Monday, 28 June 2010

Racism and the World Cup

I believe that my loyalty to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as reported in the four gospels of the Christian tradition is prior to other loyalties. Indeed it is superior to them.

Thus my immediate loyalties are

1. To the wonderful Nation of my birth, the United Kingdom.
2. To the fabulous Nation of my citizenship, the United States of America.
3. To the amorphous and international peoples known as the Christian Church.

I love all three and I am grateful for them. But when “push comes to shove”, my sense of loyalty to Christian brothers and sisters of many nations (#3) trumps my loyalty to the nations of my birth and citizenship. This is why I believe that nationalism and racial pride are so silly and un-productive.

My Dad and Mum taught me some of this.

Dad worked in the building trade as a skilled plumber. There he encountered many unskilled Irish labourers. He thought that they were great. So Dad could not countenance any anti-Irish attitudes or jokes. He knew that people were more important than attitudes.

Mum was gracious. Sometime in the early 1970’s I was driving on the M5 in the U.K., from Birmingham to Bristol. I stopped to pick up two young men who were hitch-hiking (it was safe to do so “back then”). They were students from Germany - maybe in their late teens. I stopped at a motorway service area and called Mum. “Could” I asked, “these men camp out in our home for one night”. Mum agreed.

The “hitchers” slept on the floor in our downstairs “middle room”. Next morning my good Mum cooked them a hearty breakfast, after which I drove them into rural Somerset so that they could resume their hitch-hiking.

When I arrived back home my Mum had some words for me. She said “I never thought that I’d be able to listen to German voices after the War. But I realised that those two young men had not been even born during the War. And I am glad that you brought them to our home”.

Oh thank you Mum for your grace. It far surpasses the attitudes of those who think that an England v Germany football game in the 2010 World Cup has anything to do with WWII and the horrors of the Nazi regime.

That regime was ghastly. It ended 65 years ago.

The 2010 Germany is a fine and honourable Nation.

That the German team beat England has nothing to do with racial superiority. It has everything to do with football!

Grow up my beloved English folks!  Please learn from my Mum and Dad!

1 comment:

  1. Most "Brits" of my generation, baby boomers, show no animosity to the German race because of the war. It truly is now just about football, & most hold a grudging respect for the German set-up. It's just wounded pride right now. This to will pass.