2006 was a great year for biology. The last sequence of the Human Genome was also published.
But that was the year, my friend, Tamer, referred to as Timo, pulled me to watch the African Nations Cup in a sheesha place filled with expectant Egyptians. The tournament was taking place in Egypt and the home crowd was buzzing. You could hear it from the television.
The Egyptians won. I was part of a group of cars that took over one of the main streets in Dubai. Involuntarily. Me, speaking sparse Arabic was caught in a motorcade filled with Egyptian flags. Timo, had pulled the window down and was sitting on the door, his legs dangling inside, his torso outside, singing, talking and shouting out to anyone passing by. The paint from his face had somehow slipped on to his hand and that had managed to get to the upholstery of my car. His Al-Ahly scarf was on my dashboard, and still is with me to this day.
The Egyptians are crazy about football. You would know that when you saw the stadiums of local league matches full and reaching a feverish atmosphere. Timo though from Alexandria supported Al-Ahly and the Al-Ahly-Zamalek rivalry could match any derby in the world if it got enough media attention.
On New Years Eve, the Ahly-Mahala match was abandoned. To this day I don’t know why. A self-goal was awarded, bringing Ahly back to level terms and that was that. The ordeal went on for a few hours as the cameras focused on people and the actions sans a ball.
I was thinking of writing this when the tragedy struck. Seventy-four people died. It could have been stopped. The pointed fingers will make a grand merry go round.
Somebody will have to take responisbility. Because lives have been lost. Blatter can take an early ride to hell. Still playing dirty politics asking for the elected Board to be re-instated. Na. They didn’t do their jobs well. You elect a new one. Seventy-four perished. And people are to blame.
Rhetoric will flow that it’s just a game. And yes I agree it’s just a game. But sometimes it’s a source of elation, of belonging, and maybe something so part of your life, that it becomes so important. And through proper policing it could have been stopped. The abandoned New Year game was a non-lethal preview.
The tragedy will have to be accounted for. The souls will have to rest in peace.
And Blatter ‘the imbecile’, can you stay out of this please?