Soccer is infectious and humbling. When you have little or nothing to do with Europe or European Champions League, you watch it and support your favorite team just for the love of soccer. You watch and support a European team not because you share identity, obviously. Not because you are forgetful of the politics of it. Not because you are not aware of the profit motive and entrepreneurial aspect of Champions League. Not because you are not aware of the hand it gives to cultural conquest which fosters domination and exploitation. We watch and support because soccer is infectious.
Watching your national team play another country is a different story. It is a different story because we share identity. Because celebration of the past and anticipation of best future is embedded in the support we give to our national team.
Indulgence in a mood of celebration is not just glorification of the past and affirmation of our identity -who we are as people. It is a celebration of determination, not necessarily success, to stand taller than the challenges we face.Celebrating determination virtually amounts to an early celebration of victory. Because determination is likely to beget victory of some sort. The reason we do celebrate determination is because it has the power to change what has to be changed. We do not celebrate the pain of the past when we are in a combative mood.
Not believing my eyes in one of the clips of Ethiopia Versus Zambia, game, I had to google Zambian flag in an effort to have clarity as to whether flags waived at one spot were Zambian. They were not Zambian flag.They were waiving at a time when the Zambian team got a free kick out side the box. It came at a moment when team Zambia was attacking Ethiopia.
When a certain group of Ethiopian origin, irrespective of political difference or perception of the past, waives a political flag and supports the opponent, I call it extremism in the real sense of the term. How can a group of Ethiopian origin supports a team opponent to Ethiopia, and in a foreign land? Watch the clip below and find out what love for a country and hate for a country is like.
Watching Saladin and Adane together was of special joy to me. They are not just an embodiment of Team Ethiopia. They are an embodiment of what Ethiopia stands for – past and present! We are moderate, respectful and loving people. We are people infected with love of a country. We love each other.
People who were in a mood of political extremism midst celebration of determination missed out on a captivating moment of Saladin’s hunt for Adane after Adane scored the goal. He was hunting to hug him as a friend, as a team mate, as brother and as an Ethiopian. I can only imagine how those extremist flag bearers were unhappy about this moment. Know this: we are up for a different future. We have the power to change the past- and together. Embrace that very spirit! Do not hurt yourself living hate. Senseless hate springs from arrogance, not knowledge.