Thursday, 12 June 2014

Don’t take your eyes off the ball!

By that, I don’t mean football. I mean, don’t take your attention from what is going on behind the scenes - of the game and in the world at large. 

Enjoy the game, I’ve nothing against the game itself, it’s fun to watch. But what it has become about, what FIFA have done, including bribery, evading taxes, being a non-profit organization with over a billion in the bank, and riding roughshod over countries’ laws – such as overturning a law in Brazil which banned serving beer because people died. Budweiser said, 'but we’ve got a right to sell beer' - is no less than criminal.

Underneath that layer of corruption, is the horrific scale of violence that has also gone seemingly hand-in-hand with a world cup in a country, at various times in history – take the Argentina World Cup in 1978 at the same time as the military junta were torturing and killing dissidants. In Brazil, in 2014, the police have been violently clearing away slums, evicting 250,000 from their homes to make way for stadiums not ever to be used again, most likely. They shoot at protestors disgusted with the amount of money it’s cost - $11 billion - when they haven’t even got health care or a decent standard of education. Horrible twisted capitalist corruption and violence that I hate seeing happening again. I really feel so many of us now agree, this time it's: ‘not on my watch’. Together we are speaking out about the injustice, corruption and greed. It is wrong and we want real change for the better, more compassionate in these turbulent, intense times.

So how do we stand against it, especially if we still want to watch some matches? The World Cup is exciting, after all, unites many (but not all ) of us – behind a mere team, but together, in one moment, jubilant, joyous. We crave that, that’s why sport is seen as a religion!

For a start, don’t buy into the nationalism – it's just the bit of earth where you were squeezed, in agony, or pulled, out of your mother’s womb, after all. Don’t let football become a chance to spread stupidity – and I was gonna write violence, then disease popped into my mind. Yeah, dis-ease, where you feel uncomfortable, at :
  • the serge in testosterone;
  • the shit merchandise sold in its name – too many vile, sexist, objectifying women t-shirts on sale (the St George’s flag painted on a bum crack?); sign the 38degrees petition to get them taken off sale.
  • the increase in violence against women that happens during a world cup, and
  •  the violence and murder taking place because it is coming to that area.

Too many things sit uneasily with me about this World Cup more than ever before. It seems an example of all that is bad about the world, hidden under a glorious game, which attracts massive corruption – and paying top footballers all that dosh shouldn’t be allowed. For kicking a ball around? You are joking. The world’s askew with who gets paid and who doesn’t. Anyone teaching, caring, doing a service gets a kick in the teeth, all those fucking them over get the doe. Arrrrggggghhhh!

So, interestingly, this is a happening right within the Wave of Action. So now is the time to get active. What is being done to highlight all this, to show them we do have the power? Anonymous hacked into the Military Police of Sao Paulo website, yesterday, with more hacking in protest today at the corruption behind the World Cup. It seems anyone sticking up for what is right, or fair, gets targeted and killed in some countries, watched in others. From war to fracking to austerity, if you’re against the government – who protect big business more than anything else, in too many countries now – expect the police not to be protecting the people, who pay their wages, but to be the henchmen of that government, to lesser or worse degrees. They are expecting some unrest, clearly – Boris ordering a water cannon?!

Whatever. We won’t go away quietly. We are allowed to protest at what our government does in our name and with our taxes. I’m sick of mine being spent on war and want it used for community and peace. 

So that’s why I’ll be going to meditate in Trafalgar Square on 21st June, to bring the peace to the place and set the intention. Water cannon that and there will be serious trouble! Then, there’s the beach theme flashmob on the tube. Again, two fingers up at that Boris. And the march against corruption and austerity, with unions there, many, many people - and you can try to hose us away but you can’t dampen our spirit of rebellion, in countless different ways.

There is a movement happening – following in the vein of the Stop the War Movement documented in this film. People are united in wanting to do things differently and not wanting our governments to be such bullies. We’ve all been being the change for a while now, doing little things differently in our own lives and it all building up together to create a positive force for good. Well, now it’s time to get together, in solidarity, in thunderclaps – such as the one today for No More Page Three, after the Sun was distributed to 22,000,000 homes in the UK (exclusing Liverpool of course, cos they hate the Sun). I hate the Sun, but I flicked through it. I’m going to send it back, though, to the Freepost address (The Sun, London, E98 1AX) – as I don’t want it in my house, really, muck-spreading, celebrity baiting bollocks, and want them to know that I will NEVER buy it so you haven’t got a popular propaganda machine.

Two things I liked about it – the front page, with all those well loved British celebrity faces. It was heart-warming to see Mo Farrah and Jessica Ennis, alongside Banksy and Daman Albarn – I name these two because they are anti-establishment, and there was of course a lot of the establishment in there, of course, as they are the news. But I couldn’t find Russell Brand, which is interesting....

But anyway, first, I thought, are there any black people? A few, yes, enough, hmm. How many women are there? And are they all models/actresses/dolly birds, as my grandparents would call them? Well, there could have been more serious contenders, to be honest, but hey, they weren’t all stunners depicted today. An it’s that attitide that upsets me most about the Sun, and much of the mainstream media, that women must look good, that they are just there for men’s pleasure and entertainment. Which brings me onto the second point that I liked about today’s paper – No Page Three! Yayyyy! Not family-friendly enough for dropping through everyone’s doors? No, because it’s soft porn. It is too much for a daily newspaper. It sends the wrong message to our kids, that men do the important stuff and women stand around looking pretty, ideally in their pants. To be honest, in today’s issue, page three still had some pretty girls on, but it’s a vast improvement on bare breasts, which should not be with news or displayed in shops at child level (go to Child’s Eyes to join their successful stopping of supermarkets displaying soft porn in kid’s eyeline - and more anti-sexualisation of our children campaigns.)

Where was I? Oh yes, anyway, football, girls, girls and football. Back to those t-shirts again, and the distraction of football coming at us from today, a very exciting, thrilling, emotional distraction, yes. But there is always stuff going on in the background. So beware and pay attention. Whether behind the scenes at the event itself, or at the same time in the world at large, it’s a good time to ‘bury news’ as politicians like to do. But then we always find out eventually. Look at Iraq now, what a messed up situation that we who marched back in October 2003, tried to stop but couldn’t. Doesn’t mean we have to stop trying. Beware brutality appearing in governments all over the world, it has to be seen and stopped.

So if meditating, creating, expressing ourselves, marching, petitioning (like this great one to raise awareness of deforestation in Brazil), boycotting, even knitting for peace and change is our best way to get through it, to bring about possible change, it’s what we have to do, continually for a while, and we have to find the energy from somewhere. Summer solstice is when lots of exciting stuff is planned, plus it’s the day of Unity peace and prayer day, well worth tuning into, and the ancient pagan greeting the sunrise at dawn to welcome in the lightest, longest day. It is significant. It’s an incredible nod to the light, letting the sunshine into our beings to transform the dark once and for all. Or at least it could be a good laugh, spread a bit of happiness, and increase the love in the world. And the happiness generated from the world cup can add to that, and maybe, here’s hoping, be a force for good.