(Every time for Bangladesh)
There are some very valid reasons why Brazil and Argentina, the most hyped up teams in the Fifa WC (read 'World Cup'), lost their respective ¼ final matches on successive nights; the first narrowly but exposing their rather nasty side, and the latter by a harrowing margin that would make the English and the Aussies feel at par with Diego. As for me, I do not only pity the football pundits who have their bread with the butter of deceit, but over the past three weeks I have grown to abhor them for their ancestral nepotism (reference Kaka-babu) and their fetish for the dirty (reference Messi).
The reasons for the burial of the media-sponsored greats are actually rather simple: the temperature was not congenial, the group meetings failed to bring out the best in planning, the arguments on the margin they would inflict on lesser footballers were many, the tactics they would have to adopt to save the opposition from total humiliation was too magnanimous, the statements to be uttered at press conferences to increase bitterness were laced with snake-spit, the modus operandi of using controlled physical assault to maim was too soft, the media lent their all-out support... and I am here referring to the pathetic supporters of the two teams in shudoor Bangladesh.
While one may not be absolutely wrong in assuming that Carlos Tevez or Luis Fabiano have not heard about Bangladesh where more people have been injured in Brazil-Argentina clashes this year alone than the total number of players hurt in all the world cup matches since 1930. There were tears flowing in front of giant screens and this was not in Muquem in Brazil, or in Argentina's Moctezuma, but in our own backyard Malibagh and Motijheel.
When was the last time we cried after a defeat at world level in cricket? Our boys once again produced the right onions at Sussex last week, but thanks to continuity in lack of their commitment we have become immune to such anguish and pain.
After the defeat of Bragentina some male fans had their heads wrapped in shame (shame! shame!) with the flags of countries to which getting a mere transit visa would be harder than the so-called best footballer in the world found in scoring.
There is one solace in this four-yearly madness of brokering one's national pride, and that is that this time around perhaps out of sheer guilt a little <>Jatiya Pataka<> was flown atop the mast that had either a Brazilian or an Argentine flag twenty times or more larger.
Some connoisseurs of the game will argue that all these foreign flag hoisting is for the love of the most popular game in the world. In that case we must be a band of pretty special football aficionados, for nowhere in the world the self-respecting people of a country would raise the flag of another sky high just because they have some soccer sorcerers. A patriot's hands should tremble before doing that. Mine does, in my eagerness to bring the other flags down.
I cannot imagine an Italian hoisting a Bangladesh flag just because he loves Sakib's splendour or Mushfiqur Rahim's mettle. The above comparison is because our cricket is to Italy what their football is to us. Both are in the world class of top ten. Nor can I picture some Icelandic lady painting on her cheek a red spot on a green background just because she loves the way we keep on losing before we bring out the brave heart to shock and surprise the world with a thumping victory against the likes of Ricky Ponting.
A flag is a symbol of a nation, the pride a nation holds for the values it treasures, the sacrifice of the martyrs, the dedication of the freedom fighters, the loyalty of its citizens... Your national flag belongs to you. The flag of another country is to be respected, not to be flown atop your building.
You admire the artistry of the sportsmen and women of another country. You aspire to reach similar or greater heights. You definitely do not break down if they lose. You weep for your nation's loss in sport. You try to understand why another country lost, and you learn from their mistakes. The case of Ghana's penalty kick hitting the Uruguayan crossbar in the 120th minute should be a lesson for our youngsters on how to be more careful. You do not grieve over another country's failure in a sporting event. You feel sorry because they could have done better, and you take home some important lessons.
The government's incoming law on maintaining the sanctity and dignity of the national flag is a welcome sign in the right direction.
They say that if you are very angry you should shut up, and that is exactly what I shall do.
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