Football, Jews and Selective Xenophobia


So, Avram Grant and Chelsea shouldn’t set foot in Malaysia? Protest, protest, protest. I think the pro test by a certain number of NGOs is kinda silly, but from my past experience with the “Yahudi” questions, I’m not surprised.

From my childhood I have been fed the diet of Jew-hate and suspicion. Not in my house. I doubt my parents know much about Jews, Judaism, Zionism and Israel.

No. It happened in school. Not during the Kelas Agama that I stayed in despite that fact that as a Non-Muslim, I could choose not to. The ustaz told us some intriguing stories of the Crusades, Perang Badar and Perang Uhud, you see so I had to stay.

No…this happened among my Muslim friends, where distrust and hate of Jews are so indoctrinated that it became automatic response. In fact, being Jew as I understood it then, was to be wicked, manipulative and not to be trusted at all. A friend who chides another for being nasty, greedy, manipulative says, “Kau ni Yahudi betul la..”

When I grew up, I heard similar refrain from Christians who say “Jews deserved the Holocaust because they turned away from God”. Oh, I heard this from so-called staunch Christians.

Hmm…an entire race demonised since before Biblical times?

Statements like these made me interested enough to go read the Bible, the Koran and about Jews, Judaism, Zionism. Still haven’t finished…so there are little but private conclusions that I arrived at.

Now, in the interest of humanity and the furtherance of sports, I think those Chelsea players and coach should be allowed in Malaysia. We should not stoop to the level of the American authorities post-911 for whom every Arab-looking face and every Muslim-sounding name is suspect.

For those who protest that Jews and Israelis shouldn’t come here because our government does not have diplomatic relations with them, I think they should think before they protest. Remember that people you don’t have formal diplomatic ties with are not necessarily your enemies.

In 1996, during the Japanese Embassy hostage crisis, I heard that our diplomats had to use some back channel help from Cuba to free Malaysians stuck in the embassy.

Soon after, Malaysia started having diplomatic relations with Cuba and there was even an exhibition of Cuban history and culture, introducing Malaysians to the country we knew before only because of their cigars and to bookworms like me, Fidel Castro, Ernesto (Che) Guevara, Bay of Pigs, the Missile Crisis etc. Bottomline…we owed them.

I think strongly of the whole Palestinian debacle, but there is so much more to the issue that what Malaysians and indeed Muslims around the world, think.

The Allies facilitated the birth of the Israeli state to salve their conscience for keeping quiet when millions of jews were slaughtered by Hitler. But they did it without a thought to what the local Arabs in Palestine might think of this sudden carving up of their land, to share with their Biblical enemy.

The conflict only worsened after Britain’s departure. The expansionary overtures of the Israelis, the actions of Menachem Begin and Irgun, as well as Fatah and later Hamas, have all contributed to it. Yes people, I read of Sabra, and the Deir Yassin Massacre too.

The Americans who entered the fray only made it murkier since. But where have CIA not sunk their dirty fingers eh?

My point is, there are no clean hands there. Those who suffered are ordinary citizens of both nations. Osama Bin Laden and A Qaeda may have seemed like the avenging angel to the Muslim world, but think of his second-in command Ayman Al Zawahiri’s latest statements people. Read the dialogue here.

So those of you who want to protest a football team’s visit to Malaysia, well, stop and think of what exactly you are protesting for. When you look deeply enough…you will realise how silly this is.

If you are really against injustice, why isn’t there a whimper when the murderers in Yangon started mowing monks down with bullets? In fact, many Malaysians still buy stuff from Myanmar and do business with them.

I have some answers, but then it will not sit comfortably on your conscience.

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4 thoughts on “Football, Jews and Selective Xenophobia

  1. Hey Sis… You Jewess or what? I think you stayed back in one too many kelas agama laa… 🙂

    I think some distinction must be made here. A lot of people confuse Jews and Zionism. Hey, nothing wrong being a Jew. Some of the Moslem’s hit parade of prophets, the next greatest, apart from Mohamed (pbuh),was Moses (a.s.)…

    So tak aper laa… tak ada salahnya. Shouldn’t have been an issue. No excuse for anyone to get hot and bothered under the collar. If not that Jewish cemetery in Penang, camner?

  2. Aiyo..that day was Non Conformist. Now I’m a Jewess. Stop name calling me la Mat Salo. Kesian I. I’m just a cyber version of a loudmouth suffering from blogorhea! Hah! How’s that? I’ve created a new word!

    On a more serious note, remember that I went to school in a fare more parochial era and surroundings than you did brother.

    I do understand the difference between Jews and Zionists. I bought a bloody tome to read to understand it.

    My point is, lots of people in Malaysia suffer from the knee-jerk syndrom as wellas the herd mentality.

    I’m quite aware that Moses, and indeed Jesus (Nabi Isa) were Jews.

    I just wish my fellow Malaysians would examine things more critically.

    This is what happens when your education system is not one that encourages you to think and question. Semua jadi lembu.

  3. After 9/11, even the bhai-s got shot for wearing the turban. That goes to show how much Americans know about anything non american.

    Yawn…that’s my response towards the act of classifying humans species based on gender, religion, worse of all – race……double yawn…

    It’s a bit sad when an entity is not seen as what he really is, rather, where he comes from etc…If anyone for a second think that any specific worshiper of any religion are going to heaven and the rest are going to hell, get help, sil vous plait…

    I do not decipher this tendencies to politicize sports. At least leave sports for the reason they’re there…esthatic value (or however the hell you spell estatic…).

  4. Aku malu tangok player kita yg kerjanya nak tukar jersey bila habih game. Terlari2 kejor pemain Chelsea/England/MU nak mintak baju.

    Camnilah FAM, ambik national team lawan team2 mcm Geylang FC, team dari Korea, Oman, Iran dah cukup dah. Confirm dgn team2 ni pun dah belajar byk dah.

    Lawan MU,Chelsea ni gimik je. Takkan dpt bantu bolasepak kita long term. Cuma dptkan publisiti murahan je.

    Kita masih jadi hamba diorang – utk luaskan kekuasaan diorang dlm dunia bola.

    Tak payah hantar player muda ke Chelsea – hantar ke kelab divisyen 2/3 Korea sudah. Then, biar diorang cari jalan hidup sendiri sambil main bola kat sana. Barulah kita bole naik.

    Ini ajar player jadi malas dan bodoh.

    Susah … susah …

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