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October 2016
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A money machine that uses the nationalistic feelings of people to spend more and more money

By Walter Broeckx

I know I can sometimes be a dreamer. I sometimes dream of all people living together in harmony. Where all people can live in peace. Not afraid of being put in prison or being killed for having another but “wrong” religion or for having no religion at all. As John Lennon used to sing: “you can say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”.

Now to get that far worldwide is something that looks impossible in the very near future. But when I only look at Europe you could have a bit more hope for this to happen. After all we have had no war between different countries since the end of the WWII. And that is some 71 years ago now. Yes we had a few civil wars with countries imploding or exploding as you could also say with some terrible events leading to too many civilians killed or wounded.

But since the civil war in the former republic of Yugoslavia has ended we live in Europe in a very peaceful environment. When I talk or meet people from another European country I consider them to be my brothers. My European brothers. It doesn’t really matter if you have the Belgian nationality on your passport or any other European nationality: I like you or dislike you as much as I would like my friendly neighbour or dislike the other neighbour that makes my life to a hell.  (Although in fact I only have friendly neighbours in reality!)

So from Iceland to Greece, from Russia to Portugal: I like you all if you are a good human being.

As a result I don’t need any flag waving in particular. I respect everyone’s flag and anthem but I can and could easily live without it. Because I think that all that flag waving and nationalism has caused too many people to die for in the past. So much nationalism has a negative link with me as it always reminds me of dark times where countries were fighting each other at the expense of people like you and me.

Civilians who just wanted to live, work, eat, drink, bring up their children in a decent way… but when the big lords of war came along they all got dragged in to it and were the worst victims. Not the big guys on the top who started the war or who kept it going suffered most. No the ordinary people who had to give away their sons to become cannon fodder for the glory of the general who ordered them to be slaughtered by the dozens, hundreds, thousands… millions.

I have mentioned it before that my wife is from Ypres. A town that became world famous for all the wrong reasons. “Yperiet” as mustard gas is also known because it first was employed in Yper. And then all the thousands of unburied soldiers that are remembered in the Menin gate.

I know many see it as a great memorial for the British Empire. But at the end of the day for me there shouldn’t have been a memorial at all. But because the big crowned heads and presidents of European countries wanted to show off their self-importance they started a war. Wars are always political. And on my dislike list, politicians are very close to the top.

When I go to the Menin Gate and hear the last post I can’t help it but the only thing I hear is mothers crying over their children that were taken away from them far too soon. Young man that were made believe they were going to fight for their country and volunteered to get massacred. Sorry to say it but they were just used for the politicians to show off their importance, they were used by generals to get more medals on their chest.

But that is the past. I thought we had learned a bit from it. Well that is the lesson I have learned from it. To distrust politicians and not follow them when they want to go to war. They sit safe in their bunkers; we the ordinary people will suffer the killing and get wounded.

But this is 2016. One would think and hope that after 71 years of peace in Europe we might be able to do things together and do it in a peaceful way.

Alas…. Alas…. Alas… even in 2016 too many people are filled with a dislike for other people. Why would I feel the need to punch someone against his head because he is born in Italy? Or Germany? Or France? Or England? Or Sweden? Or Russia? Give me one good reason why I should hate such people that much to kick them? To throw things at them? Is there one such reason to do this? Has anyone from these countries done me, in person, anything wrong? I don’t know them so why should I hate them?

Of course there is not such a reason. And we all know this. But weeks before the European championship starts in each country that takes part the feelings of a superior own national feeling is being fed to the masses. WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS! Is the underlying message that is spread in the heads of many people. THEY ARE THE ENEMY! Is the word that is spread out by the media.

Of course the media doesn’t say it openly : punch them when you see them in the street and kick them when you can. No, they don’t say it that open of course. But the opponents are portrayed as “the enemy”. And then hordes of drunk people are being given more and more alcohol, the messages in their heads becomes more and more war messages and then it only needs one spark to ignite the fires we have seen in the streets of many French cities.

Serving alcohol to football supporters is neigh on criminal for me. Raising the nationalist feelings by the media is a second part of it. And then you have the morons who can be found in each country. The people you can dislike. Put all that together and you get the perfect mix for the terrible scenes we have witnessed.

