Categories
FIFA World Cup

The World Cup and Human Rights

From BBC.co.uk’s coverage of FIFA world cup page https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0015ypx

I think there are lots of issues to do with holding the World Cup in Qatar but I think there are very few that are unique to Qatar. The main one is that the World Cup is usually held in the summer so the players can play for their clubs as well as for their country. Because it is being played in the winter this year there are going to be differences within the club games. But I am not quite sure why there is being such a fuss about the human rights issues.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think there are major human rights issues in Qatar and much of the Middle East around woman’s rights, LGBTQ rights, migrant rights, but I do not believe this area is unique for it. The Olympics were held in China which also has a poor record on human rights. The world seem to have forgotten the Tienanmen Square massacre, where Chinese troops slaughtered their own people for protesting. But still the Olympics went ahead.

There are many countries that have appalling human rights records whether to do with sexuality, gender, race, religion, age, and yet still major sporting events happen in these places. But then like many of the people who are allowed in as refugees does it depend what are view of these people are?

I think of the people crossing both the Mediterranean and the English Channel in tiny boats at exorbitant prices. First the question needs to be ask about the human rights in their countries that they are leaving, second why do they not stop in other countries along the way and work so hard to get into the UK, and then third why is the UK so reluctant to let people in? Do we have a good human rights record in the UK when it comes to certain people groups?

I do think it is right to use these big events to raise issues about the state of human rights in these countries and challenge the leaders of these countries about how they treat others. But I do think so much in sport also comes down to money. Qatar was willing to pay billions to get ready for this event, and they are preparing for other major events too. These oil rich countries do have the money to do this. With the budget, if that is what it is called, that has come from the UK chancellor this week is anything to go by the UK cannot afford to hold a major sporting event.

Yes these countries to do need to sort out how they treat women, LGBTQ people, migrants, and others, but then so does the UK. Perhaps instead of just muttering about it there could be a major campaign by world leaders to look at human rights issues, to change their own policies first and then to encourage other countries to do the same.

But I do think we need to stop looking at the economic issues and what we really want. If the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics or Formula One motor racing or major golf tournaments or other sporting events can only happen in places that can afford them and who treat others well then maybe they would have to cease. Who would be happy with FIFA announcing that there would be no more World Cup because no one could really afford it as we are in a world recession?

Categories
anticlimax gratitude

Anticlimax

Basingwerk Abbey, Holywell, viewed through the trees on a walk around Holywell taken by Diane Woodrow, author of The Little Yellow Boat
Basingwerk Abbey, Holywell, viewed through the trees on a walk around Holywell taken by me

I have been pondering why so many people I know are feeling low with the coming out of lockdown and with Covid-19 being brought to submission. As I pondered I felt it was because this virus has been an anticlimax. We have all seen or read dystopian stories where there is something cataclysmic that brings an end to civilisation as we know it. Many of us have read about the Great Plagues of Medieval times. The media filled us with fear and dread. But also we experienced something mankind has never experienced – lockdown! Never in the history of mankind have people shut themselves away alone and yet been so connected with the world via TV and internet. Apart but connected or as can feel at times connected but alone.

Unlike the Black Death or the Spanish Flu in the UK we have not experienced losing a high percentage of our population. In fact many of us have not lost a single person in our family here, though most of us do know of someone who has died somewhere. We have not had food shortages due to lack of labourers like in the times of the Bubonic plague. Yes we have had shortages but they have been due to selfish panic buying.

All of us who are comfortably off have noticed little changes – in our income and expenditure, in the way we live our lives, etc. I am sure if we lived in some of the countries we would have endured huge numbers of deaths, struggles for food, for work, for just the things that can be taken for granted in the West.

But if we look back on the headlines for March 2020 we were expecting much more. Something more dystopian. But we didn’t get it. We’ve got change, and big change, but not horrendous change. And especially if one watched the Euro football games things seem to have returned to normal!

I think, when one has been promised much – good or bad – and it doesn’t happen, one is left feeling anticlimaxed.

“The anticlimax is when you’re set up for a climax, such as a spectacular, battle-to-end-all-battles between the hero and the villain. It’s built up more and more until the suspense is extremely exciting, and the reader/viewer can’t wait for it…then the hero kills the villain in one hit, or the villain spontaneously drops dead “

From –
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Anticlimax

And this I believe is what many of us are feeling now. We were given this huge build up. We expected something spectacular. And now it is all over.

I decided to have a bit of a google through all this and found this from Ethical Horse Products on how to deal with Anticlimax in which she says a good way of dealing with anticlimax after an event is to celebrate one’s achievements. How do we do that when we feel like we haven’t actually achieved anything? In fact everything I read talked about preparing for it. How does one prepare for it when one didn’t get the climax first? All we got was the fear and expectation, the suspense.

