Shields of Disgrace: The Port Sayeed Violence
My heart broke when I heard about Port Sayeed (sic: this American likes to tell it as he sees it) in Egypt with the over 70 dead and so many more injured. “Oh my God! Not again! No more death, please!”
Shortly after the violence, I got an ignorant email from my friend in America. He wrote, “Here they go again; those crazy, barbaric Arabs!“ In my grief, I almost bought that excuse -- Arab anger is unexplainable and uncontrollable. But then I took a breath, and I decided to mull all of this over.
Quickly, I realized that what happened yesterday at Port Sayeed is not an Arab problem; it’s a universal, human being problem. We are territorial creatures, seemingly always obsessed with ‘us versus you,’ ‘my team verses your team’, ‘good versus evil’, and yesterday, ‘Al Ahly versus Al Masry’.
Sometimes, insecure buffoons hiding behind a shield of self-justification warp this territorial nature. In Port Sayeed, the shield was support for their soccer team. Next time it might be politically motivated and the next day as a shield of honor. Whatever the shield, the bottom line is that you -- my rioting and murdering friend--are a disgrace.
I don’t know exactly what is behind these Ultra soccer/political clubs in Egypt and I definitely can’t speak as an Arab and understand all the elements of the revolutions. But what I know is that you – or should I say Mr. Hooligan -- killed and injured people at a soccer game. Whatever shield you’re hiding behind, it does not matter. You are a disgrace.
In England, whenever there’s a soccer riot, the cause is usually pretty clear: alcohol and testosterone. When we take English men hyped up on booze and bravado, combined with the human territorial instincts, we get the same results as yesterday. Over the years thousands have been injured and many have died from the simple fact of drunken, hooligan idiots at a soccer game.
What happened at the Premier League game yesterday in Egypt was an anomaly at Egyptian football games; the ultimate catharsis of a people in conflict and years of frustration. The cause behind European soccer riots is usually just too much beer. So in comparison, it makes the Port Sayeed violence more understandable than the soccer hooligans in Europe: Revolution or Heineken; Arab Spring or Rolling Rock. Huh. Who is more barbaric now?
In any case, for whatever ideology is being held up, the violence is wrong. Dead wrong. It is reported that many of the Egyptian soccer players are retiring out of protest and I respect them immensely for this act.
However, the people we need to retire are not the players but the hooligans themselves. For even if soccer disappears, these people will hide behind something else: politics, religion, honor or even race. And if you are one of these hooligans, do us a favor; disarm, desist and relax. One more dead person will be one more too many.
By Brett Weer
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