Local Time

Sunday, January 04, 2009

OPIN: Iraq: Where Politics failed, football succeeded

Tuesday, 31, July, 2007 (16, Rajab, 1428)

Editorial: Message of Unity
Arab News, 31 July 2007

Defeat for a national football team is not enjoyable for any country. It
goes without saying, then, that the 1-0 defeat inflicted on the Saudi team
by Iraq in the Asia Cup final in Jakarta is deeply disappointing. There is,
however, a remarkable silver lining to this particular cloud. The sight of
Iraqis - Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds; Muslims and Christians; in Basra,
Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk; in exiled communities around the world - all
rooting for the same team, cheering together, ecstatic together in victory,
embracing each other without the slightest interest in who belongs to which
community is wonderfully encouraging. It sends an inspirational message,
forgotten amidst all the carnage that has plagued Iraq since the 2004
invasion. It says that despite all the killing, maiming and hatred, ordinary
Iraqis still retain a deep and abiding attachment to their country. There is
a sense of national unity that goes deeper than anything that divides.

The way in which football fever and national pride at winning the Asia Cup
have transcended the Iraqi political and sectarian divide is a slap in the
face for all those bigots who want a Shiite-controlled or a Sunni-controlled
Iraq or a separate Kurdistan. How they must have hated seeing Iraqis, side
by side, celebrating national victory on the streets. Likewise, it should be
a wake-up call for Iraq's squabbling politicians. Where they have failed,
football has succeeded. It is time they realized that there is so much more
to gain from championing unity rather than division, both for the country
and their own careers. The message too needs to be heard abroad - in
Washington, in London, in the UN and elsewhere. All those who had
increasingly begun to conclude that Iraqi national unity was dead and that
the country should be allowed to split into three parts will have to drop
that idea. It has been proved conclusively wrong in just one football
competition.

And it needs to be heard regionally. Arab governments want a united Iraq;
the very idea that it could split apart is wholly unacceptable. They should,
therefore, respond with ardor and urgency to this spontaneous demonstration
of Iraqi national unity - by coordinated political action to help end the
country's divisions.

The carnage would be considerably reduced if the flow of arms and militants
into Iraq were stopped. Any outside country, Arab or non-Arab, that
interferes in Iraq, that stirs up the political tensions there or sends in
arms and men to continue the violence should be put on warning by the Arab
League that such actions will not be tolerated. Any Arab government that
violates that warning should have its membership suspended. Suspension is
not a policy that has been much used in the past; too often inaction has
been preferred in the name of Arab consensus. But effectiveness comes only
from decisiveness. Iraqis have shown - with wild enthusiasm - their wish to
remain united. Here is the chance for fellow Arabs to respond. Why not,
likewise, with equally wild enthusiasm?

Dictionary

English to Arabic to English Dictionary
Find word:
Exact Word / Starting Word Sub Word
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
www.SearchTruth.com

Please Feel Free to Donate