Mari's Adventures

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Sad End to the World Cup Dream

The dream of the Black Stars bringing home the World Cup ended yesterday after an extremely unfair match against Brazil. However, Ghanaians should not feel disgraced, as their team played well, showing great sportsmanship. While calls that were made by referees and officials, or more like calls that were not made on the field were outrageous, they are out of the viewers control. Ghanaians should be extremely proud of the Black Stars for making it to the second round in their first appearance at the World Cup. The support for the team back home was immense as taxi and tro-tro drivers proudly displayed the Ghanaian flag and outbreaks of honking, cheering, music and dancing accompanied every goal. The Black Stars made Ghana, and all of Africa proud.

However, what makes me question about the World Cup and football or soccer in general is the way it is portrayed in the media as a unifying force. Watching commercials during half time of companies such as Coca-Cola and Ghanaian communication companies illustrate an image that everyone in the world can relate to football and thus unify the world as we all "speak soccer." But does it really? From my experience in Ghana certain matches brought out the dark history of Africa and centuries of hatred.

There were many tense matches, especially those between old colonial masters and the colonized, such as the game between Angola vs Portugal and Togo vs France. But the most intense match of all was the one between Argentina vs Cote d'Ivorie. Although Argentina is not the colonial master of Cote d'Ivoire, this game was indicative of how some Ghanaians, not all, feel and view their relationship between blacks and whites. During the match I heard comments such as "see, the whites have always cheated the Africans" when the referee did not call a faul or "the whites have taken everything from the Africans, so why can't they just give us the Cup?"

This game made me realize that centuries of horrific treatment of the Africans by westerners through the slave trade and colonization is still deeply rooted and ingrained in their minds. The people making these comments have obviously not experienced the slave trade and they were all too young to live through the decades of colonization, but they all have this negative attitude towards their history, which I don't blame them for having.

So then how can the African continent move forward and develop while they are being so consumed by their terrible past? They need to make a conscious effort to get out of this mind set that they are inferior to the whites. I am not denying the fact that the history of Africa was not horrible. It is an extremely terrible thing when their own people were selling each other to slave traders and being shipped off to the new world and be exploited for the development of a white society. They years of colonization also left a deep wound in the minds of Africans as they developed a inferiority and dependent complex on its colonizers. However, it is necessary for Ghanaians, and Africans to free themselves from this mental slavery in order to move forward.

But this is easier said then done. How does a person, nation or the whole continent erase the horrific events that occurred in the past? There is no delete or reset button that they can press to clear their minds. These attitudes and thoughts have been passed down from generation to generation and ingrained in their society. Nonetheless, using their past as an excuse for their lack of development is no longer acceptable. Although what happened in the past is terrible, they must move on for their own sake and for the sake of their children. The question that remains is how.

41 Comments:

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Interesting commentary on how the World Cup would bring out the old colonial struggles and mentalities in Ghanians.

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10:39 AM  
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6:07 AM  

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