Saturday, April 19, 2003

Ball and chain
Sporting aficionados might wish to consult this Guardian article on Uday Saddam Hussein's treatment of Iraqi football players, and reflect on the true meaning of hooliganism.

A passage:

Any player knows the pain of missing a penalty, but for a member of the national team, it carried the certainty of ritual humiliation, imprisonment, and torture. Only three Iraqis dared to take penalties, and Zair was one of them.

"Many of the footballers refused to even touch the ball, but then we realised that if no one accepted we would all be punished," the midfielder said.

He missed. Two days after the team returned to Baghdad, Zair was summoned to the headquarters of the country's Olympic committee, the lair of Uday Hussein, eldest son of Saddam and the leading personality in Iraqi sport.

He was blindfolded, and taken away to a prison camp for three weeks. He shrugged: "End of story."

No comments:

Blog Archive