Euro 2012: Withering away of the state | Sports | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Courting the closet
    July 6, 2013
    Is it only in team games that men fear being ostracized if they reveal they are gay?
  • Lebron, born again and again
    June 29, 2013
    He may lack the grace of a Michael Jordan, but the lumbering LeBron James is a champion of the people.
  • Double fault by man, ego
    June 29, 2013
    What was it that caused Roger Federer to exit this year's Wimbledon in such feckless fashion?
More in this Section
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy

Euro 2012: Withering away of the state


PATH BREAKING: Ruud Gullit's Dutchmen captured the imagination with their brave, attacking football during their 1988 triumph

Patriotism is a post-war relic! No, please don't jump off your seats in this part of the world. We are talking about Europe and the three-week long football pageant that the white man's world will celebrate in the playing fields of Ukraine and Poland with a generous pinch of jingoism, a nostalgic throwback from the dark days of nationalistic war games.

With borders blurring and the force of finance giving nations a rainbow hue, football will once more seek excellence in the realm of composite and cosmopolitan culture.

Just imagine, the most photographed face of the Italian team, two-time champions of Europe, is a Ghanaian named Mario Barwuah Balotelli, who has already raised his voice against racism and threatened to walk away if taunted.

For Germany, three-time champions of Europe, one Jerome Boetang will anchor the defence. Mario and Jerome could have been in Ghana's starting line-up along side Kevin-Prince, the other Boetang brother.

Instances like this are strewn all across European teams. Mesut Ozil could have chosen Turkey if he felt like, or Tunisia could have gained by the presence of Sami Khedira, Ozil's midfield accomplice.

The withering away of the narrow nationalism started a long time ago and the current crop of players made a statement by visiting Auschwitz or whatever is left of the concentration camp. Of course, memories refuse to fade, but when Germany will take on the Netherlands on June 13, the only history fans will remember will be sporting ones, 1990, 1988 and 1974.

The glories of past battles, the document of hatred and human annihilation is truly dead and buried. Rudd Gullit and Franck Rijkaard, helped by a white striker (Marco van Basten) of immense quality, earned the Oranje Brigade their first (and only) Major in football in 1988. Gullit dedicated the triumph to Nelson Mandela, then yet to be released from prison.

The voices of dissent are still heard, once in a while. The French team of Zinedine Zidane (Algerian descent), Patrick Vieira (Senegalese by birth), Marcel Dessailly (like Balotelli, a Ghanaian) which won the 1988 World Cup and the European championships two years later, was castigated by the antiimmigrant National Front leader Jean Marie Le Pen. "It's not a real French team, " Le Pen said as it comprised players from African, Arab and Afro-Caribbean origin. France's imperial and colonial past stuck out like a sore thumb.

So when Serbia dropped striker Adem Ljajic from its Euro 2012 squad after he declined to sing the national anthem in a friendly against Spain or when the English fans chanted "Rule Brittannia" at the Wembley as the "Three Lions" struggled to get past Belgium in another friendly, one could leave it with a laugh.

There was no Serbia on the world map even when Rinus Michels' Netherlands became Europe's champions. And Britain doesn't have an aircraft carrier currently in service to "rule the waves" as Time magazine said recently.

The flag-waving and anthem-chanting may actually seem feudal or is it the carrying on of a tradition without its dangerous trappings? The concept of a nation across the civilized world has evolved both in the political and sporting fields. Barack Obama is the realization of the American dream of president Abraham Lincoln. So is Tiger Woods, carrying the baton on from Jesse Owens.

However, post-war Germany, on principle, has somewhat done away with the illogical fervour as a measure not to repeat history. They have been detoxifying themselves of their Nazi past. Ozil, Khedira and Boetang are showing the rest of the world the way to go.

Football in Europe has really broken through the regimented idea of a nation state. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (of Bosnian-Croatian descent) is as much a Swede as Thomas Brolin. The most current ones hogging the headlines are two France-born players Ludovic Obraniak and Damien Perquis, who are about as Polish as Phil Jagielka, the hurriedly called up English midfielder.

One can accuse Zidane of refusing to sing the French national anthem but it will be blasphemy to haul him up for not respecting the Les Blues jersey. The spirit of a nation won with Zidane without its paraphernalia.

The Euro 2012 will once again make a travesty of the idea of nation state. The withering away of the states will continue in Kiev and Warsaw.

Reader's opinion (1)

Suresh VenkatanarayananJun 14th, 2012 at 07:49 AM

The world is my country.....

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik |


itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service