I am not a fan of UEFA and FIFA tournaments. But okay, I can live with them as long as no Arsenal player gets injured. But when I see the scenes where instead of uniting the people from Europe it is as if civil war has broken out between the people of Europe.

We really just should see this for what it is: “a money machine that uses the nationalistic feelings of people to spend more and more money” That is all what an European championship is in fact. To see multi billionaires play in a different environment in order to make them even richer than they already are (and for most that is already obscene rich).

And us the plebs…..what do we do??? We drink ourselves in the ground, and then because of our nationalistic feelings being misused by the media we start punching other people on the head, smash them, kick them, hit them with all that we can get in our hands….

Send the countries home that have supporters who misbehave??? No, just send everybody home. Just stop this madness. Send everybody home and only let them come back when they can behave as reasonable and well behaved people.

I’m not a fan of EC or WC as you may know from my earlier articles. I have almost reached the point that I no longer just shrug my shoulders. No I reach the point that I start to dislike all the people involved in this. Really dislike. Uefa, media, fans, … this is no feast or party. No this is a bloody shame that we inhabitants from Europe are putting on ourselves.

Why can’t we at least respect other people from wherever they are? It is something all of us should do and certainly those who go the France. And if you are not able to do this: stay away. I hope that everyone involved in any fighting will be severely punished by the authorities. Send them to prison for years. Just make sure they don’t spoil the fun that might be there for those who enjoy such things. There is no fun in it for me but for those who find it fun, let them enjoy it.

As I said at the start I know I am a dreamer. But as long as people cannot fulfil this dream we should stop football in European championships or world cups. Football should unite people, not divide them. And dividing itself is not the real problem but when this dividing leads to violence then the line has been crossed and we should stop them. Let’s start again when all of us can behave in a civilised way.

But I don’t think I will live long enough to see that day arriving I’m afraid….

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21 comments to A money machine that uses the nationalistic feelings of people to spend more and more money

  • Walter

    Thanks for the “balls” to write this piece.
    What you have written is even more important than football
    Very humbled by it

    Dank u wel

  • bushido

    there is nothing but the truth being spoken in this article. nobody who is sane n in the right state of mind ever wanted to hurting n cost grief to other people. dont we see enough suffering in this world.

  • Totally agree with all you have said, if only the human race could see how it’s destroying itself, but I don’t think they ever will but I can only live in hope.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Some very valid points.
    Not sure how this is going to end, fear for the situation in Lille lens , a flashpoint UEFA have helped create. The security need to up their game.
    All very depressing, then you read something like this:
    If as reported, this pathetic macho nationalistic posturing just leaves you speechless, not sure why a proud country with history needs to be honoured by attacking women, children and the disabled in a stadium.

  • nicky

    It’s ironic that at the very time that the European Union is being paraded as the family the UK mustn’t leave, a football tournament on the Continent is becoming increasingly dangerous to those attending.
    I sense Europe is no longer the peaceful community it’s cracked up to be.
    Nationalism is gaining ground at the very time that the problem of migrants is escalating.
    The provision of law and order in a number of member countries is declining in a worrying way.
    Care shoudbe be taken to encourage a return to the principles on which the Community was founded.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very true Nicky, there some pretty unpleasant forces being unleashed in Europe at the moment. Of course, not for the first time.
    And some of our own politicians and media are not helping…again, not for the first time.

  • Notoverthehill

    Well put, Walter.

    Wars appealed to the winners, to loot the defeated country. God, was always on the side of the winner?

    A Russian sports paper had the sense to have a female reporter on the scene! From her first article, it would appear that Belgium on the tour agenda.

    many of the Russian fans are due to depart for Brussels, after the Slovakia game. It would seem that your capital, is far cheaper than Lille. 200 Euros is equivalent to 16,000 roubles. I have not compared the costs involved, as I have no interest in football as an alternative to war.

    Наталья Кузина, the reporter in question, was robbed, gassed and manhandled, for doing her job! A mother of 3 children.

    Devil’s Island, is the place for the thugs, by all accounts!

  • Menace

    Good Luck Walter – I’m rooting for Belgique this evening.

  • Menace

    As for the hooligans causing all the violence in the name of the beautiful game, they are non EU & should have had visas to enter just like all non EU visitors. They must have all been screened prior to entry.

