Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Briefing

I've been forwarded the following briefing from my Lebanese friend - now a refugee. I thought I would put it on my blog. I should note, perhaps, that my friend is carrying out PhD research on Shi'ite political parties in Lebanon and so is particularly well informed about what is going on.

At the risk of looking rather cowardly, I want to add, also, that I don't necessarily agree with everything in this briefing. The views expressed here are those of the writer... and etc.

The Unjustified War on Lebanon

"During the first days of the Israeli aggression on Lebanon, questions on the timing, reasons and purposes for the seizure of the two Israeli soldiers were raised inside and outside Lebanon prompting many hypothetical arguments. Many directed their fingers of accusations towards Hezbollah. There are those who promoted the idea that Hezbollah is a tool by Iran and Syria in their war against Israel, hence making Lebanon a proxy battleground for the conflict between Iran and Syria on one hand and Israel on the other. On the other hand, there are those who support Hezbollah and believe that the nature of Israel's assault on Lebanon makes no doubt that Israel is a US agent having the mission to enforce the US agenda of the 'New Middle East'. Before examining these different claims and propagandas, it is important first to stop briefly at the background of the aggression.

On July 12, 2006 the Lebanese resistance movement represented by Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers. Immediately afterwards, the secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nassrallah declared that he is ready to swap the two soldiers for the Lebanese prisoners in the Israeli prisons. He stated that the seizure operation was limited in scope having one purpose only: to achieve an unconditional exchange of prisoners similar to the previous exchange processes in 1998 and 2004 by means of indirect negotiations. He stated that the operation is not intended for any escalation with Israel, however should Israel decide to escalate the situation, the Hezbollah will have no option but to defend the country. Few hours following Sayyed Nassrallah's speech, Israel launched its war of aggression on Lebanon.

When Israel launched its aggression, almost everyone expected it to hit the Hezbollah targets only since the operation was carried militarily, meaning militants against soldiers. Instead, Israel's aggression was launched against the entire Lebanese state making civilians and infrastructure legitimate targets. The aggression was on the airports, ports, bridges, tunnels, roads, media stations, residential areas, red cross, fire brigades, emergency relief centers, petrol stations, factories, mosques, food and medicine lorries, hospitals, civilian cars, motorcycles and even United Nations headquarters. Across the south, the Bekaa and the Dahieyh (Beirut suburb), families piled into pickup trucks and cars heading toward safer places after Israel dropped leaflets warning the residents to leave their towns. Soon however they found out that the Israeli air strikes had hit all the crossings. With no exit or way out, many were trapped in their areas.

The areas which have been constantly targeted are inhabited mostly by the Shiite community, something that made many wonder whether this aggression is on the Shiite community rather than on Hezbollah. This impression stems from the fact that the majority of the Shiite community in Lebanon is in support of Hezbollah; this is confirmed for instance by the results of the local and national elections as well as by the number of the masses that attend the Hezbollah rallies. Hence the feeling has been that Israel is punishing the Hezbollah supporters and audience.

For those who have limited knowledge on Hezbollah and very briefly, Hezbollah in Lebanon and in many parts of the world is seen as a legitimate resistance movement fighting Israel for the liberation of the Lebanese occupied land. In fact, Hezbollah is a mass movement and an active political party well-represented in the Lebanese society, parliament and government. In addition to its resistance wing, Hezbollah has an effective organization that offers a wide range of social, economic and cultural services.

