It’s meant to be the beautiful game – let’s try to keep it that way

I find it very hard to feel sympathetic for footballers.  But the image of A.C. Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng rifling the ball into the stands, ripping his shirt off, and storming off the pitch (the rest of his teammates in tow) in his club’s match against Pro Patria was certainly a poignant one.  “I don’t care what game it is,” Boateng said defiantly, “a friendly, Italian league or Champions’ League match – I would walk off again.” So what on earth had got up his nose?  Along with three other black players on the Milan team, Boateng had been subjected to racist chants from a section of opposition supporters.  His decision to put an end to the abuse by putting an end to the match was praised by other players across the globe, but was it justified? Clarence Seedorf doesn’t think so.  The well-respected Dutch midfielder seemed to characterise Boateng’s response …

On the right to bear arms

It’s at times like this when I can feel every inch of the 3,675 miles that separates London from Washington DC.  Oakland, Aurora, Oak Creek, New York City, Minneapolis, Brookfield, Newtown – and that’s just 2012’s mass shootings.  I could fill this entire article with the names of the wounded and the dead.  It’s almost too much to take in.  Never has the American anti-gun lobby had more ammunition.  And yet, as it stands, I’m more inclined to despair for it than to hope. What took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School was beyond nauseating, beyond horrific.  Another mass murder, another gun-wielding maniac, another tragedy.  The day itself may not have been about politics, but its aftermath should be.  And when Newtown is finally left, out of sight of the cameras and the speculators, to pick up the pieces, I wonder what – if anything at all – will have …

The war that never ends

“What is the fundamental question one must ask of the world? I would think and posit many things, but the answer was always the same: Why is the child crying?”      —Alice Walker (Possessing the Secret of Joy)   His name was Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa.  He was Palestinian; he was Gazan; he was human.  He was the first of 30 children killed by Israeli attacks on Gaza in the space of just 11 days last month.  He – like all the others – stood no chance: a 13 year-old boy with weapons no more deadly than the football he was playing with, shot in the stomach.  Such ‘surgical precision,’ such care! It’s only a month after these events that I feel able to write about them with any sort of cogency.  Even now, I only have questions: Who are the terrorists here?  Which is the ‘rogue nation’?  Where …