Friday, January 16, 2009

Winter Sports 1.5: History and Football Part II - Beyond the Pale

Liverpool to be asked to explain show of support for Michael Shields before West Ham match
Show of support: Liverpool will have to answer questions from the FA after an orchestrated display to back Michael Shields, a fan convicted of attempted murder Photo: GETTY IMAGES.
(Photo from The Telegraph)

Football and history, suggests Pseuds' Corner regular Greengrass, have always been "inextricably intermingled".

Pseuds' regulars Mac Millings and Margin have raised questions regarding the appropriateness of Frederic Kanoute's display of a "Palestina" t-shirt after scoring for Sevilla in a Copa del Rey match on 01/07/09.

Looking back a bit, we see that Kanoute is far from the first footballer to use a t-shirt as a statement.

Who can forget that following Brazil's victory in the 2002 World Cup final, four Brazilian players were seen displaying t-shirts proclaiming themselves to be possessed by Jesus. And after Milan's 2007 Champions League final victory over Liverpool, one of these same players, Kaka, removed his top to reveal the same t-shirt legend: "I belong to Jesus". (Should this statement in fact be true, and should Kaka, as is rumoured, be sold to Manchester City, it might thus be a sound idea for City supporters to understand that the player is only theirs on loan from Jesus.)

Are religion, politics, sport and history inextricably intermingled?

In 1997 Robbie Fowler used a shirt display to indicate his support of sacked Liverpool dock workers. He was fined 2000 Swiss francs (about 900 quid) by UEFA.

In 2007, in a Brazil friendly with Guatemala appointed as a farewell occasion upon the retirement of the great striker Romario, the player removed his shirt after scoring a goal, revealing the slogan: "I have a daughter with Down's syndrome who is a little princess." Romario was, remarkably, yellow-carded for this "inappropriate" gesture.

Last fall in a Championship match Ipswich midfielder Michael Norris mimicked being handcuffed, as a show of support for his friend former Plymouth Argyle keeper Luke McCormick, sentenced to seven years in prison for causing the death of a two-year-old child by dangerous driving. The FA fined Norris 7000 pounds. Norris made a public apology. The fine money was donated to charity.

On November 30, 2008, South African midfielder Stephen Pienaar of Everton scored the only goal in a match away to Tottenham. Compounding his temerity, Pienaar then displayed to spectators at White Hart Lane a t-shirt bearing the slogan "God is Great."

In the first week of December 2008, Liverpool players, training for a match against West Ham, wore shirts with mottos supporting Liverpool fan Michael Shields, sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in Bulgaria for attempted murder of a waiter. (See above photo of Steven Gerrard thus attired.) No FA fines were imposed.

How should we regard these incidents? As simple proof of Greengrass's assertion? Or should we consider the incidents on a case-by-case basis, apportioning praise or blame according to our judgment of the rectitude, or lack of same, of the cause being supported?

Some may recall the shirt shown off by Ian Wright of Arsenal upon tying Cliff Bastin's club scoring record. Wright's shirt bore the legend: "179 just done it."

And then there was the shirt exposed by Swansea's Lee Trundle following his club's victory in the 2000 Football League final, contested at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff. Trundle's shirt depicted a cartoon figure in Swansea kit urinating on a Cardiff shirt.

James Joyce's Stephen Dedalus famously asserted that history is a nightmare from which one can't wake up. And then there is the even better-known truism to the effect that we ignore history only at the risk of repeating the mistakes of the past.

There is currently quite a bit of world history through which it might well be more pleasant to sleep a dreamless sleep. But unfortunately this history feels much less like a peaceful slumber than a nightmare. And if we are human and conscious, the mistakes of the immediate past trouble our sleep. Even George Bush, in his recent farewell address to the American people upon leaving office, confessed that his regime had contained certain "disappointments" (he did not use the word "mistakes"). Foremost among these, he said, was the sad fact that there had been no weapons of mass destruction to be found in Iraq.

