Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Insanity Among The Soccer Insane

South Africa is gripped in Soccer World Cup fever. It is an historical moment marked by commercialized hyper-nationalism.

Anywhere you may go there are flags and people decked out in national colours that to one degree, or another, claim this moment to be about being South African, and South Africanness.

The last time I witnessed such intense national idiocy I watched a large truck fly the US flag and confederate flag while driving up and down Broadway in Portland, Oregon.

That incident came the morning after 911.

It may be absurd to draw any kind of parallel between 911 nationalism and soccer nationalism.

Nonetheless, there are disturbing elements in common.

The manner in which the citizens are manipulated by the ruling elite is the most disturbing element in common.

For me it is scary to witness the manner in which hyper-nationalist manipulation disturbs the 'normal' consciousness of the citizenry.

The US is still reeling from that disturbance after 911 and the consequences for the rest of the world has been tragic.

The Soccer World Cup will, of course, be very different for South Africans.

Still, the effects of hyper-nationalism will still no doubt profoundly effect what it means to be South African.

On the streets of Durban yesterday a few thousand protesters raised their voices against the millions that has been spent to host this spectacle.

Most know that we cannot afford spending US$5 billion to host an event that is about the narrow franchise interests of FIFA.

Just days before the teams arrived the streets were full of angry marchers who demanded that toilets be erected with walls in poor ghettos and others who drew attention to the pittance they were being paid in service related jobs.

The ANC-led government has ostensibly ignored that angst.

The focus on this soccer 'moment' is to position South Africa as a brand on the world stage of capitalism.

Inside of this re-construction of reality the question whether there is national life after the World Cup begs.

Last night the over-confident national team, Bafana Bafana, were reminded that they did not qualify to be a team in the event.

Instead, the citizenry were bamboozled to spend billions to secure Bafana a spot.

So when Bafana was unable to even score a goal last night against Uruguay the unavoidable delusion began.

Uruguay, a team being hosted in my hometown of Kimberley, scored 3 goals and the vuvazela noise fell silent.

South African spectators began walking out of the stadium in Pretoria and many did not witness a final goal by Uruguay.

What happened?

The inevitable. South Africa became the first hosting nation not to win a game in their first two games.

And worse awaits.

South Africa will be knocked out in their next game against either France or Mexico.

This will mean that the insane hyper-nationalism will also leave us with the distinction of being the only hosting nation not to make it into the second round of the World Cup, ever.

No amount of spending will save Bafana. That ship has sailed.

South Africa will remain a nation with historical cleavages that continue to fester.

We will still be a racist cesspool where the poor live just like they lived in the heyday of apartheid.

This event was never about the citizenry. This is true even though the rank and file were blissfully co-opted.

The World Cup is about making money for FIFA and the capitalist wannabee agents that characterize the ANC-led government.

The campaign to make this about "building South Africa" has been slick but it cannot sustain its insanity.

Deep disullusionment will follow. The trickle down promises will not materialize.

African foreigners on our streets will still be threatened and killed. The nonsense about this being an African event will be just that, nonsense.

And, we the ordinary folk, will be left paying for stadiums and other stuff we just cannot afford.

South Africa did not need to host this billion dollar wastage.

We need a real revolution.



Dade said...

Historian Gwynne Dyer called big sporting events "mock violence." He speculated that they might serve in place of real violence. Two armies gather, they contest the field, one side wins, the other side loses. One army goes home triumphant, one goes home disappointed. But no one gets killed.

I understand, Ridwan about the screwed up priorities, but surely there must be some value in having people gather for peaceful purposes.

Further, doesn't the World Cup bring money to South Africa? I don't know, I'm asking...

I've watched a few matches and I'm enjoying the World Cup.

Ridwan said...

Hello Dade!

It is certainly better than war no doubt brother Dade.

There is value for sure. South Africans have a world stage for all it means.

I have been watching matches too and find myself even interested in the outcomes.

It is festive here in Mzansi. But we are losing money and there are greater needs.

Still, I take your points as valid.

Be well my brother.