The 2006 Football World Cup offers a timely opportunity to consider the wider social and political implications of sport in general and football in particular, with particular reference to the racial dimension to sporting competition. Now of course, Dr Frances Cress-Welsing in her much acclaimed book, ‘The Isis Papers’ (1991), provided an in-depth psychological analysis of the racial/sexual symbolism of a variety of sports. Similarly, Abdullah Nazir Uhuru in his excellent book ‘Killing “Me” $oftly’ (2005), provides an insightful analysis of football, drawing upon Cress-Welsing’s work. The aim of this essay is to build upon these works and also to assist Afrikans to understand that, life is politics and everything in life is political, therefore sport has a politicised and racialised dimension to it, just like all other forms of people activity.
We are at War
If viewed from the narrow perspective promulgated by ‘the West’, war involves military conflict between nations. However a more holistic definition of war would be:
“any sustained aggressive action by one identifiable group, be it national, racial, ethnic, religious, socio-economic etc. against another similarly identifiable group where the aim is to cause significant harm – be it physical, psychological, emotional or spiritual – to the other group over a sustained period of time.” (Grant 2006)
According to this definition; Caucasians have been waging a racial war against Afrikans for over three thousand years (and we should not forget their cousins the Arabs). This war manifests itself in different ways, for example the physical war is not just confined to overt physical violence but also includes acts designed to directly attack the physical health of Afrikans e.g. the use of medicines banned from use in ‘the West’ in Afrika, the whole HIV/AIDS scenario and the deliberate and concerted attempts to reduce Afrikan fertility worldwide, of which it forms a part, being examples of European aggression.
One of the most important tactics in war is what is described as ‘Psych Ops’ or Psychological Operations. It has been well established that propaganda is crucial in warfare, even during overt military conflict, and the creation and dissemination of propaganda is a crucial component of psychological operations. The purpose of psychological operations is to weaken or destroy the enemy’s will to fight and resist, or crucially – particularly with respect to Afrikans – convince the enemy that in fact there is no war taking place and that his/her goals and aspirations coincide with and are in harmony with that of the propagandist.
Sport as War
Sport is used as an expression of national pride and prowess on an ongoing basis, but particularly at times of collective national anxiety. In this context team sports become more crucial than individual sports from a nationalistic perspective, particularly when the team is representing the nation as opposed to a club. From a racial perspective; individual sporting encounters can have great psychological significance, particularly when they take place in highly combative sports e.g. boxing.
During the so-called ‘Cold War’ the Olympic medal table was a source of fierce competition between the US and the Soviet Union (White Russian Empire) and the GDR (German Democratic Republic). This desperate desire to top the medal table was the catalyst for the proliferation of the use of performance enhancing drugs by both the US (using a ‘free market’ capitalist methodology) and the Eastern bloc nations (using a state controlled methodology).