This dovetails with Freddy Kanoute's shirt in that there are indeed plenty of weapons of mass destruction to be found currently in Gaza; American-manufactured weapons at that. White phosphorous has been raining down upon the civilian population of Gaza from the sky.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=KBsgGvHRpz8

This weapon has been used before: in the firebombings of Hamburg, Vietnam and Fallujah. This is history; these are--as Rafa Benitez, were he a CNN reporter, would tell us, fishing the relevant scraps of paper from his pockets--"facts."

But what good would it do Rafa, or for that matter CNN? We probably would not want to listen. We'd probably be doing our best to look away. Perhaps we might be looking forward to next weekend's round of bread and circuses--er, EPL fixtures.

There is, for example, Tottenham's momentous home match with Portsmouth. Surely a respite from nasty world history, that.

Ah but wait. Let us think back a moment to Spurs' Sept. 28 visit to Fratton Park. A 2-0 win for Pompey; nothing very remarkable about that. But what is memorable about the match is not the scoreline. It will be recalled for some time to come, for another reason: the vicious racist and homophobic chants directed at ex-Spurs man Sol Campbell by the Tottenham travelling support.

Our Pseuds' correspondent Margin has lately written on this site about the rousing example set by Spurs fans at the Lane in their vocal support of keeper Heurelho Gomes in a November victory at home to Blackburn. So this lot, we know, have shown their contributions can have a significant effect upon the course of a match.

And what was it they were singing in that September match at Fratton Park? Nothing inappropriate or unsporting or even approximately historical, surely?

Here are two of the chants, as reported by the Guardian:

"He's big, he's black. He takes it up his crack. Sol Campbell, Sol Campbell."

"Sol, Sol, wherever you may be / You're on the verge of lunacy / And we don't give a fuck if you're hanging from a tree / You Judas cunt with HIV."

"Hanging from a tree", the Guardian suggested, could be a reference to a racist lynching, or more likely, to Judas's guilt-ridden suicide after betraying Jesus. Or, perhaps, to the death of footballer Justin Fashanu who hanged himself in 1998, after years of anti-gay taunts.

Nothing inappropriate, nightmarish or historical in any of that, surely.

This weekend Portsmouth travels to the Lane, where banks of CCTV cameras will be awaiting them, in anticipation of another friendly singalong from hospitable Spurs supporters.

"Inextricably entwined"? History and footie? Perish the thought. Football, like all sport, boasts the diamantine purity of a Platonic Idea.

Another Pseuds' regular, Guitou, has introduced into this discussion--apropos the Kanoute gesture--the example of Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the American sprinters who, after winning gold and silver medals respectively in the 200 metre final at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, drew great media opprobrium upon themselves by displaying a Black Power salute on the medal-awards podium.

Smith and Carlos, at this distance, are viewed by many as historical heroes, and spoken of in the same breath with Martin Luther King--whose assassination some months earlier (along with the assassination of Robert Kennedy, and the events of the Vietnam War), helped create the historical context out of which the Smith/Carlos action arose.

No human action is not inextricably intertwined with other human actions. Some Pseuds' regulars have complained they do not have time to look at video clips. This is understandable, we're all busy people. Then again, to understand the Kanoute affair in context, one might do worse than begin by looking at this very useful clip documenting the historical context of the event Guitou has referenced:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=eC5ubEEPYv

And perhaps, if you learned something from that one--for, if you were not old enough or brave enough to be cognizant of world history in 1968, still you might wish to learn a bit about it now, not only as it unfolded in that remote past but as it is unfolding here in our painful human present--you might wish to go on and view a few clips of the current ongoing events that form the historical context of Freddy Kanoute's recent controversial shirt-show.

Israel's use of white phosphorous in Gaza was first reported a few days after New Years. The first reports came on maverick websites. Here are some examples (and though some of the video clips are unpleasant, please keep in mind that history has a way of being unpleasant at times--it's just that way):

January 5/6, 2009:

http://bocktherobber.com/2009/01/gaza-israel-firebombs-civilians

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zmCGcsX-WVA&feature=channel_page

By January 11, the enormity of the war crimes in Gaza was being documented by international human rights advocates appearing on Al Jazeera:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=SMR5D9HfsJE&feature=related

By January 12, the mainstream news media giant CNN was finally confirming the white phosphorous atrocities:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=AGvJIAufzO8

Cameras were now trained upon the nightmare. I will spare you the images of burned children I found in my latest video searches: they are simply too horrendous. What has once burned its way into your eyeballs will remain permanently embedded there.

