Monday, March 30, 2009

soccer riot

There was a soccer riot over the weekend in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. I'm not sure if it was a riot. From what I've read, it sounds more like a crush or a stampede. Initial reports suggest 19 to 22 dead and about 132 wounded. Police may have contributed to the chaos by firing rounds of tear gas.
Why would I mention a newsreel blip like this, aside from my fascination with soccer riots and frenzied mobs? Well, all this happened BEFORE the game. Apparently, they decided to go ahead with the game (an African World Cup qualifying match). They were about halfway through the group qualifying stage (6th out of 10 games). Ivory Coast would eventually go on to win the game against Malawi 5-0.
I find this intriguing because I wonder if the game would have commenced if a similar tragedy had occurred in Europe or the United States. My conclusion - in Europe, I seriously doubt it. In the States, no way in hell. What about Central or South America? What's intriguing here is the barometer by which a country or culture measures the value of human life. Be sure to understand what I'm saying - I'm NOT suggesting that Africans have less regard for human life. I AM suggesting the possibility that when death and violence have become such an ingrained routine observance in normal day-to-day activity, a certain "desensitization" sets in.
When the great civilization of the United States crumbles, and trust me, it will eventually fall just like every other "great" empire, I wonder if a scenario like this could unfold on our turf. Remember, Ivory Coast authorities had the opportunity to delay or cancel the game. They opted to proceed. Perhaps they concluded that had they canceled the game, a riot of greater magnitude might transpire. It's hard to accurately judge what happened from a house in Wheeling, WV.
All of this just made me think of The Who concert in Cincinnati (1979 maybe) where people got crushed to death before the general admission show. I forget the death count - I think it was 10-20. I wonder if they went ahead with the concert. Not quite sure.

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