Augustine Ruzindana

Ethnicity and religion: The surprises at Brazil 2014

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By Augustine Ruzindana

Posted  Friday, June 20   2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Whereas Spain fielded a lot of players who played in the last World Cup when they became champions, the Netherlands on the other hand fielded virtually a new team with just a few players carried over from the previous World Cup team

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The World Cup in Brazil has thankfully successfully taken off despite the anxieties raised by late completion of a number of the host stadium facilities and the endless demonstrations in many cities against the high cost of hosting the games at the expense of more pressing priorities relating to the improvement of the welfare of the majority of people. The annihilation of Spain by the Netherlands by 5-1 should have some lessons for all teams.

Whereas Spain fielded a lot of players who played in the last World Cup when they became champions, the Netherlands on the other hand fielded virtually a new team with just a few players carried over from the previous World Cup team.

Had the hitherto dependable goal keeper and captain of Spain, Iker Casillas Fernandez, been playing for an African team, he would have been accused of taking bribes from the other team or of having been affected by a strong “juju” sent by some medicine man (witchdoctor) hired by the Netherlands. Chile, with a younger energetic team added to the humiliation of the Spanish team by beating them 2-0.

The humiliation of Cameroon (10 men for most of the game) by Croatia 4-0, similar to the German thrashing of Christiano Ronaldo’s Portugal was made worse by a Cameroonian player head-butting a fellow player, an act of gross indiscipline, that was a bloat on all Africans as Cameroon was our representative in Brazil and therefore Cameroon football authorities should follow up and punish the culprit.

The most noteworthy aspect of these games is that any team without Black players can hardly do well. Even Italy could only win against England with a goal scored by their one Black player, Mario Balotelli (Ghanaian name Barwuah), some version of “Bad Black”.

Virtually all the South American teams, except Argentina (mostly ethnic Italians) and Uruguay are mostly Black, especially Colombia and Ecuador, but also Costa Rica, Honduras and Brazil.

The French team has always been a black team, but even the Swiss, who recently went through a referendum to allow one mosque to be built in Switzerland, had some Muslim and Black players.

The observable surprise is that the team supporters of these Black teams in the stands of the various stadia are all virtually White, even Brazilians, perhaps because the Blacks in those countries could not afford the expenses of following their teams.

May be I am treading on dangerous ground now that I have wondered into uncharted waters of matters of race, but the other face of a game are the spectators.

Perhaps one other not so small piece of surprise is that the Bosnia-Herzegovina is not cheered by two of the ethnic components of the country. This country has three ethnic groups which coincide with three religious faiths in the country: the Croats (Catholic), Serbs (Orthodox) and Muslims. The three groups speak one language but they are divided along religious lines and these define each group as a different ethnic group.

Even the two countries Croatia and Serbia speak the same language (Serbo-Croatian) but Croatians are Catholic and write with the West European Latin script, whereas the Serbs are Greek Orthodox and write with a Cyrillic script and this keeps them apart as different ethnic countries.

Thus the Croats and Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina do not support their national team because it is composed of Muslims. This is but another example that religion is often more of a divisive factor.

From this small country of four million people, some people are on trial in the ICC for having killed many fellow nationals because of their ethnicity (religion).

Mr Ruzindana is a former IGG and former MP. a_ruzindana@yahoo.com