As to the claim that Hezbollah is fighting on behalf of Iran and Syria, the argument is that Hezbollah took this step in an attempt to lift the pressure off the Iranians with respect to their uranium enrichment and/or allow the Syrian troops to re-enter Lebanon in an attempt to stabilize the situation similar to what happened in 1976 when the Lebanese president, Mr. Suleiman Franjieh, called on Syria to enter Lebanon to stop the war. Hezbollah does not ignore its relationship with Syria and Iran. Religiously, Hezbollah follows the theological teachings of Ayatollah Khamenei. Ideologically, it follows both Iran and Syria particularly with respect to the ideology of resistance to Israel. This does not mean however that Hezbollah should be considered as being Iranian or Syrian just like one cannot consider communists in the world as Soviets. Hezbollah is purely Lebanese and this has been confirmed by Sayyed Hassan Nassrallah and the Lebanese government. According to Sayyed Hassan Nassrallah, most of those currently engaged in the fighting against the Israelis are from all over Lebanon. Common sense makes us question whether it is possible for someone to risk his life just for the sake of bringing Syria back to Lebanon or to lift the pressure off Iran for example. Hadi the son of Sayyed Nassrallah is himself a martyr who was killed in action against the Israeli forces. For Hezbollah, the fight against Israel is a fight of dignity and duty, a fight for rights, a fight for the liberation of the Lebanese occupied lands and the Lebanese prisoners of war and a fight for freedom.

The US on the other hand labels Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The reasons for such a categorization is directly related to the American vision of the "New Middle East" which the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has lately been stressing on during her diplomatic efforts in finding a settlement for the Lebanese crisis. Though Ms. Rice did not disclose any information on what she means by the 'New Middle East', any observer of the political situation in the Middle East would be able to pick on certain issues.

There is no doubt that the American vision of the 'New Middle East' is an agenda that involves the following points: transforming some regimes in the Middle East to become allies of the US as well as good neighbors with Israel at the time when Israel still occupies Arab lands in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, refuses to implement the UN resolutions, and violates the Lebanese and Syrian territories; settling the Palestinians in Lebanon and therefore making the United Nation resolution 194 which grants the Palestinians their right to return to Palestine void, and forcing the implementation of United Nations Resolution 1559 which calls on the disarmament of Hezbollah, thus putting an end to any deterrence against the Israeli violations of the Lebanese territories since 1961.

The American administration is aware that its agenda for the Middle East cannot be achieved as long as there is an active opposition resisting such an agenda. Facts on the ground show the zero tolerance that the Americans have towards the resistance movements in the Middle East. It is not a secret that the Iraq war did not lead to the expected results set by the American administration. Today instability and violence reign in Iraq and the Americans find themselves under the fire of the Iraqi insurgencies. They accuse Iran and Syria of supporting some insurgencies against their troops in Iraq making it difficult for the Americans to achieve their vision for Iraq. Today, Iran is considered by the American administration and its allies as the symbol of resistance in the region. It is perceived as the main sponsor of the resistance movements in the Middle East such as the Badr organization in Iraq, Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon. What is more disturbing for the Americans is that these movements are represented in their respective governments having been democratically elected by the people. At the same time Iran is becoming a nuclear power which would enable it to become a major power in the region, a factor of concern for the US, Israel and their allies.

Hence the Americans are in a dilemma: On one hand, they want to see the 'New Middle East' taking place but that requires getting rid of all the obstacles or forces that oppose its agenda. On the other hand, the Americans are in no position to get into another meddle. They are already involved in Iraq, Afghanistan and the occupied Palestinian territories. A direct confrontation with Iran would only inflame the region and stir up its allies such as Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and Badr organization. Instead, the Americans have decided to go after Iran's 'long arms' first which ultimately would weaken Iran. Since 2005 we have been witnessing the US attempts to force its agenda of a "New Middle East": it almost managed to isolate Syria following the assassination of the late Lebanese prime minister Rafik in which Syria is allegedly implicated; it has given the Israeli government the free reins to suppress Hamas in Palestine; it worked on stirring up the sectarian divisions in Iraq; it almost managed to provoke internal divisions in Lebanon, and now it has mobilized all its resources and influence in the world to allow Israel to get rid of Hezbollah the last opposition to its agenda of the "New Middle East". However, the facts on the ground show how far such an agenda may be from reality.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese people are asking the following questions: Why is it that the whole world moves when 2 Israeli soldiers are kidnapped but nobody bothered to take action when Israel kidnapped two people, Cheikh Obeid and Cheikh Dirani from their homes in Lebanon and imprisoned them for more than 10 years? Why is it that the international community condemns Hezbollah for crossing the blue line at the time when according to the UN inspectors in Lebanon and since 2000 Israel has violated the Lebanese territories 11782 times? Why everyone still believe in the United Nations which is constantly constrained and paralyzed by the American Veto? Why according to Bolton the US ambassador to the United Nations there is no ethical comparison between the victims of Lebanon and those of Israel insinuating that those of Israel are much more important than those of Lebanon? And how come Hezbollah is labeled a terrorist organization when the masses all over the world particularly in the Arab world are overwhelmingly in support of Hezbollah, raising the party's flag and Nassrallah's pictures? Finally the people of Lebanon are waiting for someone to answer this particular question: in today's world is the law judging the strong or is the strong ruling the law?"

