I have decided to end my political activism and radicalism with regards to Zizou’s famous cry of “basta ya“. It has been loads of fun. I encounted my alter ego as a soap box orator. Yet, now my past three sleepless nights of indignation have concluded. But before retiring completely, I would like to thank the Men in Black for their support in their recent post, William for his disucssions on this matter, Waya for her empathy, Berga for running the political campaign, and my brother for his “Rage Against the Machine” inspiration. Finally I would like to conclude with the following thoughts:
The press should be careful about condemming the actions of Zidane unless they have first walked in his shoes. It is much too easy for those who have never been the subject of racial, ethic, religious, sexual orientation, or gender slurs to understand just how much words can hurt.
The head-butt is just the beginning. If society does not learn to refrain from cheap insults and bigotry, one small heat-butt will eventually turn into masses of people feeling isolated and enraged. We can red card the man, but maybe we should begin at the beginning by asking why society has created a scenario where provocation is acceptable.
If I were Materazzi, and the insult was in fact based on bigotry, I would hire body guards.
Maybe Zidane did not have a moment of weakness, but a moment of profound lucidity where he viewed the farce of the World Cup, its false multiculturalism, its imaginery brotherhood, and decided to put an end to mascarade abruptly. He raged against the machine.
Imagine a man at the summit of his professional career. He has achieved everything, even universal acceptance. He is on the field with millions of people watching live. He is in the presence of his national team mates and his former club mates and friends from Italy. His entire nation only wants one thing: for him to win for everybody. In a moment of pressure, his whole lifetime of achievement is diminished to slur. Why should he continue to battle for his country? Shouldn’t his entire nation race down to his defence and head butt intolerance? Isn’t Materazzi’s slur a slur against the French? Are we all part of the continent, a piece of the main? Does the head-butt toll for thee?
Maybe Zizou simply lost his temper without any justification. But, who cares? Who has he let down? Who cares whether one team wins or not. Isn’t the celebration of the masses for winning the World Cup a pathetic display of barberity?
I have always held that what I most enjoyed about Zidane’s playing was that it was so aesthetic that winning or losing was irrelevant. All that mattered was watching. It was the need to win that destroyed him.
The reaction of the Italian players after the incident was one of shock. That, in and of itself, is a sign of the incredible respect that they have for Zizou. But, why didn’t any of them kick Materazzi’s ass in the locker room? I know that in a similar situation I would have defended a friend over winning any day.
In life, we are often confronted with moral dilemmas. Sometimes you choose one that has negative consequences. Sometimes you say, “Basta Ya”. Sometimes you rage against the machine. “Get up, stand up,” and everything else Bob Marley sang about.
Finally, remember that words hurt. Words can be violent.
I guess it is time to get back to right wing politics: tight fiscal policies, liberal labor regulations, and the rest. As Ronald Reagan said, “Government does not solve problems, it subsidizes them.”
WAIT!! I just realized we’re out of chocolate cookies. This may be my new political platform. When in the course of human employment, the employee has an expectation of cookies and those cookies have not been re-supplied, how long must the people wait? Shall I rage against the machine?