Today, football dominates every corner of Iranian society, an occasion both for people to forget the chaotic situation of the daily life and for the regime to mask this situation
June 26, 2006
The World Cup comes at a time when the IRI is displaying its deepest crises and is led by one of the most barbaric regimes of the world.
Few Iranians abroad have optimistically thought the Iranian national soccer team is somehow capable of a miracle combination of passion and representation for Iranian people. At the end, les jeus sont faits, the IRI’s players have disappointed both in football and politics all Iranians, including themselves, by demonstrating that they were not capable of an optimistic approach: being a team with no performance, no ambition, no combative mood, no national flag, no recognised anthem and no solidarity for its oppressed people.
Furthermore, the team has unimaginatively played bad, a stance that has created no passion for Iranians; the team finally achieved in the preliminary round the last place in the group.
We saw a team of the IRI that was crippled by fear of its failures. It was after all not a team that took to the stage filled with hope and spurred on by an idea of representing its people and its passion. The failures were not to be hidden. From the coach's bench and after each game, the neutral reporters could find out the conflicts and a lack of unity in the team.
For the IRI’s team, a sense of unity only could take hold in an artificial stance. In fact, there was no unity for a team on which the public debate has already focused the question if the team after all represents its nation. Of course, there are seemingly irreconcilable differences among Iranians concerning the legitimacy. For some epicurean Iranians who have trouble to accept the sad face of heir country, this legitimacy is not the issue at all. Instead, on a lower intellectualism out of touch with the realities, they may even carry any flag, chant any anthem and happily cheer and dance with any music. For some other Iranians, who truly tackle the problem, they do not let things drift with the euphoria of football, but instead point out the worries of people that will be appeared into the background.
The ecstasy of euphoria will be over soon. It is not something one can build upon. The obvious fact must be clearly pointed out that the IRI, as a totalitarian regime, abuses sport for its own purposes, or, even worse, it is an ideological arena for the propaganda of the regime.
The debacle of the IRI’s team in the World Cup was another expected defeat for the IRI. As I described in a previous article, The IRI in the World Cup, not Iran, the IRI’s soccer team is a natural product of a totalitarian regime. The team was selected and organised based on the values of the IRI to represent the regime, not Iran, in an international event.
Of course, we cannot emotionally blame all national players for not protesting against the atrocities of the IRI, but some of the players were considered the agents or corrupt nouveaux rich of the regime. They have neither a high performance on the field nor a justified place in the heart of all freedom-loving Iranians.
If sport could once have a success under some totalitarian regimes (the former East Germany who had a huge place in the international sport, but has not yet found its place in unified Germany), it has now no future under an Islamic regime. The IRI, as a system of gender segregation, cannot integrate sport into its Islamic culture. Although, the early IRI had a clear anti sport policy—banning chess, female sport, fixing a limited age for practicing sport, it presently abuses sport as a trampoline for its own purposes.
When millions of Iranians occasionally celebrate a football euphoria on the streets, they are not only idyllically celebrating the success, but besides an atmosphere of relax and entertainment, they show their sense of patriotism which is not to be tolerated on other occasions. The effects are more than sympathy for the football players: people can be gathered, chanting their own slogans instead of hearing “Noheh”, raucous mourning songs, and dancing and laughing instead of beating on the chest and crying. And the created collective atmosphere can, at least, be used by people a bit like all free people of the world.
Both in stadiums and in the crowds, this atmosphere was in Germany characterised by Iranian fans, when free, they mostly carry national flag, wear non-Islamic dress and the made-up faces, the hats, the relax clothes-- everything displaying that they behave like non-Muslims. The massive presence of female Iranian fans was even more than a slap in the face of Mullahs who do not let Iranian women enter a football stadium in Iran
Banal publication of IRI’s flag in some Iranian media abraod, including in Iranian. com, reflects no solidarity with Iranian people, it is an insult on all freedom-loving Iranians who do not recognise this reactionary flag at all. Despite vast numbers of IRI’s flags which were distributed and all efforts of the IRI that abused the excitement to erase the differences between the IRI and Iran, most Iranian fans realising the trick avoid to be gathered under the IRI’s flags in Germany.
In the match of Iran-Mexico, as the entire stadium takes up the chant “Iran, Iran”, there was suddenly in the stadium a silent atmosphere when the IRI’s anthem was played. Charged as it is with an Islamic-tinged mood, many Iranians, by not singing along, ignored the anthem, while Mexican fans were chanting their own national anthem. Once again, a typical fact when Iranians are spontaneously finding themselves wrapped up in one of the controversial debates over an Iranian identity.
The difference between the IRI and any other known totalitarian regime is respectively the abuse and use of sport: in the totalitarian regimes, like communist or nationalist regimes, sport is demagogically celebrated and encouraged. But the IRI because of its Islamic characters is in a basic contradiction with all sports in which the gender segregation may end up with a gender mixture. In another hand, for the regime, it is not always possible to curb a football gathering when it turns into some protest. And the IRI’ officials know that football gatherings have a sign of an anti-regime resonance.
Today, football dominates every corner of Iranian society, an occasion both for people to forget the chaotic situation of the daily life and for the regime to mask this situation. Football’s fever has captured the hearts and minds of people, transforming them into protestors. It's a feeling of euphoria, of the excitement that comes with being a fan.
The question behind it all is whether such a celebratory mood will encourage Iranians to develop and display a new sense of anti-regime solidarity instead of maintaining a temporarily acquired sense of happy unity. It is important to see how effective such a gathering can be turned into an anti-regime atmosphere. Such gatherings, which often attend an atmosphere of protest marches, can be occasions to hold people together and to improve a sense of unity in our oppressed society. And in a closed society nowhere is the collective yearning for victory greater than in these enthusiastic young crowds. Comment