I think one of the first things to do is acknowledge this is how we are all feeling. I think too it is why we loved the England football game because there was the excitement. There was also the expectation of not winning. So there was a preparedness in the air. Gareth Southgate told his players, and thus the rest of those watching, to not get too excited. So we were excited but prepared.

With the virus our government did not do that. It told us to be scared. To be so afraid that there were some who did not even step outside their front door for months. For most of us we didn’t travel, stayed away from friends and family. Lived with anxiety, albeit for most low-level, but it was there. We were not prepared for the anticlimax. So how do we deal with it?

So once we’ve accepted this is how we feel then we need to, I believe, step into celebrating what we achieved – for some this could just be stepping back to groups they used to go to, for others it will be more major. Then we need to feel gratitude – that we’re still alive, that we can still communicate, that we made it through.

Gratitude works best if one does it on small tangible things. So being grateful for clean water is great but being grateful that you had a conversation with someone in the park is personal and more real. Start each day with five small things you are grateful for. Look back at my post about “Awe in the Ordinary” – which was also posted on Godspace on 6th July.

Walk whether you live in the countryside or a city. Take in the air. Be grateful you can walk. Find awe in the ordinary. Check out other posts on walking and awe. Be kind to yourself when you don’t feel up for it but give yourself that small push.

Anticlimax is something we’ve all experienced and all walked through but I think this time it is hard because it was thrust on us be outside forces – the government – and we need to walk through a bit more squelchy mud before we can stand on firmer ground. But firmer ground is coming! It has to be because the Ox needs to be able to plough well.

Categories
Euros involved prophetic

The Euros – England’s victory in defeat

Gareth Southgate clapping the Italians and the fans at end of the Euros on Sunday 11th July https://www.skysports.com/football/news/19693/12353740/euro-2020-final-where-did-it-go-wrong-for-england?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-en-GB
Gareth Southgate and the England team at the end of Sunday’s game from https://www.skysports.com/football/news/19693/12353740/euro-2020-final-where-did-it-go-wrong-for-england?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-en-GB

I have loved reading the headlines this morning of how the UK has responded to England’s defeat to Italy in the Euros last night. Every paper I have seen talks with pride about their team and how they did so well and were in the end beaten by a better team. It isn’t often I can say it but I would say England claimed a victory in its defeat but the way the media in this country have stood beside them. There is so much negativity and running down of people who are doing their best that this reporting of a defeat has been done so so well.

I did stay up till gone 11pm to watch it. I’m not a regular football watcher but I do love finals. I remember when my son was young we used to get the charts from the paper for either Euros or World Cup and use it as a bit of a maths lesson, and also to add to the involvement in the event. I might just get a chart for the World cup next year to be involved.

My involvement this year came about because I went to spend two days with a friend in Brighton – which included the excitement of going on the train for the first time in years and using my senior railcard, which was also a big bonus. And by the way I found the trains very calm, not overly busy and I felt Covid safe the whole time.

England lost because of not being able to score enough goals in the penalty shoot out at the end. A very long well played game!

As I led in bed wondering what, if any, prophetic signs could be taken from the game. I got to wondering about what was being said in the “heavenlies” about why it was that it was the two young men who had been substituted in at the end of extra time that were the ones who missed the goals. [This is no inditement on Rashford and Sancho who are great players] What came to me was how often we bring in young people into a project or a team who have not been involved with the sweat and graft of the main event and expect them to perform to the same standard as those who have been in for the long haul.

I can think of many church projects where older people have slogged through and worked hard at but then get told to stand down to let younger people take over. These older people then have to support the younger people who have usurped them. I have heard of many businesses where things have slogged on for a long time then a younger manager is brought in to take over to finish it. Now one can become a business manager straight from university. There is no need to do the sweat and graft of making one’s way up through the ranks of the company, of learning how other parts work. Do we need to be careful not to expect too much from our young people, not to expect them to finish for us? I am proud to be part of a project with Youthshedz Cymru in which we are encouraging the young people to run with a project exploring their own issues, but as older people we are standing with them not pushing them in front of us. We are not expecting them to do what we would not stand with them to do. So let us be wise and not expect young people to finish the job, not expect them to join something they haven’t been invested in from the beginning.

I reiterate I am not saying Southgate made the wrong decision or that the two young footballers weren’t invested. This is just what I felt was being said in the prophetic. I think, like the newspapers today, that England did an awesome job, that it was a match worth watching. And I will definitely be there expectantly to see how they perform in the World Cup – along with Wales too!

England’s football team, all the players and Gareth Southgate were definitely something to be proud of and very much can claim a victory even in their defeat – and perhaps that is for another blog??