But let me describe to you one final clip I discovered this morning.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=RLAGPxQwK0I

Look at this one and then try not to remember it forever. In this clip one may see the streams of white phosphorous shells and tracers lighting up the dark night sky (and awakening the roosters) as they rain down upon Gaza City in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday January 13. If you're like me, you'll imagine yourself there.

Then again, if entertainment is your object, and you enjoy fireworks, the clip may well simply entertain you with its aesthetic delights. When it's done, you can turn your mind back to the footie.

But if you're me, you'll feel the hot breath of the nightmare called history warming the back of your neck and making the small hairs stand on end. And you may no longer be able to deny, ignore or forget the human implications of what you're seeing. As to the feelings of the victims down below, who can imagine that? No one who hasn't been through such a thing.

But one can feel compassion. Which is what, I believe, Frederic Kanoute must have been feeling when he decided to wear that shirt and to show it.

And let us keep in mind that this gesture on Kanoute's part was no one-off. His record of backing up his Muslim beliefs with appropriate actions is well known (at least to some). He built a home for orphans in Mali. He put up half a million dollars to keep open a mosque in Sevilla. And as to that Sevilla shirt he wears, with its logo advertising the betting site 888, he's been chafing against the wearing of it for some years now (for Muslims, gambling is forbidden). This time around, he found a way to put out a shirt message of his own.


33 comments:

gg said...

Thanks, BtP!
I generally agree with you.
I just posted on your other blog, so I'll keep my gob shut on here for the time being.

beyond the pale said...

Should anyone feel brave enough to
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 re. 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" political apologetics):

http://kennysideshow.blogspot.com/2009/01/fire-bombing-gaza.html

mac millings said...

As my name has been invoked, I must respond. This is something I was working on all day yesterday (or at least in the 5-minute windows of opportunity that work and kids allowed), and decided not to post as it was too late, and I could barely understand the words on the screen any more...

It has been changed only slightly since reading Part 2, notably the D'Oliveira bit, and some rewording at the end:

"I should probably wait until BtP's next piece, but my words are usually better suited to the bottom of an old thread than the top of a new one, so...[oh, the irony! - ed.]

Beyond,

I admire you for your writing, your breadth of knowledge, and for the fact that you're still going strong at 125 years old. But I feel you were a little harsh on Margin earlier (much earlier, it's taken me 12 hours to earn myself enough time to post this, and this is therefore, you'll be pleased to read, an abridged version).

Where I agree with Margin is that, if you let people make political statements on a sporting stage, you run the risk of unpleasant things being said and done.

Where I disagree is in his opinion that the best way to deal with that is to suppress all such statements.

Gui's right, Margin. We may not live in a world where everyone respects the rights of others to express their opinion, but we should be trying to. And while you might think he’s just dreaming to think that we ever could, so are you if you think that we can keep politics out of sport. Sometimes it’s necessary to keep it in (see D’Oliveira).

Freedom of Expression is challenging. It's easy to want to make exceptions, but hard to know what those exceptions should be. Many ideas we take for granted as "right" now will be considered abominable in future (and vice versa). The only course is to allow the opinionated to express themselves, and hope that The People, over time, will make the right choices.

I don't think that t-shirt gestures on a football pitch get you very far, because I don't like soundbites. I prefer dialogue (although at least we're debating here, and amicably, and I'm sure we're not the only ones - so maybe I'm wrong on this). I also feel that the medium of on-field opinonizing has been cheapened by handcuff gestures and the snorting of the 18-yard box, among other instances.

But banning it? no.

This brings me to a final question. What about the chants that Margin and BtP have quoted above? I abhor them, of course, and I applaud the driving of racists from the football grounds of England, because those players on the pitch who happen not to be white should not have to suffer such abominable taunts.

