Look­ing Ger­man, Talk­ing Turk­ish?

Society - - PRIVILEGED INFORMATION -

Foot­ball is a beau­ti­ful game, but it of­ten shows us the ugly side of hu­man ex­is­tence. Ask Ger­man foot­baller Me­sut Ozil. The ‘As­sist King’ as he is fondly called, has fallen prey to racial abuse by the Ger­man Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion (DFB) and the lo­cal me­dia. So strong has been the aver­sion against the foot­baller that he has been forced to re­tire from in­ter­na­tional foot­ball. Ozil, who is a third-gen­er­a­tion Turk­ish-Ger­man, was born in the Gelsenkirchen city of Ger­many. The foot­baller was pho­tographed with Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan at a Lon­don event in May. Af­ter Ger­many’s dra­matic col­lapse and sub­se­quent exit from the re­cently con­cluded FIFA World Cup held in Rus­sia, the Ger­man Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion and lo­cal me­dia crit­i­cised Ozil. Player bash­ing is nor­mal af­ter such a shock­ing per­for­mance by a team which raises high ex­pec­ta­tions. But what Ozil faced was out­landish and bizarre. His crit­ics said that the foot­baller was merely look­ing Ger­man but was talk­ing Turk­ish. Ozil re­ceived hate mails and threats and was be­ing blamed for Ger­many’s dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance at the World Cup. The foot­baller hurt­fully re­sponded on Twit­ter to all the ha­tred to­wards him by say­ing, “I am Ger­man when we win, but I am an im­mi­grant when we lose.” He also tweeted that due to the re­cent events of racism and dis­re­spect, he has de­cided to quit play­ing for Ger­many at the in­ter­na­tional level. The Ozil in­ci­dent is not a one-off in­ci­dent in foot­ball. In the past, play­ers like Mario Balotelli, Sa­muel Eto, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Marco Zoro and Dani Alves too have been re­minded of their ori­gins and mocked for their skin colour. It is a per­plex­ing sce­nario re­ally. The same foot­ballers who are treated like Gods for one mo­ment and are con­sid­ered noth­ing in the other. The sad ques­tion hangs in the air: for how long will the hu­man race re­main tan­gled in this deadly web of racism?

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