Here in Toronto, the car flags have begun to appear and the shop windows are getting that festive look. It's going on all around the world, with just a little over a week to go till it all begins. But it's not always one of those happy stories. Iraq-based 'Girl Blog' Riverbend tells a tale of World Cup flag-waving from Baghdad:
It’s fascinating to watch the world beyond Iraq prepare for the World Cup. I get pictures by email of people hanging flags and banners, in support of this team or that one. Oh we have flags and banners too- the hole-ridden black banners all over Baghdad, announcing deaths and wakes. The flags are all of one color, usually- black, green, red, or yellow- representing a certain religious party or political group.
G.’s cousin, who has lived in Canada for nearly 15 years, recently sent G. a large, colorful Brazilian flag- perfect for hanging on a shop window. He told us how he was planning to hang it right in the center and paint under it in big bold letters “VIVA BRASILIA!!”. E. looked dubious as G. excitedly described how he’d be changing the colors of the display- green and yellow to match the flag.
It was up for nearly two whole days before the problems began. The first hint of a problem came through G.’s neighbor. He stopped by the shop and told G. that a black-turbaned young cleric had been walking past the shop window, when the flag attracted his attention. According to the neighbor Abu Rossul, the young cleric stopped, gazed at the flag, took note of the shops name and location and went on his way. G. shrugged it off with the words, “Well maybe he’s a fan of Brazil too…” Abu Rossul wasn’t so sure, “He looked more like the ‘Viva Sadr!’ type to me…”.
From there, the flag and the footy give way to the fatwa, and no untoward window displays allowed in Sadr City. For a month at the World Cup, it's a chance to find common ground -- but not everywhere. Thanks to Peter M. for the link.
2 Italy. Gilardino sure can cycle.
4 Ghana. Handy 4-1 win over Jamaica a big boost.