    The axe was probably part of fire protection. There seems to be knowledge of these hoodlums yet there was nothing done to prevent their entry. The Russians should be aware of their hooligans & as a result must be made to suffer huge financial penalties by EU countries & UK boycotting the World Cup.

    My view is sooner the UK is independent the better. The down side is the wealthy chickens will start having to pay fair taxes ….maybe.

  • Pat

    Great article, Walter. Brought a tear to my eye. Imagine by John Lennon has always been one of my favourite songs.

  • Josif

    I would just like to see a brain-scan of the person that clicked on “dislike” for such a brilliant piece by Walter.

    I have to say that the European war(s) haven’t ended yet:

    -there is a war in Ukraine going on with a direct consequence being UEFA’s decision to avoid drawing clubs from Ukraine to play against the Russian ones,

    -there was a war in Georgia;

    -there are a lot of examples of the refugees being intimidated, attacked or even killed in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo;

    -conflicts on the ethnical basis in Macedonia.

    From my point of view, there is a huge problem that European nations have never managed to resolve: a question of the common identity of European nations. European nations have never managed to settle the ground for making the Nation of Europe that would be a solution to world problems, not an issue to be solved. That’s why European nations have been dwarfs among the American, Russian and Chinese giants.

    European nations have never made a consesus on the issue regarding religions. The biggest bloodsheds including the ones in Yugoslavia both in World War Two and in the nineties were motivated mostly on the religious differences and perpetrated with medieval brutality. Europe still can’t cope with the fact that religious map of Europe has been changed due to number of Muslims immigrating to Western Europe. Poor ol’ Europe couldn’t resolve the issue between different branches of Christianity (Catholics vs Orthodox, Catholics vs Protestants etc) when Islam came into equation. Maybe it’s down to reverse approach to secularism comparing to the one in United States. While the Americans have applied secularism in order to keep religion away from the paws of the government, the European nations – where secularism has been applied, that is – have done vice versa.

    In a way, Yugoslavia were a huge experiment whether European nations of different ethnical and religious background could be unified around the common things like economy (the socialistic one but still) and the idea of “brotherhood and unity” that was usually watered with the common language called Serbo-Croatian in order to pacify two strongest Yugoslav nationalisms and a rather strong rejection of other European identities as one verse in the national anthem of Yugoslavia said. Yugoslavia also benefited from The Cold War as both Soviet Union and USA were considered by Yugoslavia and considered Yugoslavia as frenemies depending on the timing. Once Soviet Union disappeared from the map, there was no need for Yugoslavia in the big picture either.

    In eighties and 1991-92, there was a TV show called Top Lista Nadrealista that was broadcasted and filmed on the Bosnian television. It was a Monthy Python-esque scarily accurate prediction of Yugoslavian disolution but there is still one bit that has to happen. In one episode, Yugoslavia were divided from the United Europe by the giant wall like the Berlin one. The European commentator sits on the fence and gives a description of the final battle between the last four Yugoslavs like it was a football match. The last survived Yugoslav jumped over the fence and was invited to the hotel lobby where the representatives of mighty European nations were discussing stupid things (all of them were forced to shut up when the American ordered that). By the end of the meeting, European nations were engaged in a row and subsequently in a great war. That part ends with the Yugoslav, sitting on the fence and dressed up in the coat like the Europeans used to be, watching Disjointed Europe that is now engaged in another great war and commenting lack of civilized methods among Europeans in solving their issues.

    Most of TLN predictions came to life. Hopefully the last one won’t.

  • WalterBroeckx

    My apology for the victims I have missed over the years

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Hmmm, to drive home your point Mr Broeckx, a Russian MP was quoted by the media to have applauded the violent actions unleashed on the England football fans by the Russian football fans for 3 days on the streets of Marseille and in the Stade Velodrome, all in the name of Russian nationalism.

    Of course, we should all know the hidden motive that’s behind those violent attacks on the England fans by the specially State trained Russian football thugs.

    It’s not more than the Russian power that be want to tell England that they don’t take kindly to the England telling Fifa that they have in gross malice violations of their job ethics, Fifa had awarded the hosting rights of the 2018 World Cup to Russia. This is the mask behind the Russian football fans attacking their England counterparts in France I would want to believe.

