Wednesday, July 12, 2006

90 minutes.

I was watching a football match, (perhaps one in every 4 years) and rooting for Germany (surely, the first time in 2 decades) to win the match. It was most ironic, for Germany was once a most despised country not too long ago and its players were perhaps the grandsons of those who running the Auschwitz. But today, it is a sovereign country, technologically propelling and made most popular and populous by other nations that flock into their stadiums for the World Cup season. Surely, it was beyond the world’s imagination 60 years ago.

And to think, only 60 years have passed since Israel as a nation wondered where God was. Only 60 years since many of them threw their faith away as they were thrown into gas chambers and pits they themselves had dug. By historical means, the Holocaust is very much contemporary. Is 90 minutes of this night ever enough for the forgiveness of those who still have numbers tattooed to their arms? Is 90 minutes a worthy time for Germans to be cheered on, both as host to World Cup and as respectable footballers?

I sure hope it is. But, it is a very timid hope- a hope that would perhaps, find its way to the core of dispute among people. But the basis of my hope is merely upon reading this-

“Let us try to imagine what goes on in the child’s mind as his eyes watch rings of black smoke unfurl in the sky, smoke that emanates from the furnaces into which his little sister and his mother had been thrown after thousands of other victims. For him, Nietzsche’s cry articulated an almost physical reality: God is dead, the God of love, of gentleness and consolation, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had, under the watchful gaze of this child, vanished forever into the smoke of the human holocaust demanded by the Race, the voracious of all idols.

“For God’s sake, where is God?” And from within me, I heard a voice answer: “Where He is? This is where-hanging here from this gallows.” And I, who believe that God is love, what answer was there to give my young interlocutor whose dark eyes still held the reflection of the angelic sadness that had appeared one day on the face of a hanged child?

What did I say to him? Did I speak to him of that other Jew, this crucified brother who perhaps resembled him and whose cross conquered the world? Did I explain to him that what had been a stumbling block for his faith had become a cornerstone for mine?

And that the connection between the cross and human suffering remains, in my view, the key to the unfathomable mystery in which faith of his childhood was lost? We do not know the worth of one single drop of blood, one single tear. All is grace, If the Almighty is the Almighty, the last word for each of us belongs to Him. That is what I should have said to the Jewish child.

But all I could do was embrace him and weep”. – Francois Mauriac, on the foreword of Night; a memoir of those perished in the Holocaust.

And what of the rest of the German nation? Each one, tainted by the blood of the Jews that his neighbour, colleague or friend has caused to shed. Each man scarred because of dumb pride. I can hardly speak for both nations. But, what I see words failed, football seemed to have made it all happened. It made people from all around the world put up with all other differences and tolerate with only one- which team you are supporting. It made squabbling nations sit next to each other and cheer when conferences drive them into building long-range missiles against one another. It made language becomes a secondary barrier to cultural understanding. It made a nation, no longer embarrassed by its national pride. Healthy pride, that is.

If only people paid this much attention to football in 1941.

2 Comments:

Blogger Jack The LOT{B}R said...

And to think there was a popular (by being on the "oppressed" side) world leader who recently denied holocaust ever happened. Ah, who are you a mere lil gal to say it did?

:)

7:27 PM  
Blogger The Hedonese said...

if not mistaken, some countries went to war when somebody lost a world cup match hehehe...

i do know one colombian defender who got shot dead for scoring an own goal... sigh... fallen world, fallen world

12:10 PM  

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