Let this be a lesson: when a world miracle like modern-day South Africa wants to host something like the FIFA [soccer] World Cup... let it. At least, that's what I come away with reading this account of violence by good old neo-Nazis in Germany threatened against swarthy football fans. Didn't see this coming? Yeah, right. Soccer... the sport where the fans (especially European fans) occasionally kill each other, right? Not much more to be said.
Ironic, of course, as Germany has gone through decades of existential angst over its own horrifying past, and seemed to have eviscerated this sort of thing. Apparently, that angst didn't make its way to the old Communist Eastern part, which has been free now for over 15 years... free to be nostalgic for those halcyon days of yesteryear... you know... that 12 year long 1,000 year reich. Skinheads, neo-Nazis and others similarly situated (believed by the German government to number around 4,000) have threatened to attack foreign fans visiting Germany who aren't, you know, the right color. (Also planned is a rally in support of Iran's Holocaust denying, Israel threatening President Ahmandidjad, when Iran plays Angola... ) All charming. I'm sure the German government is just delighted that their long-awaited international spectacle may turn into an... international spectacle.
Even more ironic indeed given that the recent [American plant] story of Iran proposing a law that would make non-Moslems [read "Jews"] wear different colored [read "yellow"] armbands... like you know who used to... is complete and utter hogwash. (Though, when the airstrikes against Iran start... who'll remember that part?)
Sport. Bringing us together. The 1936, and 1972 Olympics, and now, evidently, this 2006 World Cup. Germany and sport. Some things never change, apparently. No matter how much we wish they would.
Maybe this will all work out without racist violence. God knows, I hope it does. But I'm not sure that's how you bet.