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Opinions of Friday, 12 December 2014

Columnist: Adorsu-Djentuh, Franklin Yayra

Anti-Semitism, Is the Ghanaian Football Fan Aware?

The Ghana football association has over the years made strident efforts to appoint a top notch manager for the black stars. This took their hunt for that messianic coach to every part of the world. A lot of foreign nationals have had a stint with the black stars, including our own domestic managers over the years. The nationality, tribe or ethnic background never played a major role in who is appointed to manage the black stars. Though there have been questions raised in recent time about the GFA’s craze and excessive appetite for Serbia coaches, but they proved to be the most successful too. The Germans, no doubt dominated the list of nationals, who handled the black stars in the past, but that was purely based on their tactics. Ghanaian football fans do not care about the nationality of who manages the black stars except they produce the results that will bring laurels to the nation. Football is one area that is devoid of politics, religion, nationalism, tribe, ethnic and racial sentiments. Football has proved to be the unifier where there are divisions among nations and the world as a whole. But there are some strong sentiments football is yet to deal with. Racial taunt and abuse is still rife in football with FIFA still struggling to keep such occurrences at bay. It is the same way football could not deal with some tribal and religious controversy that has dogged international politics and the world as well.
I believe Ghana is currently in a sensitive situation when it comes to racial, tribal and religious sensitivity in our national football arena. Ghana for the first time since attaining independence has appointed an Israeli coach and for that matter a Jewish coach. Jews have been a subject of global controversy and issues concerning the Jewish race have been one that can easily spark controversy. Some from religious perspective considers the Jewish people as special race of God whiles others dispute that, and brand them as evil. The age old hostilities between the Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East have spiral into the major division among nations. This, the united Nations is struggling to deal with. Hatred against the Jewish race is a major topic that is known as ANTI-SEMITISM.
There are major ANTI-SEMITIC lessons the Ghanaian football fan has to learn in other not to get into trouble with the world in regard to our new Jewish coach. We must not take this as any ordinary situation; thought some may disagree but if we deal with Avram Grant with a careless abandon in our speech, the world will come at us with ANTI-SEMETIC charge. Our own compatriot naturalise Italian MARIO BALOTELLI made an innocuous joke about Jews on twitter and got himself into trouble with the English FA and international media.
ANTI-SEMITSM is prejudice against, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews as a national, ethnic, religious or racial group. It is a form of racism mainly against the Jewish people for their ethno-religious background. ANTI-SEMITISM can be express in various ways from violent mob attack, persecution, extermination, verbal abuse, indecent gestures to jokes, and parody of Jewish symbols. Sometimes they may be innocuous with no malice intended but for the sensitive clout surrounding the Jewish people, your actions may be translated as ANTI-SEMITIC. Records have shown that the Jewish people have been one of the most persecuted tribes in the history of the world. The recent which has come to define the basis for the world to stand up in solidarity with Israel against ANTI-SEMITISM is the HOLOCUST that saw over six million Jews gassed to death in concentration camps across Eastern Europe by the Nazi regime headed by Adolf Hitler. Though the facts and figures regarding the HOLOCUST is not uncontroversial but the world have come to a point where such atrocities cannot be tolerated anymore.
In light of this and more specific target on Jews for their role in ISRAELI-PALISTINIAN war by their Arab opponents, the world thinks it is fair to criticize Israel for their handling of the situations in the middle east but anything beyond a fair criticism which may provoke attack on Jews should be considered ANTI-SEMITISM and should not be countenance. With the current Jewish expulsion from Arab and Muslim countries, Ghana also risk losing their privilege of ever playing international friendlies with their friends of Arab and Muslim nations. But the GFA have assuaged our fears regarding this, thought without any clear plans to prove otherwise. We all bore witness to the reaction of the Arab world when John Pentsil decided to celebrate a Ghanaian victory at the world cup with an Israeli flag.
The Ghanaian football fan must not lose sight these international and global phenomenons that can bring unfavorable attention to Ghana. This can happen if we decide to hit below the belt in our statement towards our new coach. The Jews are not above reproach and can be criticize if they go wrong, but can we differentiate what constitute a fair criticism and ANTI-SEMITISM? The FA and the sports media must begin to provoke discussions on the topics of ANTI-SEMITISM to bring about awareness on the topic among football fans. As usual, we will criticize, insult and despise Avram Grant if he dare fail us. We will do same to him as we did to other nationals but can we keep it at the level without casting innuendos insinuative of ANTI-SEMITISM? Can we divorce technical issues from ethno-religious issues? Let us be careful not to delve into unchartered waters. Remember MOSSAD is coming with him and the world is watching!

Franklin Yayra Adorsu-Djentuh