Friday, July 28, 2006

Another Message From a Lebanese Refugee

"Dear all,

Many many thanks for all your emails, support and concerns and apologies forthe joint email.

Many of you know already that I fled Lebanon with my family to Syria. That's true, but even from here, Boukein where I'm staying and is 15 kms from the borders with Lebanon, I can still hear the sound of the bombs on our Bekaa valley. Physically I'm fine, emotionally I'm drained but morally I'm angry! Back in Lebanon the shelter was forced on us; here in Syria we impose it on ourselves in solidarity with our people.

I spend my time sitting in front of the TV watching bombs falling on my country….and react by informing as many people as possible of the REAL situation. At first I used to find it difficult to watch the scattered bodies of the dead children on the roads when no one dares to pull them off because the Israeli government, which according to Bush and Blair has the 'right to defend itself' and is praised for its respect of the so-called democracy, international and humanitarian law, is even targeting the redcross and anything that moves in the South, Dahiyeh, Baalbeck and central Bekaa. Now , when I see these heart-breaking sights I don't even move; on the contrary I become filled with anger. I found out that when you're angry you just can't stop writing and it makes you feel a bit better. It's like you're trying to fight the aggressors with your pen and paper; you know the aggression will not go away but still, it makes you feel good and allows you to breathe properly for some time. I don't know whether what I'm saying makes sense to you, but that is exactly how I feel and I wanted to share it with you.

Now that I have found this network place and though it only has 5 PC's, I promise I'll write to you whenever i can and *I'll send you briefings on thesituation*.Meanwhile please don't forget my country and my people; we need your bravery...

Thank you


C- "

Monday, July 24, 2006

There is Always Another One Walking Beside You

When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
- But who is that on the other side of you?

I often compose blogposts in my head when I walk home, or when I'm supposed to be working - very few of them make it onto the site. They're forgotten, or don't seem as important as they did when I come to type them out. Very often they're sparked by something I've read on another blog which angers or upsets me - something which gnaws away, demanding an answer or refutation or denouncement. I am particularly aware, when I compose these fleeting (non) replies that I have to lace them with caveats and qualifications. On those issues and questions that I feel most emotional about - most angry, most anxious, most guilty - I find I cannot provide a straight forward statement of what I think. I must always expend a great deal of mental effort in explaining that while I say this, I don't mean to say that, or that while x may be the case it doesn't necessarily follow that I believe or think y. Quite frequently I can't get to the substance of what I want to say, because to do so I must first set out pages and pages of preliminary explanation, self-justification, declarations of innocence and good intentions and so on. It's incredibly frustrating - one gets into an endless spiral of second guessing one's imagined audience, introspection into one's own motives, the provision of preliminary qualifications and then the return to the practice of second guessing one's imagined audience on those caveats and so on.