However, while the arrival of the language of Political Correctness stopped my uncle from making racist statements in the '90s, he didn't stop being a racist.

When the racists leave the football ground, where do they go? And do their brethren remain within, silent but unpersuaded?

I'm troubled. If we are suggesting (and we are), BtP, that we allow any kind of statement on the pitch, what about those made at pitch-side?

Does it all mean that we allow them to have their say, but out-sing them, protest, persuade, and take heart that, if America can elect a black President, we really can make change happen? I'm sorry if that's a stupid question, but those are the kind that stupid people ask."

ringo37 said...

Mac, good post. But again I feel compelled to argue that none of this concerns sport. It's not that politics should or shouldn't be a part of sport; it's that it really can't.

Carlos and Smith, for instance, made their protest during a ceremony; the sporting element was incidental. Kanoute made his through sloganeering, not through football (how do you express the concept of Palestine through the medium of football?). And wouldn't the right thing to do in the D'Oliveira case have been to leave politics out of it and select D'O regardless, on sporting grounds?

All we're talking about is how people in the public eye, and people appearing before large crowds, should conduct themselves. Sport qua sport doesn't come into it.

BtP: I'm not sure I like being propagandised. But I'd like to salute the terrific bravery you show in seeking to do so.

beyond the pale said...

Mac,

It was perhaps wrong of BTP to lump you together with Margin, as though you were Siamese-twinned in your opinions. One who has advocated discriminative thought, like BTP, ought also to practice it.

And not that anyone--Mac, Margin, BTP--is "right" or "wrong" about any of these painful matters. One hopes it would be correct to say that each in his/her own way wishes the suffering to stop, as soon as possible, and is here expending their words, however ineffectually, to that end.

Having already attempted to go into this at a bit more length down toward the bottom of the comment thread on Winter Sports 1, better not to repeat oneself here. Keeping in mind again that none of us has the market cornered on Ultimate Truth--not that we wouldn't all be tempted to consider ourselves Great Sages, but when it comes to sporting bloggers considering themselves philosophers, the quote that comes to mind is that of the worldly wise Sir Bobby Robson, who once said, "I would have given my right arm to be a pianist."

Peace, then (as they use say)...

guitou said...

Mac,
I am grateful for your efforts to clarify your position, they are laudable.
I liked Beyond History and Football first part because it was a gutsy and a relevant subject, a very sensitive crossover of football and controversy-
Freedom of expression is morally universal and applicable to all people without any restriction.
The forms of expression could be verbal, visual, symbolic or else but naturally, they are excluding obscenity, defamation, breach of peace etc....this is common sense and the distinction between the good and the bad is easy to make-
However It's not up to us to select where and when it's applicable.
The notion that we shouldn't be allowed to speak our mind under special circumstances or at specific
events just because some offensive statement could be made by others it's mind boggling-
Imagine we couldn't be allowed to drive our cars because there is danger that some lunatics drivers may put other's life at risk- I don't think anybody wants his rights resticted because someone else may abuse such rights.
The basic principle of a modern society is that the same rights are granted to everyone including minorities.
Abuses or offensive behavior it's the Justice department or the law enforcement problem.
Under this principle we have to accept and understand that Kanouté choose to stage his statement where and when it was his best opportunity to do it-

ringo37 said...

Guitou - isn't that a bit simplistic? Brings to mind the old chestnut that freedom of speech doesn't give you the right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre. And a bit contradictory, too? Freedom of speech "without any restriction"... but "excluding obscenity, defamation, breach of peace etc."? Why exclude those? That isn't freedom of speech at all, really, is it?

guitou said...

Ringo
You're absolutely right, it is simplistic-
But it is what it is,
Several exception have been recognized for the first Amendment including obscenity, disturbing the peace or diffamation-However you may use your freedom of expression as you please-As long as you are ready to face the music for abusing it- Personally I don't see the point, if you are involved in a political or humanitarian cause to promote using the F word or insults it's not the best way to make your case-No?

Zephirine said...

Well, but Ringo, that's the level of freedom of speech that we all accept, in the hope that the laws made by our democratically elected governments will distinguish what's obscene, defamatory etc in a way that most of the society we live in approves.

