals in the desert mall strip surely, and though there are undeniably a lot of dizzy old birds doddering around those sand and concrete expanses, most appear (in BTP's longer view) likelier to be soon turned to rather than ever to rise from their ashes.

guitou said...

Beyond Angelica,
You almost fooled me for a while I thought I got a charming lady attention..
Eagles, They Knew about Pakalolo all right but they were turbo-charged with serious stuff-
The hotel mentioned in their song was a place on the mexican border where they used to go for detox--"you can't kill the beast" -----"we didn't have this wine since 1969" the year the hotel became a rehab clinic.
Don Henley live in Texas now he became a serious business and family man, Walsh always wild but people still wants to hear his guitar-I think they lost Timothy for Good-As far as Frey I heard he is putting a big band together-I love their sound as well as their lyrics, it's vintage music at its best isn'it ?

Margin said...


The context is fairly unambiguous is it not? He did not display an equivelent 'Israel' t-shirt when the fighting was one way a month ago (with Hamas shells landing in Israeli towns and villages). And now that both sides are killing eachother with similar methods he did not display a "peace in the Middle East" t-shirt.

He quite clearly took one side over another. And I would imagine that somewhat diminishes the match for those fans watching who feel (passionately I'm sure) that Israel is as wronged in this as Gaza.

Now as it goes I agree with his stance. Of course I hate Hamas and want it wiped out so that the people of Gaza can move forward - but I fundementally believe Israel must take the first step towards long term peace by withdrawing from lands that are not theirs. (Hamas of course want all jews dead, but most palestinians, even the majority who voted them in in gaza, would surely accept co-existing states if Israel moved first).

Margin said...


I've never heard anyone sing that ditty at a spurs game.

I'm pretty sure the scum who would sing it happilly in this day and age while surrounded by like-minded friends, or would type it online where anonymity is assured, would be far too afraid of the inevitable smack in the gob if they sang it at WHL.

I have heard sung the following horribly homophobic song. (and it is a shame homophobia is widely viewed as more acceptable than racism)

Sol, Sol, wherever you may be
Not long now til lu-na-cy
don't give a £$%^ if you're hanging from a tree
you judas &^%$ with HIV.

And I am all in favour of banning any fan who sings it.

I am in favour of that because it diminishes the enjoyment of the sport by a great many other fans who in the course of enjoying sport should be able to reasonable not expect to face such offence.

And hence back to my 'politics and football should be seperate'

Sport is done for enjoyment - and offending people, as politics always does, diminishes that.

A jewish fan who feels hurt at the killing Hamas was undertaking before (and continues taking during) Israel's actions will surely feel somewhat affronted by this bland and worthless statement by a footballer.

Now in a political forum we abdicate the right to claim offence about such things in the name of free speech. In Sport we should not have to.

Margin said...


Should be able to reasonably expect that they won't face such offence.

guitou said...

The truth is, I am tired to disagree with you!
However It's O.K to disagree, it was still an interesting debate,and I forgive you for being so wrong :-)
Seriously, a difference of opinion shouldn't be an obstacle to a dialogue because it's only the dialogue that may bring people together-At the same time it couldn't be a dialogue without difference of opinions.
As long as we are able to communicate and express our opinion on a pseuds page on the World wide Web, even if we don't ever reach a general consensus at least we are enjoying a freedom of expression-I think that's what we should always remind ourselves and hope that people, not only in Gaza and Israel but also in Tibet, Zimbawe and all over the world may enjoy the same freedom-
Best of luck with the Spurs they'll need some against Arsenal......ha!

mac millings said...


Thanks for bringing this up. I don't think about this kind of thing as much as I should - but (or rather, THEREFORE) it's all I've thought about all day.

It's useful to have what one thought were one's opinions (if one had opinions at all, which is doubtful in my case) pushed and pulled and poked - I certainly needed it, and am enjoying it. Brain hurts though.

Looking forward to the next piece.

Margin said...


We can indeed agree to disagree - disagreement is something friends should be able to do quite comfortably - and politics is all about sharing opinions freely.

We just therefore disagree about whether it is right to declare some places (a football pitch in this instance) a politics free zone.

As for Ar5ena1 - We've played them, L'pool, ManU and Chelskov five times this season.

We've not lost a single one of those games. (2 wins, 3 draws)

Its the likes of Wigan we need to improve against.

Tusker Greengrass said...

I wish the world was so that we could seperate sport from politics - but it isn't.
Since I am one of the "elephants", I recall how the Saffers showed us that with their treatment of Basil D'Oliveira (a "coloured" cricketer, Offie - do keep up!) and I - a lover of rugby - was happy to work on a boycott of their rugby sides.

beyond the vortex said...


About the apparent misattribution re. that bermuda triangle hotel of song and story (a bit petty to go about this in context of the rain of white phosphorous upon Gaza, but as Rafa Benitez might say, pseudo-"facts" are pseudo-"facts"), it seems another urban legend dies hard. (Unless, as one supposes possible, the hotel named by BTP was merely an earlier stop in the band's notorious excess/detox cycle--and in the song, as in the history, it all runs together?)

(I believe that among those who subscribed to BTP's version of the legend, by the way, was the poet/singer Ed Sanders, who was working on a book about the Eagles back then, but pulled out in time before being sucked in by the vortex...)

beyond the pale said...


"And now that both sides are killing each other with similar methods..."

I don't think that killing people with rockets--or for that matter with popguns--is justifiable. I believe in peaceful mediation through language. That's why I am writing to you.

But "similar methods"?

Sorry mate, but you're not up with the news. The IDF is firing 105 mm howitzer shells loaded with with white phosphorous, a ghastly chemical weapon that spreads death deep into the biosphere, burning through skin to internal organs and bones, meanwhile burning through all human pretence to political "rationality" as its use exposes just how completely our confidence in our own sense of fairness blinds us to the true depths of human cruelty.

And I think that the use of such a weapon, in any place at any time, is simply unconscionable.

But don't trust me. Check out the news. And I don't mean the Times--part of the smokescreen about the smokescreen. Search "white phosphorous" on Google, or better yet on You Tube. The pictures to which you will be led will tell you what you need to know. You'll find the unmistakable images of the hideous jellyfishlike eruptions of WP shells exploding in the night sky over Gaza--images recorded by the way by horrified observers ranging from Human Rights Watch to Israeli soldiers.

And you'll also see the charred torsos of babies burned alive.

Viewer advisory is of course advised. But then, as with seeing the hard unbowdlerized words of those ugly Spurs chants, the act of observing the truth is sometimes unpleasant. Then again, it's also sometimes necessary.

And should you care to drop your conscientious blinders for a moment and look into the hard science about white phosphorous as a weapon: here's a link to a site that offers some of the gruesome medical forensics in regard to the firebombing that's going on in Gaza (and went on before that in WWII over Hamburg and later again, in Vietnam, in Fallujah... and where next, if it continues to be justified by "rational" apologetics like yours):


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