Western countries have not experienced a single war on their soil since the 1945. If the different wars they were mostly indirectly involved in had, in some occasions, some repercussions on the moral of their populations, never have they however destroyed and mutilated any civilians at home. Clean and remote wars is what our modern societies have become expert in. But does it necessarily mean that direct human confrontation does no longer exist in the so called old continent?
Not at all, if we look at what football represents to those who only swear by this very sport. In most European countries, international football matches have become the opportunity for many citizens to express their patriotism, nationalism, as well as their desire to eliminate any country their national team compete with. Each match opposing two countries starts with both national anthems, with shouts and boos, and the waving flags. War does no longer take place on the battle field, things now rather happen in the stadium, where eleven football players of one nation confront eleven football players from another nation.
June and July 2016, here we are! finally. A European tournament that no football fan would have accepted to miss, no matter the circumstances. The pious ones delay their prayers. Those working on time consuming projects decide to have a break regardless how late they are to meet the fixed deadlines. Those with crucial appointments or meeting with their superiors do not hesitate to tell lies, and either cancel or postpone their meetings. And I, sitting on my own in my one bedroom flat apartment, just decide to go back to writing and cover one of the events of the year. What else can I do other than gaze at the time that passes by, faster and faster, and which I know is a murderer. The capital of the Hexagon has partially forgotten the social unrests that have been paralysing the whole country for more than a couple of months now. A revolution that won’t be televised, but which for sure will be tweeted, and re-tweeded. In the nineteenth and twentieth century, some renowned philosopher and thinkers qualified religion as being the opium of the people; it has to be noted that in the twenty first century football has clearly become a substitute for religion.
In one of the schools I work in, in the UK, it was even declared that there would be no teaching whenever England is playing during daytime. No need to say that this very school which is funded by Catholic investors is an interesting reflection on where our –aforesaid- “modern” societies are heading to. I hear in the news that some British, caught in their delirium concept of white supremacy, have gone to France to attend and support their national team. As usual, their loud and boasting manners on the greatness of Britain is what they use best in order to distinguish themselves in the country of Moliere. But, supremacists often make the mistake to think that the realities of their homeland society are valid and transferable into other societies. If ethnic minorities in Britain in their vast majority tend to be a nice law abiding people, it has to be underlined that on the other side of the channel, and especially in Marseille, things are totally different. Blatant racism and Islamophobia in all the different sphere of society has educated the French minority masses and made them less submissive. It obviously explains the reason why many British hooligans who had made the trip to France to take part in the Euro-cup festivities were humiliated and sent to hospital, after mistakenly trying to test and provoke French, and later Russian hooligans who, just like them, had come in the attempt to see if the Fifa type of war could not take place somewhere else other than in a stadium. No need to mention that many white supremacists English hooligans found out that the myth they so much believe in and which make them feel superior to any other nation has no real foundations.