I'm sure this is a very common experience. But I also suspect that I do it more than many others do and more, perhaps, than is healthy. It does seem to be a personal trait. It emerges out of and feeds back into a certain indecisiveness on my part - something which originated god knows when (some formative experience, some genetic dispostion?) - but which is now, firmly rooted and established, a self-driving, self reinforcing kind of thought process. It goes hand in hand, I might add, with a certain degree of self-absorption, self-obsession and the tendency to use the word 'I' too much in my writing. Why else would I blog? (who am I asking?)

Frustration, indecision and occasional paralysis are the price to be paid here. On the other hand (and I have no greater ability than the ability to see the other side of the story on everything - every bloody thing) it does have its benefits. I like to think that it makes me a 'reasonable' person (whatever one takes that to mean) and also acts like a kind of character inoculation against gullibilty, fanaticism and dogmatism. I find people who are really convinced (about whatever it is they believe) rather unsettling. Sometimes I find them a little ridiculous, a little unimaginative - clinging blindly to political certainty in the same way an Evangelical clings to his or her Bible - but always, in some way, unsettling. In some ways of course this makes me a fucking bad socialist.

Perhaps one way of breaking out, at least to some extent (there it is again), of this mental loop is to identify those ghostly figures, those mental policemen, those imaginary tut tutters, for whose benefit these qualifications are presented. Who is that I attempt to placate? From whom am I attempting to defend myself?

I know Freud is a little unfashionable today, but his idea of the super-ego is I think a useful one (is it a useful metaphor - what do I mean??). It is the realm of the conscience - it is constituted and structured by the various (sometimes contradictory) norms, ethics and taboos which we have internalised. It is in constant flux (one's ethical position can change of course) but there is usually some kind of settled continuity to it. So who are the figures that stalk here?

I can identify some of them. I'm not going to name them here though - what would they think of me?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Message From Lebanon

I have been forwarded an email with some details about what is going on in Lebanon. I'm not sure whether I should be publishing this or not and I've taken the names out - I'm fairly sure it's fine to publish them, but I'm just incredibly cautious about that kind of thing. The message needs some explaining. It is from a friend of mine who is in contact (via mobile phone) with another friend from Lebanon - the latter is a PhD student who went back to her home in Lebanon to see her family just before the bombing started. The first friend sent the following message to a Professor at York in the hope she could get it to the media. Someone else has forwarded it to all the PhD students in the department. The details of what is being targetted in Lebanon and the weapons used are shocking.

"Dear -

I am writing to you on - 's request. I've just heard from her via text messaging . She is in the Bekaa valley in a bomb shelter and Israel is bombing the village where she is at the moment. She says they are bombing the Red Cross, food lorries, fire brigade, hospitals and emergency relief centres. They are, apparently, using gas and poisonous weapons and arresting Al Jazera TV staff and bombing Al Manal TV. She is very concerned about the lack of reporting by the international media about the details ofthis violence. I don't know what the source of this information is, orwhether it has been verified , but she has asked me to bring it to your attention in the hope that you could perhaps bring it to someone in themedia's attention. (Not sure if that's the way things work, or if there is anything you can do, but it's worth asking.)Best wishes, "

I heard today that my friend has now been forced to flee to Syria with her entire family and is now sharing a rented apartment with 18 other refugees.

Friday, July 21, 2006


New Links

Have added links to Jangliss* and Infinite Thought to my links list because 1) they've linked to me (and it's only polite innit) and 2) they're damn fine blogs.

Incidentally, if any of my visitors runs a blog and I haven't linked to you then please don't be shy to tell me.

And, also, if anyone knows how to get the Progressive Blog Arsing Alliance to pull their finger out and add you to their blogroll, please let me know. Ok, I should imagine that refering to them as the "Progressive Blog Arsing Alliance" probably doesn't help matters. I'm tired of being a 'flippery fish' in the TTLB ecosystem you see. Rooksbyism should be up there with the bloody rodents where it belongs. It's just so unfair.