    Notwithstanding, since the events of the act of disobedience to his father Adam, by Cane, and his hates and envy against his brother Abel and his subsequent killing him, which has led Cane to pack away from the domain and the habitation of his parents Adam and Eve, without ever repenting from his evil deeds before his God and his parents, the majority people of the World which came into being after Adam, Eve and Cane generations, have all but embraced the practice of violent behaviours and divisions which have brought us to the plight of nationalism and wars.

    Not until the battles of Armageddon are fought and won by the victors, lost by the defeated, shall we see the end to hates, divisions, nationalism, wars, killings and sufferings in this World which shall be followed by a new peaceful and safe World order that shall come to be.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments , Walter . Very well put . Why can’t fans just enjoy the show without the ill feelings and the violence ?
    Its a game after all . Just a beautiful game . Give it a chance .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Received this in my mail today .

    Cicero of the Roman empire wrote this about the situation during his lifetime:

    1. The poor – work & work.
    2. The rich – exploit the poor.
    3. The soldier – protects both.
    4. The taxpayer – pays for all three.
    5. The wanderer – rests for all four.
    6. The drunk – drinks for all five.
    7. The banker – robs all six.
    8. The lawyer – misleads all seven.
    9. The doctor – bills all eight.
    10. The undertaker – buries all nine.
    11. The Politician – lives happily on account of all ten.

    Written in 43 B.C., but valid even today.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Where have all the flowers gone -The kingston trio(lyrics)

  • Chris

    Here in Switzerland, people do not see what the UK has done to grapple the issue of hooligans in the nineties.
    And I cannot remember seing one single PL game where abuse such as what is seen even in small Switzerland is common.
    I remember a game between my town’s team, Lausanne, and FC Basel. The odd 200 supporters of Basel came by train.
    They then walked up to the stadium (2 miles) just in the damn middle of the road.
    Police had to stop traffic for them.
    They were going up the town like an organised mob. All thre was lacking were crowbars and baseball bats…..
    And the only thing that transpired from this mob was anger, hate, violence. Not an ounce of pleasure.
    Same things happen on ice hockey games, where sometimes 3000 spectators are there, 50 off supporters of the visiting team and alcohol does it’s thing.

    As long as the rest of Europe does not tackle the issue as you did in the UK (or at least that is what I see from the PL and I have not read any thing about this kind of violence at games UA report about), it will not be safe to go to sport venues, to bring your kids, etc. And you will read and hear the media talking about ‘risky games’.

    Guess nothing changed since Ancient Rome : panem and circences, except that the violence is now not so much with the gladiator but with the crowds.

  • Ajay

    I support whole heartedly the sentiments shared by Walter. I don’t understand how acts of violence became a part of any sport. How humans can kill another. As is with all religions, supporters of football should understand that this a second religion to some and the first rule is Respect. Hope the rest of the tourney goes free of such violence.

  • para

    People very rarely change, in reality the basic mindset stays the same. After about 7-12 years old it hardly ever changes.
    I used to once think that things will change one day, now i see that things are getting worse from day to day.

    Not a fan of the “book” yet i can now understand the phrase: “be in the world but be not a part of it”.

    And to those waiting for “armageddon” well, all i can say is beware of how they are being played.

  • nicky

    I’ve long believed that the violent tribal attitude which has developed in professional football started and was handed down following the end of WW2. There were no longer enemies to hate and the “love and hate” became transferred to favourite football clubs.
    It doesn’t take much to transfer this attitude to national level, particularly when contests are held in foreign parts. Sadly….

  • Gord

    Robert Hall is a common name.

    I have autism, and it seems that we get more confused by changes in “surroundings” than most people. I have gone to meet good friends in strange surroundings, and not seen them. And later verified that they were there when I was.

    The Robert Hall that was beheaded by ISIS backed terrorists in the Phillipines was someone I knew. I played football with him in Edmonton. I had visited his fabrication shop a few times. I have been to the house he lived in at one time in Spruce Grove, Alberta. We met a few times outside of football. I wish we could have done more together, but I had no money/resources. At that time, I didn’t yet know I was autistic, which is in large part why I have little money or resources.

    I can’t imagine Bob hurting anyone. How brave and macho the shithead terrorist must be, to kidnap someone who lives to help others. And then cut his head off.

    I spit on the souls of those cowards that kidnapped him. And killed him.