Post-9/11 Western psyche getting even with those who had bred and raised Osama
June 3, 2002
Last night, after about an hour of struggle with the VCR, the remote, and the instruction
manual, I finally managed (at 2:30 am) to program the recorder to tape the Germany-Saudi
World Cup soccer game while I slept.
This morning, after breakfast, I seated myself at an optimum distance from the TV,
and then, with the TV remote in one hand and the VCR remote in the other, I started
watching the game.
Two Mexican workers were also in the house, replacing the tiles around my fireplace.
As soon as the pictures of the soccer match appeared on TV, the tile workers stopped
work and started watching the screen and talking about the game.
I don't understand much Spanish, but this I got from their conversation:
"Saudita y Allemania, ocho cero."
"Ocho cero?" I turned and asked in a state of disbelief.
"Si. Ocho cero."
I didn't need to ask who was ocho and who was cero.
They didn't feel a need to elucidate that either. There was a mutual understanding
that with such an amazingly lop-sided score, it is definitely Germany who was the
victor, and not Saudi Arabia.
My immediate reaction to this revelation was "Shit! They fucked up again."
But then I continued watching the game, and the more I watched, the clearer it became
that this wasn't just an ordinary game between a European giant and a puny Asian
This was much bigger. This was West meeting East. This was the post-9/11 Western
psyche getting even with those who had bred and raised Osama Bin Laden. Pure and
The Germans were on a mission, bestowed on them by the whole of the Western world;
to humiliate the Saudis before the eyes of the world. And they succeeded.
So then I got to thinking; Where do I stand in all of this? How am I supposed to
feel? What do I feel? I have to admit before this readership, that I liked it. Yes
I did. I liked the outcome for two basic reasons:
I don't think the Saudis deserve to be at the World
Cup, especially after their mediocre performance at the qualifying games, and the
one game that they fixed, in order to advance. (I don't remember the details. Soccer
fans please fill us in.)
Also, when I think of all that Saudi money that was behind the Taliban and the Al-Qaida,
and the devastation that they caused, both in the West and in the East, it all turns
my stomach. I sympathize with all the victims, and as someone from that general area,
I sense absolutely no connection with the Saudis and what they are about.
So I liked it. Call me West-toxified. Call me what you will. But I liked it.
Watching the goals was wonderful too. Each one was a work of art.
The tile men were also done. Their work looked pretty good too.
"Muy bonito" I said to the workers
"Bien, bien÷÷Usted Saudito?"
No, I said "No Saudito."