So I guess Guitou's point rather knocks out what I was saying earlier, the forces of law should deal with those publicly advocating 'unacceptable' views. But still I have to say, if a footballer believes strongly that what Israel is doing is right and justified, and wears an 'Israel' shirt, I doubt if BTP will praise him. Noble gestures are in the eye of the beholder, often.

I think you're right about the subject of the discussion really being public behaviour rather than sport/politics as such.

mac millings said...

Thank you, Gui. I'm finding that posting on this issue is difficult, but worthwhile.

At the risk of repeating myself, I hope you know that I agree when you say, "The notion that we shouldn't be allowed to speak our mind under special circumstances or at specific
events just because some offensive statement could be made by others it's mind boggling."

...and, as we continue to discuss this, I am less and less inclined to think that one (Kanoute, or whoever) should stop oneself in those circumstances, either. Think long and hard, sure. Then we might not have to endure another Trundle pee t-shirt. But do it if you believe it's right.

Still, regarding: "Freedom of expression is morally universal and applicable to all people without any restriction.
The forms of expression could be verbal, visual, symbolic or else but naturally, they are excluding obscenity, defamation, breach of peace etc....this is common sense and the distinction between the good and the bad is easy to make"

...is the distinction really that easy to make? Usually, yes, but always? There are surely cases of gray area.

Maybe Zeph's right to say that, "that's the level of freedom of speech that we all accept, in the hope that the laws made by our democratically elected governments will distinguish what's obscene, defamatory etc in a way that most of the society we live in approves."

Of course, the 'way that most of the society we live in approves' isn't necessarily what we'll approve in future, and that is true of the "bad" and the "good".

That, and the gray area, is what makes this all so difficult, but so worthwhile exploring.

It's how the US has, on the one hand, Obama as President (good), but on the other, anti-gay marriage legislation in California and elsewhere (bad).

offsideintahiti said...

BtP,

I still don't have the time to give your video essays the attention they deserve. I have read the text and everyone's comments. One thing I'm glad about is that this place is buzzing again. I appreciate everyone's comments and varied opinions.

After reading what everybody had to say, I have come to the conclusion that "political" expression should be banned from the sporting arena, so that when it is done, it retains a quality of defiance and transgression, which makes it more powerful.


As for my personal feelings on the Gaza/Israel situation, someone else has expressed them better than I ever could with words.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRMz8fKkG2g

guitoujours said...

Zephie,
I can't speak for Beyond. (I definitely would come a little short with The vocabulary and the command of language he has!!) I assume after reading most of his posts and comments that he is an enthousiastic supporter of noble causes-hopefully without préjudice - But to be honest I don't see anything right about bombing innocent civilians,
Killing babies and waging an horrendous war that accomplish nothing absolutely nothing than an ambiguous ending illustrated by the signature of another meaningless cease fire.Also I may assure you that I'll be the first one to wear a T shirt with a David star if it could stop this non-sense.

guitoudesuite said...

and btw being banned it's not a bad idea because this is how it all began-Pseuds Genesis-

mimi said...

And hating everything right-wing and being angry I still do this:
Can't help but love the passion and the music.

mimi said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XlmJtnzwkY&feature=related

beyond the pale said...

Offside--

The link you post, unless You Tube is playing tricks again, appears to bring us the Twin Towers tumbling down, to the sombre strains of Samuel Barber. I must admit to you I was able to watch only the opening minutes of this. A still small voice told me where it was going.

The offering of this clip appears to mean you think the incendiary bombing of Gaza, with every living thing on the ground vulnerable and exposed to a rain of chemical poison that burns through skin to internal organs and then to bones, and cannot be doused for days even by immersion in water, is justifiable on some sort of eye-for-an-eye basis (?).

My heavens Offie, please tell me this is not the case.

A doctor in Gaza, quoted in today's (Jan. 17) Guardian, says simply of white phosphorus burns, they are "incompatible with life."

A professor of economics, interviewed in the burn zone, tells the Guardian correspondent, "Exaggerate. Whatever you write will not be as bad as the truth."

