Monday, May 24, 2010

Pin It


Soccer 1 - 0 Politics

lebanon municipal election 2010 The Lebanese municipal elections kicked-off on May 2nd of this month, and are still under way, covering a different region every week. Because of the high political tensions, which have been rising ever since the assassination of the late Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, opposing parties have launched extremely competitive campaigns against each other, with huge sums of money being injected in the process of “buying votes”. Even though elections in Lebanon are democratic, candidates have been known to pay for electors in return for their ballot. This year, the heaps of cash, being frittered away on these corrupt campaigns, are inestimable. In some areas, where the competition is fierce, it has been reported that the sums being paid – per vote – reached $5,000 US dollars. It saddens me to watch all that money being squandered away when, instead, it could have been donated to charity!

While politicians are taken by this naive campaign, the people are looking forward to a totally different kick-off: The 2010 Fifa World-Cup. For them, local politics is a joke, and the situation hasn’t changed for decades. In Lebanon, the same figures have been running the country for as long as they can remember. The World-Cup, however, is a totally different story. Even though our national soccer-team has never been qualified to play in this tournament, this competition has always been the most anticipated of all events. 

World Cup 2010 LebanonMonths before the opening ceremony, everyone decorates his or her car, home and shop, advertizing the team he or she supports. During this long awaited period, political and religious differences dissolve and are replaced by a friendly competitive spirit; you are no longer labeled as a Christian or a Muslim, but as a “Brazilian”, “German or Italian (the three most popular teams in Lebanon).

When you observe this completely different reality, overwhelming Lebanon for this short period of time, you realize that people, when left non agitated by our unethical politics, are able to overlook the differences among them, and it makes you wonder whether this could become a permanent reality simply by adopting political “Fair Play”.

All Rights Reserved Free Thinking Lebanon