Friday, October 12, 2007

The Dejagah Situation

Dortmund’s German U21 Ashkan Dejagah has caused a stir by asking to be left off the squad for the Germany-Isreal match during this international break. He cited “personal reasons” for the decision.

What Dejagah has done is deplorable and should never be forgiven. Sorry, that may seem harsh, but his action has galvanized the fundamentalists on both sides of a political/religious argument and given more voice to the stupidity of a region that has been in perpetual war since the Sumerians (literally 5000 years for you with no historical acumen).

And I don’t care if he doesn’t want to play against Israel. Fine! It’s easy enough to get yourself out of a game. Feign an injury or call in a family emergency. As long as you don’t use the same excuse three times, like “dick daddy” Steven Ireland, it will be accepted. Dejagah made a statement with his approach to pulling out this game. Whether it’s an acceptable reason, like worrying about family in Iran, or despicable one, like using sport to make some hypocritical political stance, he made this an issue. The issue can now be exploited by fundamentalist of the Islamic, Jewish, Israeli, German and Iranian persuasion; and it most assuredly is with Iranian papers calling him a hero and Jewish groups calling him anti-Semitic and German politicians questioning his commitment to his adopted country.

The queue for political hacks is forming in Dortmund and here’s your chance to vent. I hear Dejagah hates Mexican vegan transvestites. Start a group and take a number because here is your opportunity to market your cause using the most visible soap-box in the world.

Where has his act landed him? He is permanently suspended from the German national team. This is the right move by the DFB, but it, of course, has many saying that they are bending to the will of Jewish concerns (why would they ever do that?). But it’s an act they had to make for many more reasons than one volatile midfielder, who will now just move over to Iran to play internationally.

For whatever reason they made the decision to say goodbye to Dejagah, it was absolutely the correct thing to do. Germany has a large number of U21’s that have attachments to Muslim countries: Sami Khedira, Serdar Taşçı, Mounir Chaftar, Serkan Çalik, Mustafa Kučuković, Barış Özbek and Nejmeddin Daghfous have all been called up recently (some as full internationals) and what message would succumbing to this ridiculousness cause them, especially if they got grouped with Israel in 2010 qualification? And it’s not just Muslims. Germany is growing multi-cultural by leaps and bounds: with callups to parental heritages including Brazilian Kuranyi, Spaniards Gomez and Castro, Poles Klose, Podolski and Polanski, Kosovian Mavraj, English Hunt, American Jones, Nigerians Ede and Book and many Ghanians including Odonker, Boateng and Asamoah. This list shows just how many possibilities for making a political statement exist within the coming years for the DFB. Whether a coward or a political hero, Dejagah lit a fire under German football, and it responded correctly. Will FIFA follow?

It needs to act on this, because if ex-Herta player is allowed to continue his international career in Iran, it just gives Islamic fundamentalists another victory, just like moving Israel over to UEFA did. FIFA needs to send a message that politics and religion do not trump the sport that is more than both. This is the one area that can bring warring factions together as has been seen in the Ivory Coast or Spain. While club football is tribalism and can manifest as cultural identity as with Barcelona or Celtic, national soccer is a moment in time that allows this tribalism to be conquered and bring people together in solidarity, if but for a day. And allowing Islamic fundamentalists to continue to pursue the Israeli question within the context of football by refusing to play them, or now suggesting imprisonment for players, is to call the whole game in to disrepute. The biggest question going into the last round of the past World Cup was would Tunisia and Saudi Arabia boycott games, if grouped with Israel. It is absolutely absurd that this was even a consideration.

Give them a piece of paper and have them sign it. It simply states that the signer will play any other FIFA team if it is necessitated. If they don’t: Goodbye! See how quickly Iran’s mullahs are kicked out when they deny the people their true passion. Venezuela and the United States are at tensions, but that didn’t cause boycotts at the Copa America. Typically, countries from the Western hemisphere use games against the United States as a reason to play: a moment to redress their grievances. There is no end to the permutations, which could stop play: Serbia/Croatia, India/Pakistan, Indonesia/Timor, Ecuador/Peru, Libya/Chad, England/Ireland, Greece/Turkey, U.S./anyone and so forth and so on, based on tensions days or hundred of years old. FIFA seem only willing to take a stand when they know they can’t enforce it, against rich European clubs. Otherwise, they just take their bribes and keep quiet. But they need to act in the best interest of football for once it their miserable existence. Start with Dejagah and move on to the whole of Iran.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, have to correct you. Dejagah wasn´t suspended by the DFB.

If you´re speaking german, here´s the link:

Christopher Murphy said...

Thank you