Germany's World Cup Win Helps Heal the Wounds of War
I must admit, I wasn't as moved to gushiness by the German world cup performance as this commentator in Die Welt. But, I accept the contention that the win and the way it was done did much for a nation still questioning itself over two world wars. However, football, even if via a victory in its biggest event, has shown before it can medicate an ailing nation. While Germany wasn't exactly ailing before Brazil 2014, it is still stooping into its future by virtue of its dark past. If the World Cup win allows this generation of Germans to stand a little taller and walk more easily into the future without the burdens of their parents and grandparents holding them back then who can complain? While not allowing any of us to forget history, that has to be a positive for all.
Peace has to be good for the losers, even for the initiators of war, not just for the winners.
The election of Donald J Trump as America's 45th President, confirmed in this week's inauguration, presents numerous challenges to human rights and people power.
The boorish, misogynistic, arrogant tenor of his campaign has cast a pall over the rights of minorities in America and across the globe as his "America First" call, by definition, puts everyone else second or worse. The only equality in the scenario he presents is of the George Orwell type: that of some being more equal than others.
Such a situation already exists of course. Western males wield more direct and indirect power in global terms than, say, a dark-skinned girl in a slum. Trump is hardly breaking new ground. But, his ascendancy gives that dark reality more momentum. It puts it closer to the centre of normal. His message threatens to break the positive values that link human beings to each other.
Globally, governments, civil society and civilians need to make a stand.
The Kick Project board has now reached agreement with the Rohingya Football Club, Kuala Lumpur, to proceed with the following program.
We are now formally raising funds for the following program, which we aim to begin in January 2016.
1: Provide full playing kit for the current Rohingya Football Club
(RFC) squad. This includes: shirts, shorts, socks, shin-pads, boots,
goalkeeper equipment Aim
2: Fund a single playing space for football games. This includes
paying fees on a designated municipal football field. Aim
3: Fund Transport. This includes purchasing or leasing a minivan. Part
1: To establish a “Ball Library”. This will be set up as a focal
point for the RFC and also for the Rohingya community, with special
focus on encouraging access for Rohingya children. Appropriate
education initiatives (approved by both RFC representatives and The
Kick Project via the Program Management Committee) may be conducted
and/or promoted in the Ball Library premises; Aim
Interesting read from The New Yorker on the authority and power invested in professional athletes, in relation to influencing the progress of social justice.
The focus here is on American sports, but the theme can be easily extended to other sports, worldwide.
It's perhaps no surprise perhaps that the rise of pro sports as a massive industry in its own right, with the parallel gains for individuals in money and celebrity terms, that more athletes don't speak out about important issues. There's clearly a lot at stake, and a lot to lose for those who step off the tightly managed corporate line running through most large sports organisations and clubs.
But, the fact that a large percentage of today's professional athletes come from simple backgrounds, if not from situations of outright poverty and/or abuse, begs the question of why don't more speak up about the circumstances that they escaped from and in which some of their peers in youth remain ensconced?