* Full name "You see, it is simply a very young boy's record" - but that's far too long for my links bar I'm afraid. I think it's from some bloke called Oscar Wilde or something.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Er... ok, Mr Gingritch, thanks for

Guardian Unlimited has gone to town today, publishing the most ludicrous/terrifying piece of shite by the world renowned extreme barking right 'wingnut' (as I believe them Americans say), Newt Gingritch. This charming fellow popped up on Newsnight, too, the other night. I'm not quite sure what's going on there. Perhaps they just felt sorry for him. I think it's more than that, however - Gingritch is given access to the British media because it's plain that his views are not really all that uncommon amongst the US Right - you know, the ones running the show at the moment.

Many Republicans really do appear to believe that World War 3 has started (and it's clear that they can hardly contain their joy) and really do believe that the Lebanese and the Palestinians (and then the Syrians and Iranians) should and will be pounded into oblivion. There in the background, of course, are terrifically mad Christian Ultra Right ideas about 'the last battle' and the Second Coming.

Please take a while to read through the comments underneath Gingritch's piece. Most of them are hostile of course, but there are a significant number of supportive US comments which are clearly - there is no other word for it - fascist. Despicable racism, comments implying support for extermination of 'Arabs', dark comments about 'limp-wristed' European 'degenerates', macho swaggering, glorification of military violence, conspiracy theorising about 'Eurabia' and 'muslim expansionism', lust for a war of 'civilisations', for final solutions. OK, some of this is probably bullshit - but it's scary nonetheless. I don't think that these views and attitudes are all that exceptional after 5 years of the 'War on Terror'.

The American left and American progressives really need to get their act together.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


How I despise ITN news. I tuned in at 12.30 today to watch Alistair Stewart virtually wanking himself off as he described the various forms of military transport that the British are using to evacuate UK citizens from Lebanon. Look, he says excitedly, at the size of that British warship off the coast of Beirut (it can transport up to 300 marines!!) and look at those Chinooks coming over the horizon - this is really, really exciting isn't it! Oh, and by the way, 50 more Lebanese civilians were killed today including 5 kids playing in a stream - but that isn't important- just look at the size of that warship... wow, this is really really dramatic isn't it! Now back to you in the studio, John.

Mind you, the BBC wasn't much better - I'm sure it was them (perhaps it was ITN) who informed viewers, with pictures to prove it, that all the evacuees were being processed by British immigration officials - you know, just in case any viewers were worried that there might have been any dirty foreign asylum seekers amongst the terrified women and children. Cos it would be just like them, those shifty foreign types, to use the destruction of their homes as an excuse to come to Britain and sponge off our benefits wouldn't it.


On BBC bias and Lebanese 'non-persons'.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hari on Peru's Rubbish Tip Children

Just thought I would draw your attention, if you haven't already seen it, to Johann Hari's excellent article on Peruvian child labour and poverty. Something happened to him when he went to Venezuela, not long ago - a change for the better.

"The IMF brags about Peru's spurting economic growth, and on paper five per cent year-on-year looks good. But like all neo-liberal growth, it has gone to those already rich. It has not "trickled down" to communities like this, who are - if anything - getting poorer. It has built up in a great reservoir at the top of Peruvian society.

This warning was the drum-beat of the Peruvian presidential election last month. In the left corner, Ollanta Humala talked of Chavez-style redistribution of wealth, hoping to spread the democratic revolution of Hugo and Evo to Peru. This stirred the great shanty cities into the polling booths. But in the right corner, Alan Garcia had a more pro-US message, tied to the implicit warning that people who stand up to the IMF get crucified by it. He had more cash, the support of the press, and, in the end, scored a narrow victory.

Robles is a wise, lined man, who has worked a lifetime against the imposition of neo-liberalism on his country. He is too polite to point out that the IMF - and the right-wing ideology it forces down the throat of the world's poor - is supported by my own Government. The British people, through Sport Relief, are trying to put right the damage caused by our own global financial institutions. It is a rescue plan from ourselves."