To repeat, the publication to which I refer is not some obscure whacko site. It can be found by going to guardian.co.uk.

If you are able to take a few minutes, look at the video clips posted there on Jan. 16 ("Phosphorus bombs in Gaza--the evidence") and Jan. 17 ("Fresh evidence of phosphorus use").

A person interviewed amid the smoking rubble toward the end of that second clip may as well be speaking of all of us who look away from this scene of infamy when he says "They do not understand the language of humanity."

When BTP undertook this series of posts it was in the pursuit of such a language of humanity. But at this point it's beginning to seem that to continue that pursuit, in these environs, simply isn't cricket.

But perhaps, once again, I'm wrong about this?

mac said...

BtP,

"When BTP undertook this series of posts it was in the pursuit of such a language of humanity. But at this point it's beginning to seem that to continue that pursuit, in these environs, simply isn't cricket."

That seems strong, and something of a leap. Offie's clip may equally be interpreted as simply saying that he mourns the tragic death of innocent civilians - that's how I read it, at any rate. I must say that your interpretation doesn't seem to fit what (little) I have come to know of Offside.

That being the case, what else has been said here that would lead you to despair so? I've looked into White Phosphorus now that you have written and posted clips about it, and no reasonable person could consider its use anything other than absolutely appalling and despicable. No one here has denied that (although not everyone has addressed it, and I'm not sure how to take Margin's "similar methods" comment.)

The only real differences of opinion have come over what were your original questions, namely "Should politics be kept out of sport?" and "Could world football provide the language in which this broken Babel of voices struggles somehow to speak?"

I'd say that those differences have been expressed, on the whole, amicably. With passion, but respectfully, thoughtfully, and generally speaking, without name-calling.

So don't despair! I'm absolutely sure you've misinterpreted Offie.

beyond the pale said...

Mac--

This from your post:

That seems strong, and something of a leap. Offie's clip may equally be interpreted as simply saying that he mourns the tragic death of innocent civilians - that's how I read it, at any rate. I must say that your interpretation doesn't seem to fit what (little) I have come to know of Offside.

--I will accept as fair.

These are emotional times. Best to be cool and offer the benefit of a doubt. Thanks for reminding me, Mac.

Offside, my friend, I will withdraw my comment and question. Have never in my life felt in a position to judge anyone (except, necessarily, myself). Too late to start now. So please don't feel compelled to bother with a reply.

One (like BTP) might well learn from the pride, dignity and courtesy being shown by those who are the victims of the conflagration in Gaza. One friend who has family there said to me tonight simply, "Our time will come."

offsideintahiti said...

Oops.

BtP, When I told you I didn't have the time to look at clips at the moment, I was serious. I searched for Samuel Barber's Adagio for strings and picked the first clip that came up. I listened while working on something else and didn't even glance at the pictures. I thought it was just an orchestra playing.

Should have gone for Mozart's Requiem:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq90Kh3GIbQ

But then again, this clip is just a picture of Christ in the sepulchre, so someone might have thought I was reclaiming Jerusalem in the name of Christianity.

Not the case. Just close your eyes and listen.

beyond the pale said...

Offside,

I just did. And all I can say is THANKS (!!) for the stunningly timed-to-Pakololan-Perfection clip-correction (fear not brother Offie you are very likely not the only clip-shuffling klutz in the Potted Palms Hotel Computer Center).

Must confess oneself silly enough to have worried over this all through the thought-torn night-- trust in you restored through the good efforts of the ever helpful mediator Mac (so why isn't Mac at work on getting the parties together in the Middle East right now, surely he'd be doing a better job than whoever's currently pretending to be on that beat?), but shame in jumping the gun at mistaking your intent eating away at the flinty old ticker like a ship's rat on starvation rations after the hardtack crumbs have run
out. (South Pacific metaphor there for your benefit, O.)

So as I stumblingly suggest, I knew I'd been wrong even before you so magnificently proved it by posting this corrected clip-link to Jordi Savall's truly transcendent setting of Mozart's Requiem in D minor.

