With the same shared history of tests behind them and after weeks of build-up, finally the big day came. Close-up cameras caught the players’ emotions as national anthems were played, each including indigenous-language stanzas honouring their country’s cultural diversity. Then, with national flags flying and patriotic fans roaring their support, after the Haka – our affirmation of our multicultural “oneness”, the referee’s whistle started the game.
Captured either at home or any of the many public venues our anguished reactions to the game’s swinging fortunes and final heart-breaking conclusion will play on our TV scenes for days. And all of it will be repeated in our newspapers, as reporters and photographers, reinforced by the off-the-couch fans, rake over the ashes.
At clubs and pubs and at work every aspect of the test will be tested. The referee’s rulings will be debated along with that of the part played by his TMO colleagues trawling for infringements. But after a while, true to the tenets of the principles we espouse, we’ll say it was a game played in a good spirit, fairly refereed, and that the winner won.
But alongside the world cup’s weeks’ long build up, another game has been taking place. That’s the game played when, in clear contradiction of all the high-minded principles and cultural diversity we cheered at the world cup, we support Zionism’s total rejection of those principles when it comes to Palestinians.
As we sing our national anthem, proclaim our patriotism and our support for a “rules-based world order”, in which freedom and the rights of all to live a full and happy life are cornerstones, yet we barrack for Zionists committing genocide to stop Palestinians ever scoring those points.
In contradiction of our “declared shared values” we support Zionism’s denial of them to Palestinians. Pinned at the bottom of a collapsed maul of world cup distraction, news of the many thousands, including many Jews, who in recent days have filled our city and town centres protesting the evils of Zionism, is kept from us.
Not one of our reporters will debate the rules being broken in Zionism’s genocidal game. And not one of them will question our politicians, the supposed TMOs of our humanity, turning a blind eye to the savagery they see before them on their screens. There will be no trawling for incidents of Zionism’s foul play in Gaza, no red cards, no yellow cards and no certainly no “players” sent from the field, unless they are dead Palestinian men women and children.
Truly a game of two halves in which Zionism, backed by an endless “bomb squad” of the heaviest most lethal replacements, is allowed to break every rule while Palestinians are denied head injury assessments, the blood bin, medical attention or even a waterboy. Unless we test our humanity and instead continue paying lip-service to our principles, the future for Palestinians is All Black.
But then, as part of its bought-and-paid-for pro-Zionism game, the media have shifted the goalposts and blown the whistle on such thoughts ever chalking the field.