John McDonnell

McDonnell's campaign website has been launched. Looks ok, actually. Interestingly, the site takes a kind of souped-up blog form - and there's even a comments box facility.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

An Apology and Rapprochement

In an earlier blogpost I implied, without adequate substantiating evidence, that the aubergine vegetable caused me to spend last Wednesday night and much of Thursday chundering into my bathroom sink. I regret having lashed out against the aubergine, and I now accept that this mostly harmless vegetable* probably did not have a hand in my poisoning. It was most likely that bastard corned beef I had before going to bed. Or it might have been that bollocking cottage cheese. Whatever it was, I shall find out and I shall have my revenge. I shall not rest until justice is done.

Not Guilty

However, I should like to take this opportunity to apologise, unreservedly, to the aubergine vegetable. I have always admired the aubergine greatly and should like to remain on friendly terms in future. Corned beef and cottage cheese on the other hand can fuck right off.

*Or is it a fruit? I don't know. It doesn't matter.

The Faint Sound of Knives on Grindstones

According to Mr Osler, the Labour left-winger, John McDonnell, may intend to make a formal leadership challenge tomorrow. Of course, he's not going to beat Blair - but it might finally open up all the straining cracks in the New Labour edifice - a 'stalking horse' situation.

Will be interesting to see how the PLP and the membership reacts.

An Unwise Meandering Afterthought:

I'm lefty enough not to harbour any illusions about the Labour Party transforming itself into a socialist party (as Tony Benn often remarks 'the Labour Party's never been a socialist party' it's just that it's 'always had socialists in it') and neither do I imagine for one moment that socialism can be reformed into existence by means of parliamentary legislation (although these people seem to think so - perfectly nice chaps, but rather obviously haven't given the matter much thought).

However, socialism, I'm afraid, is not on the immediate or short term historical agenda. This much should be obvious. The key question socialists have to face is that, as Tim Wohlforth puts it somewhere, of how we can make 'the transition to the transition' - how do we get to a situation in which a transition to socialism becomes a real possibility? It seems to me that we can only put socialism on the historical agenda again through slow and patient work to build up the constituency for socialism and to build up socialist consciousness - to prepare the organisational and psychological conditions for successful socialist struggle in the future. This is likely to be a lengthy task.

Socialist organisation and consciousness must be built through an educational process of ‘struggle for feasible objectives corresponding to the experience, needs and aspirations of the workers’ (Gorz). The socialist movement must take the working class as it is – it must take account of its actual level of consciousness and its actual demands and aspirations. At first these ‘feasible objectives’ will be limited to measures of parliamentary reform within capitalism, but as the working class engages in socialist struggle, its more radical potential can be drawn out dialectically and in stages.

Not many people on the Left would disagree with this so far, I should think, but they might not agree with the rest of what I'm going to say (and my SWP readership should please avert your eyes now). Where we are at the moment necessitates actively getting our hands dirty in reformist struggle - getting right in there. We can't stand aloof from struggles within the Labour Party, if the left is going to mount a serious challenge (and we'll have to see if it's serious, and how much party and popular support for such a move there is). The experience could help to swing the axis of political debate substantially to the left. There is absolutely no sense in standing back and simply exhorting the working class to join your revolutionary party. That tactic hasn't worked for... oooohhhh.... well it's never worked. Of course radical socialists need to maintain some degree of independence - I'm not suggesting that all socialist organisations should dissolve themselves. But they also need to get stuck in to where it's at. It would take an exceptionally intelligent and flexible organisation to get involved in such struggle while not capitulating to parliamentarism and avoiding incorporation. It would be easier not to do it. But then finding a path to socialism was never going to be simple and straight forward was it?

So what am I saying? - dunno really. Ha ha ha ha.