May the sublime and profound music affect our fellow Pseuds with some of the encouraging strength it did me: suggesting as it does that the depths of human cruelty currently being plumbed by the dominating power in Gaza is but one end (the low end) of a scale of human possibility that also reaches
out toward the stars--for where else could have been born the gift of creating such evocations of compassion... exactly the kind of thing the courageous sufferers in Gaza demand from us now.

That and a bit of humanitarian aid.
May that aid soon follow God willing. Meanwhile here then is the "language of humanity"--this music. For now I shall believe that what you have given us, Offie, is the most any of us could have done to calm the pain a bit all round.

But.. also still hoping words will do some bit of the work that remains to be done, if we (said BTP to self) have the courage to keep trying. Palestinian friends (braver by ten miles than BTP on his bravest day) anyway suggest this peaceful discursive way is still and finally the best/only way to go. So, onward, hopefully together.

guitou said...

Beyond The Palestine
have you heard of shoeless basketball? To honor Martin Luther King's life Ron Hunter decided to coach barefooott his team (Indiana University).
The goal was to accomplish the task of putting 40.OOO pairs of shoes on impoverished children feet-
-"my feet hurt so bad" he said after the game,"but imagine a child going his whole life without shoes"
As a result shoes company, dept stores and individuals are sending shoes , over 100.000 shoes have been collected so far-He is flying to Africa next summer to distribute the shoes with the help of some of his players to the barefoot African children-
-I thought the story was a good example of how to use his influence to change lives using Sports as a medium.
History of football part II by BTP it's a tale of use and misuse of freedom of expression and then it's a matter of perception to decide how to label them.

Each one of us is entitled to his own interpretation and in each of us there is a different peception of the reality and truth. That's important to understand because if Margin or Mac or others do not share the same views it's part of the reality of a human collectivity with different culture and background-And let's not forget each of them have
made some valid points.
Through Pseuds we are able to share some of our views without intention to reach the "who is right or wrong" conclusion.
only Dog above knows the truth.
Ironically the challenge is how to respond to people
who don't agree with us without blinding ourselves
with our own knowledge or perception-
and I am still learning-

From Paris with love and Peace for all-

beyond the pale said...

Gui--

And Dog isn't telling. Thank you for the good points about the challenges of the collective. Sad that one should need such reminders from one's friends. Good though to have those friends to usefully remind one.

Mimi--

And thank you for Tristan und Isolde--many of the words said to Offie just above could apply to this gift of yours as well (except of course for the bits about the stumbling and the oopses).

And Offie again--

I thought the image with the Requiem was fine for the occasion; and anyway if you did reclaim Jerusalem, I'm sure you'd then assign possession of it sagely (meanwhile steadfastly ignoring all offers of $200 billion from Manchester City).

And Ringo--or was it Mr. Smyth we were to call you--as to this(here quoting you):

BtP: I'm not sure I like being propagandised. But I'd like to salute the terrific bravery you show in seeking to do so.

--hadn't thought I was doing that to you, wasn't seeking same myself, and recommend you give some thought to wearing protective headgear (however unmanly) next time you participate in impact sports.

And finally: dear Zeph, please don't think I was stepping lightly over this of yours--

But still I have to say, if a footballer believes strongly that what Israel is doing is right and justified, and wears an 'Israel' shirt, I doubt if BTP will praise him. Noble gestures are in the eye of the beholder, often.

--merely giving it a few days in the mind's mirror (BTP's oh so cloudy looking glass) before replying... Well, bit of a hot button here for BTP, inasmuch as he married into a family that had been chased out of Europe by Nazis (that earlier kind, the German ones), and must account for himself on this delicate issue to a life partner who had an uncle literally beheaded for his resistance to that earlier thug lot--so wouldn't want to stray too far from a right answer to you on this.

