Thursday, 24 June 2010

World Cup - inflamatory headlines should get a red card

Here we go again, Germany stands in England’s way in a major international soccer competition. Ahead of Sunday’s World Cup ‘sudden death’ tie, there will be plenty of opportunity for the British press to dust down its old bellicose clich├ęs. ‘War’ and ‘battle’ are headline writers staples as are tortuous puns but I would be surprised – and disappointed – if there were any serious name-calling.
We should have moved on from the days of 1966 when we beat Germany to win the World Cup and the next day T-shirts read “2 Worlds Wars and 1 World Cup”.
It is now several generations since the end of the war in 1945. Where prejudice surfaces in our newspapers it is more likely to be Islamophobic than anti-German. Indeed the French and perhaps the Poles are more likely to be targets.
Today’s Germans may fail to understand why Brits cannot consign the horrors to history. But it can never be a case of “moving on”. The evil of the Third Reich should never be forgotten and it remains a matter of national pride how Britain resisted the Nazi threat.
But I believe there is no serious antagonism towards Germany. This has been so for decades - ever since it was apparent that Germany accepted its war guilt; something to the outsider, at least, that doesn’t seem to go very deep with the Japanese. But here too it would be wrong to shackle a country with the sins of its grandfathers for all time.
Any sports journalist who drew parallels with the World Cup and world war would, apart from showing a lack of ability, be insulting the war dead from every country.

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What do you think? GC