Hell should freeze before FIFA boss Joseph Blatter caves in to paranoid racists and dictate how soccer players should celebrate their achievements in the field of play. Truth is; in the 21st century there’s nothing called a Nazi sign. Adolph Hitler’s legacy was buried in the Berlin ruins with him. If there is a sign remotely resembling the swastika it probably is protected by the Bill of Rights’ Freedom of Expression.
The same way there’s no human behaviour called anti-Semitism; the very hate crime levelled against the funniest French comedian alive Dieudonné M’bala M’bala in France’s crusade to clamp down on Freedom of Speech by people it deems less-desirable.
Racism is universal and there’s no logic classifying some tribes as special cases that deserve an endangered species tag; since that often leads to difficulty accusing them of the same bigotry.
That aside, West Brom striker Nicholas Anelka is guilty of nothing. Otherwise the thin-skinned bigots who ran to Daddy Blatter should not attend yoga and karate classes because they’ll be ‘taunted’ (by body poses) without effort and demand that public practise of yoga be banned. Europe needs to confront its racism problem head-on and stop putting confusing labels on racial hatred.
Today, any racist in the European Union such as English Defence League, so-called German neo-Nazis, French extreme right groups, Greece’s Golden Dawn Party etc are called nationalists instead of racists. In my books nationalists are the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein, Basque Separatist movement, Scotland National Party and Popular Movement for the Liberation of Azawad; to mention but a few. Anything centred on hatred of refugees (like labelling them ‘infiltrators’) and not a quest for self-determination and love of motherland can’t be classified nationalists.
FF+ is nationalist while AWB is racist; you copy.
What’s nationalist about Italian fans monkey-chanting Kevin-Prince Boateng when he’s just there to play and leave at the end of the day? What’s nationalist about throwing a banana at Samuel E’to when his home is not in Europe but Africa? How does a man entertaining your bored untalented ass threaten your nation?
European racism is called nationalism; that’s why the Boers were surprised that their application of the same ‘nationalism’ was classified ‘apartheid’. Their multiple generational stay in these shores robbed them of the fact that they were not Europeans but settlers in another land.
Settlers everywhere have difficulty understanding why their racial hatred does not pass off as nationalism but apartheid. When does a settler become a native? Never.
Maybe Blatter is trying to settle Hitler scores who was annoyed by US sprinter Jesse Owens’ Black Power salute at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Blatter, a racism apologist comes from that part of the world where he can’t be a racist but nationalist.
There is equally double standards in his approach to Anelka’s case. When Chelsea’s John Terry was accused by QPR’s Anton Ferdinand of racism Blatter was quick to dismiss it as a minor spat between boys; “there is no racism. There is maybe one of the players towards another – he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one. But the one who is affected by that, he should say that this is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands”, he told CNN.
One can argue that his European ‘nationalist’ ostrich approach was popping up since he didn’t have the same outlook when Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was accused by Manchester United’s Patrice Evra of calling him a ‘nigger’. Why did the equation change because the same N-word has been used by a South American; a non-European?
Anelka is being made a scapegoat in a failing FIFA system to get rid of racism. What FIFA and by extension UEFA are doing is applying Band-Aid on a septic wound. Everybody knows white kids are orientated into racism from an early age by their parents and have to unlearn racism. It doesn’t happen automatically.
Such hatred and racial supremacy talk never takes place in non-European households. Which makes it difficult for the world to understand why does North Korea’s butcher Kim Jong Un likes former Chicago Bulls MVP Dennis Rodman. The tin-pot delusional dictator knows nothing about hating people based on race. That’s a plus this despot has over those claiming to be more civilised than him.
Factory faults get recalled, not fixed in the field of play. Blatter cannot fix white racism because he’s also white and probably grew up believing in the supremacy of his skin colour.
So, Anelka should be defended to the last drop of blood since if today it’s a crime to rub the bicep of your outstretched hand, tomorrow it might be a crime to have dreadlocks or wear a ‘THANK YOU MADIBA’ t-shirt inside your team jersey.Gakwi Mashego is a political analyst, speechwriter and founder/director of Smokin' Gun Media