But what is there really to say? How about that BTP believes the best Israeli footballer in the world to be the skillful Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun (who at his best has a tiny bit of Mozart in his boots--and not scrunched-up bits of sheet music either),but who, BTP is fairly certain, would not be crazy or foolish enough to go about showing an Israel t-shirt right now, any more than he would do so were he a citizen of the land of Goliaths in a time when the Davids were being trampled, set fire to, shot in the back, for all the world to see. Still, were YB miraculously to reveal such a shirt, BTP's honest reaction sequence would surely be this: 1)to respect him at least a tiny bit for having the stubborn courage (or whatever one would call it) to support his nation's cause even as it's so dramatically being shown to be to be a bad one; and 2)to respect that bad cause at least a little bit more for the fact that at least one person had shown at least one tiny bit of courage (and not the kind fired from howitzers loaded with chemical weapons) on its behalf.

Does that help any dear Z.? Well, maybe not...but I'll say no more since the hour grows later and later, dawn nears, and as Madame B helpfully reminds (about once a minute), when it comes to the mercurial vehicle of sparkling wit, BTP is currently running on empty (and she would be in a position to know).

But employing a straw to sip the last drop left in the tank, let me leave you all with another bit of footballing wisdom--after all it's a sporting site and sport is what we're assembled here to celebrate and revere, as I have been severally reminded--
from another of my favorite footie philosophers Kevin Keegan, who, speaking figuratively of such temporal matters as that dawn-breaking business I have just now broached, once so memorably predicted, "There will be no siestas in Madrid tonight"...a KK witticism ranking in BTP's book right up there with that immortal geogaphical apercu, "Argentina won't be in Euro 2000 because they're from South America." (And you admirers of the nous and nuance of cricket thought football a mental vacuum zone did you?)


(Madame B, who's so much better read than BTP it's embarrassing, reminds here that the Bible even has its own parabolic figure of the football-managing sage in that near perfect semblable of Rafa (""I have the facts right here in my pockets, just give me a moment to put the scraps in order") Benitez--that is, Ecclesiastes, who, no doubt in the run-up to a titantic clash with Stoke City, said, "Who gathers knowledge, gathers pain.")

ringo37 said...

BtP: Ringo'll do fine. I apologise for my impetuosity.

ringo37 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zephirine said...

Pseudscorner has always been an amiable place, valued by those weary of the combined ferocity and idiocy of the football blogs or Comment is Free.

Let's keep it that way.

ringo37 said...

Zeph, and others, apologies, once again.

offtheklutz said...

Ceasefire!

It's amazing what a little Barber and Mozart can do.

Let's see if this one holds. Fingers crossed.

greengrass said...

This blog makes me feel happy-drunk.
A few of us were fooling about on GU a while ago, got banned, continued fooling around on here, then - this!
Pseuds discussing right and wrong, misunderstandings and give-and-take, agreeing to disagree with mutual respect, compassion and warmth.
Thank you all for bringing a little sunshine into my dour Sunday Stockholm!

guitou said...

fAck !! that was two years ago ,a cultural revolution!-banning, protests, pamphlets, strike (who else but a frenchman to go on strike at the first excuse ,sorry to mention it offie, but you were heroic)-
and GG got a new lovely pseuds probably found in his musical repertoire.

Margin said...

I'll be penning a response to this at some point this week - including reference to what I think was a fantastic response to the censorship of our fans at the game against Pompey this weekend.

Needless to say - I think that the victims of murderers are probably somewhat disgusted to see millionaire footballers 'support' the killers - and that for every seemingly decent political case (aren't Israel evil after all?) there is another case (such as the silence of the the West, its footballers, and its press, while Gazans were bombing Israel without reply for months before the Christmas offensive (But hey, they were only jews so who cares?)

greengrass said...

Margin,
come on - cut us some slack!
Has there ever been any anti-Jewish sentiment on here?
All the Jews I know are against what just happened in Gaza.
Shalom!

Margin said...

Greengrass

I would never accuse anyone on Pseud's of anything so low as racism. And I certainly don't believe it is true.

I do however think perhaps people in general are very quick to condemn Israel from peaceful and safe nations where no local enemy has declared a stated aim of eliminating their people from God's earth.

Lets face it - to those killed by Hamas, it isn't an idle bost.

Margin said...

oh - and my full alternative view is now up on the site.

Enjoy.

Tweet it, digg it