Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
    Volume 9 Issue 29| July 16, 2010|

 Cover Story
 Special Feature
 Writing the Wrong
 Book Review
 Star Diary

   SWM Home


Costly Lapse of Parents


The octopus is basically a quarter-final kid and that is why it has been right in its forecasts since that stage of the game. It has eight arms, but more importantly they contain rows of suckers, who have grown such confidence over the past month in the bemused aquatic invertebrate that the world football body shall have to be converted to FIFO.

The octopus, given two choices, slumped lazily into the tub that had the Spanish flag pasted on it (you see the octopus cannot read) and the world was duped into imagining that falling over as its prediction that the Euro champs would beat the Netherlands in the final. I called the octopus on one of its cell phones (it has eight), and its explanation was that it went by expert comment it heard on the radio and the telly. What would have happened if the result was in reverse? It gave a hearty laughter that was almost eerie before saying: “Did not the greatest football experts in the world go wrong about Brazil, Argentina, Messie and Kaka? So what would be the big deal if an illiterate animal was wrong? I gambled.” Saying which, it sheepishly hung up. It has also requested its privacy to be respected, so please no more calls.

The emergence of animal instinct is already threatening the Brazil World Cup 2014 with ardent followers of the game drumming support to restrict the games to sea animals. There will be no need of stadia, no need of foreign coaches, no need of fit players, and thank God no need of vuvuzelas! All that the world would need is a silent (blissful!) aquarium for a creature with a big head, a soft oval body, well-developed eyes, and who has never even seen a football, but can predict the result of every match.

Most importantly, there would be no need to set up mega projects that spent fortunes to increase the misfortune of a large section of the host nation, and South Africa was a big bad lesson. The wealth of Brazil is equally unequally divided among its privileged and deprived. The situation is hardly any different anywhere else. The fireworks of any such games' opening or closing could feed a developing country's population for a day, if not more.

The glitter and glitz of world extravaganzas and even regional events make you wonder if the athletic difference among competing countries is less exposed on the field than the disparity among nations, among peoples within a nation.

So gross is the imbalance, and we are not talking here of Germany's four against Argentina's nought, that there are monetarily rich people whose one house has more rooms than some of the largest hotels in the world. There are the well-to-dos whose silver coloured limo is actually made of real silver. I for one believe that the food wasted in the hotels of the world could feed the other half of the world. Therefore, there is something seriously wrong with us.

Since speeches at such games, and the songs, thrive on unity among people, the love among people, the future together of the people, cannot such games make a real and visible contribution to make a difference for the 'people' who sit at what they call home and hear the roar of the crowd from within the sporting cauldron. The sound of a child's empty stomach is louder to a mother as she stares at her empty pot of boiling water.

Let us shed some light on our own Bangladesh, which was not in the finals of 32 teams. It was not in the top 64 or even in the 128. Yet, we (okay some of us) spent a fortune on making flags of other countries that we fancied as great footballing nations. One can feel happy for the indigent flag-sellers; some of them sold as much as twenty-thousand Taka worth of foreign flags in a day, but the cloth used for making the flags flown across the country could have made a big difference for those who shall be begging for alms at the exit ways at the forthcoming Eid prayers. What do we seek from our Lord?

By one estimate, the expenditure of the Bangladeshis this World Cup without even playing a shot will be several crore Takas. The fluttering buntings now hang on uprights as shreds of coloured fabric. While it is true that in general children were more enthusiastic, the blame must lie wholly with the parents who gave in to this madness and weakness of flying the flags of lands afar, and sponsored their children's misguided passion.

The first lessons of patriotism cannot be learnt from a book. They can hardly be acquired at a later stage of life if the foundation is poor. They are derived from the stories of the brave sons and daughters of the soil that children hear while sitting on the lap of their responsible parents. A child's first heroes are its parents.



Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2010