As my fellows and I gathered in an already packed café to watch the expected highly competitive match between Germany and Argentina in the quarter finals of the World Cup 2010— the reason why we watch a match in a café most probably is plain in view of the fact that this blog’s owner has been talking of power outages for ages and ages— all at once the brilliant star of the German forward “Thomas Mueller” stooped like an eagle towards the ball and hit it with his head scoring his fourth goal in the World Cup and the first for Germany in this match amidst loud hailing and applause for the most part of the cheerful crowd. This goal, in fact, made me fall into dead silence as I saw my best football player “Lionel Messi” stand lacking of all capabilities to do anything whatsoever so as to rescue his and his team credited reputation as previously twice World Cup winners. This goal was followed by another. And another. And another. The final result of the match referred to 4-0 for Germany. At that exact moment, I never imagined myself to be as cheerful as the crowd that has been hailing for Germany while I supported Maradona with all my heart.
4-0! Serves you right, Maradona…
What a stupid unfortunate creature I would have been, had Argentina won the match! What a hapless doomed refugee camp I would have been, had Messi scored his long-awaited goal! What an unpatriotic “collaborator” I would have been had Maradona fulfilled his discredited pledge and walked naked along the streets of Buenos Aires!
Serves you right, Maradona.
Silent, deafened by the unceasing encouraging shouts from behind me and buffed by the smoke of the hookah all over me, gaping at the wide screen, and elbowed by the nervous young chaps on either side of me who kept running their hands through their hairs at each missed chance for the German team, I foolishly carried on my prayers that Messi would score his goal and do something to save Argentina. I would have never imagined myself praying against my prayers as heartily as I was praying, then.
How I am uneasily longing for that blessed piece of news that will report your dismissal as a coach manager of the Argentinean team. It will show up. It will show up.
Well, this is not about Argentina at all. It is not. Nor is it about Messi. No. Not even about Maradona himself! This is about something far dearer to me than a few hours I spend entertaining myself and practicing my favourite hobby. It is something life-long, deeply rooted, far closer and dearer to me. I have been taught to love this something more than anything else, no matter how this love will cost me. It is about Home, dear readers. It is about my Country. About Gaza. Palestine.
To support my enemy against me makes you my abhorred enemy as well. And, Maradona is as worse an enemy to me as Israel has even been!
How I regret the moment I hysterically celebrated when I first saw you score against England in the final match of World Cup 1986! (Though I was not born yet) Now, my happiness knows no bounds when I am to replay the clips where you shed your tears as Argentina loses against Germany in the final match of the World Cup 1990. Weep, Maradona, weep. It relieves your veins.
No World Cup, sir. You’re back home with nothing more than you being mocked, criticized, and cursed.
Yes, I will tell my mother to curse you in her prayers. I will ask my friends to forget about you and your feigned glory—it might be real glory, and I am being so unfair, but this is how things work when it is Home, sir…
Now, you can ask them to compensate you for your tears. Were you really willing to dedicate the World Cup for the Israelis if you won it? OK, this is cool, but there is no World Cup!
Oh, you made me look as though I do hate the Israelis for this. But I don’t. I have other more serious reasons to hate them, but not for gifting them the World Cup.
To be honest, I should not be as harsh as this: if Maradona was willing to gift the World Cup for the Israelis when he won it, he could have done thus, and no one could blame him as far as he would own it. Others have had gifted them my land which they never owned.
And let’s be optimists, perhaps Argentina will win the next World Cup. But, four years from now, you can go and ask then-coach manager’s permission to grant the World Cup for the Israelis.
And let’s look at the bright side, now you don’t need to embarrass yourself so as to take off your clothes and go naked around Buenos Aires. That would have made a real laughable yet a gravely bad scene.
Weep, Maradona, Weep. Weeping is good. It relieves your nerves…
Footnote: A few moments after I finished writing this piece, I happened to know that “Maradona dedicating the World Cup for Israel” is an utter rumor! Yet he visited Israel in the 1980s and took part in a documentary movie on the history of Israel’s football.
Now, whether Maradona is pro-Israel or not will not matter, but at least it has become clear how Gazans would behave towards any move of hostility or hatred against themselves and that everything becomes bootless if the cost is their love for the land.
Perhaps I need to apologize for Maradona if he is really not a pro-Israel, but I find a way out in what the late great Palestinian poet “Mahmoud Darwish” said: “In love and war, every thing becomes permissible.”
We’re in love with this land.
Mohammed Rabah Suliman
July, 6, 2010