What I'm saying is that if there is a credible challenge to Blair from the Labour Left I might re-join the Labour Party on a temporary, no-illusions basis. Of course, the key factor here is the cost of membership - one has to get one's priorities right - if it's over a tenner you can forget it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Ok, I know there are more important things going on in the world at the moment, but I thought I should say something about that Zidane incident, since I'd been vocally supporting France since - ooooohhh, July 5th.

First of all, it wasn't a 'headbutt'. A headbutt is a particularly nasty kind of assault when you smack your forehead into someone else's head or nose. Zidane launched his skull into Matarazzi's chest. If Zidane had wanted to hurt Matarazzi badly he'd have done it differently - it wasn't a vicious assault.

Second, I think Matarazzi probably deserved it. It would have been better, of course, for Zidane and for France if Zidane had kept his cool. I don't think that footballers should go around assaulting each other. However, if any of the various 'lip readers' quoted in the newspapers today are correct, I think Zidane's actions were at least understandable.

The BBC has suggested that Matarazzi insulted Zidane's (ill) mother and family and/or called him the 'son of a terrorist whore'. According to the Guardian, the 'Paris-based anti-racism group, SOS-Racism... said that "several very well informed sources" had suggested Zidane was called a "dirty terrorist".'

All very unpleasant.

With any luck, Materazzi will be disciplined for racist abuse by FIFA.

As for the game, itself, I thought France were the better team and deserved to win. I thought it was a shame that Henry and Ribery came off so early. It was a big shame, also, that France lost the penalty shoot out because of sheer bad luck - Trezeguet's missed penalty wasn't a bad one.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

When Moussaka Attacks

On Wednesday night, in an unprovoked attack, I was viciously mauled by a dodgy moussaka. I am still not completely better.

Take my advice and steer well clear of all warmed over aubergine-based foodstuffs. It's not worth it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Allez Les Bleus!

France are going to win the cup, I'm telling you.

Did I say I was part French? I think my great great great grandfather might have been French, possibly. Indeed, this would explain my great charm, élan and panache.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

"Rio is crying violently"

According to Rob Smyth at the Guardian anyway. Good. The bloke's a complete wanker. I sincerely hope that Rooney is blubbing his eyes out too, perhaps while stamping his feet like a 4 year old having a tantrum.

I didn't watch the whole match, but kept an eye on it on the interwebs. When it went to extra time I couldn't resist it anymore and went to watch it on a big screen in the college. From the moment I arrived, any residual support for England evaporated. You can call me a contrarian if you like, but from the minute I walk into a room full of yelling tosspots I have this uncontrollable, kneejerk reaction - which is to oppose anything the bawling, shouty people want and to favour whatever it is that they don't want. Actually, that's possibly a little overdone - I didn't find myself supporting Portugal to any significant degree, I just found that everytime England got the ball into Portugal's half and looked like they might score (which wasn't very often) I just didn't want them to succeed.

I think everyone knew that, when extra time ended and it came to penalties, England had already lost. Even when Portugal hit the bar and when wossisname saved a Portugal shot, putting England in a fairly good position, (although overrated professional cockney geezer and part time footballer, Lampard, had already missed by that stage) they were still going to fuck it up. When Gerrard missed and Ronaldo put his away, to seal the game for Portugal, I confess to having experienced no small feeling of satisfaction. And of course the tosspots went absolutely quiet. Schadenfreude is a most delicious feeling.

From what I saw, England certainly didn't deserve to win this game. They looked absolutely awful. They're not fit to tie Brazil's bootlaces, let alone take them on in the semi-final. Justice done, then, I suppose, although Portugal didn't look particularly impressive either.

I will be interested to see how long it takes for the little England flags to come down from cars and for the bigger ones to come down from house windows. Do the demonstrative patriots (to whom are they seeking prove their patriotism, by the way - to themselves or to other patriots? A bit of both I think) leave the flags up in some attempt at post-defeat dignity (there'll always be an England etc) or do they sweep them away as quickly as possible. I'm hoping for the latter - and if they could do it while crying violently, that would be very very nice.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?