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On World Cup nationalism


Two weekends ago, the Raval-based group 'Ojos de Brujo' played at an avowedly multicultural festival organised by Izquierda Unida in a village near Madrid. At the start of the concert, they mentioned they were from Barcelona, and were immediately booed. To avoid further confrontation with the audience, they eliminated further references to Barcelona from their lyrics; hence 'las Ramblas' became 'la calle' and so on.
(There is a certain irony to this, given that 'Ojos de Brujo' have spent years telling us all that they are citizens of the world who belong to no nation, least of all Catalonia).
This event took place as the World Cup continued to rage in Germany. I know there are people who watch the matches out of pure love of football, but it seems to me blindingly obvious that under the surface of the World Cup lies little more than an unashamed celebration of the most blatant nationalism we are ever likely to see this side of a war. All those people desperately screaming out the names of the nation states they happen to have been born in, depresses the hell out of me.
Not least because so many of the same people – and I'm sure we could include much of the audience that booed 'Ojos de Brujo' - are capable of slagging off the Catalans on the grounds that the latter are 'nationalists'. This is nothing more, say I, than an unusually stupid form of hypocrisy.
Which is not to say that the Catalans, like everyone else, aren't prone to a little bit of soccer-inspired nationalism themselves, despite not being allowed to have their own squad: on June 27th, each time France scored a goal against Spain, countless celebratory rockets exploded in the Catalan sky.

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -