Saturday, July 28, 2007

Perspective: 'This is a very modest thing we can give to our people'

Iraqi soccer players are in a no-win situation like no other. They will strive to beat Saudi Arabia for the Asian Cup in Jakarta on Sunday evening. And should they win, it will release another bout of mass revelry back home and possibly more deaths on the streets of Baghdad, Basra and elsewhere.

We might try, but surely not come close, to putting ourselves in the shoes of the Iraqi team heroes of the past week, among them the goalkeeper, Noor Sabri Abbas, and midfielder Hawar Mulla Mohammad.

"We are struggling inside Iraq, and we have to struggle on the field," news agencies quoted Noor as saying after the semifinal victory on Wednesday night. "This is a very modest thing we can give to our people."

He paused, paled, and added: "Four days before we came to start this tournament, my wife's brother died. My teammate Hawar Mohammad lost his stepmother."

He meant lost to war.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune