Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Asia Cup Replaces Koran in Resolving Tribal Disputes

I love this story from the Kuwait News Agency that was published two days ago (Arabic):

The deputy head of the Iraqi Soccer Federation Najih Hmoud said today that the Asia Cup for 2007 that the Iraqi team had won contributed to resolving a tribal dispute over agricultural land that ran 27-year and claimed tens of lives. Hmoud clarified that one of the officials from the province of Najaf had called together the chiefs and notables of the Fatla and Ghazalat tribes to settle the dispute over two days but to no avail.

Adding, “but a delegation of mediators arrived on the [third day] to the Ghazalat tribe carrying with it the Asia Cup in order to resolve matters anew, and [succeeded] in getting both sides to compromise for the sake of the Asia Cup.”

I don’t know how authentic the story is, but it’s heartwarming anyway. Tribes usually settle disputes by taking an oath on the Koran, but in this instance the Asia Cup has been transformed by Iraq’s soccer fetish into a new, sanctified national totem!

I had written a column for this month’s Prospect Magazine that began with these paragraphs:

“I will take the cup to Thawra City, I mean Sadr City, I will take it to Kadhimiya, to Adhamiya, to Dora; I will take it to Basra, to the north, to Mosul. Even if they kill me, I am a willing sacrifice for [my people].” Said the 24 year-old Younis Mahmoud, captain of Iraq’s national football team, to Iraq’s official television station Al-Iraqiya, during a snap interview in Dubai, following Iraq’s victory in the Asian Cup in late July. Mahmoud is a Sunni Arab who was born in the oil-rich town of Dibis, northeast of Kirkuk. He grew up among other Sunnis Arabs, Shia and Sunni Turkomans, Kurds and Christian Assyrians—a diversity reflected in the team he led to Iraq’s first major football victory.

After Iraq defeated South Korea in a semi-final penalty shootout—unleashing massive jubilation among Iraqis both inside and outside the country and raising cautious hopes of bringing the cup back to Baghdad—Iraqi singers began to record songs for the final, and the ditty that became the team’s anthem began with the words, “Have you ever seen a player on the fields play while pressing his hand to his wound?”

I still can’t get enough of this song:


Blogger bg said...


yes it is heartwarming, hope it is true!! :)

(please let us know if you get confirmation)..

on a funny note re: “I will take the cup to Thawra City, I mean Sadr City, I will take it to Kadhimiya, to Adhamiya, to Dora; I will take it to Basra, to the north, to Mosul. Even if they kill me, I am a willing sacrifice for [my people].”..

good thing he didn't give the
Dean Scream at the end.. :D


6:16 PM, September 28, 2007

Blogger bg said...


OT.. HT : GP

Iraqi Shia Honor Iraqi Sunni Hero
- Name School After Abu Risha


[Alsudani added; "This is not the first time the department honors and recognizes a Sunni leader who sacrificed for the good of Iraq. In 2005 we recognized and honored the martyr Uthman Alubaid who as one of our Sunni brethren who sacrificed himself to save many Shiites in Adhamiah during a terrorist ignited stampede on Aimah Bridge in which more than a thousand were killed. We are strong followers of teachings of the grand Ayatollah Ali Al-sistani which calls for denouncing sectarianism and intolerance and calls for embracing unity, and nondiscrimination for all Iraqis of all sects and religions.]

[Haider Ajina comments:

The Muslim Shiite center of Iraq is naming their schools in honor of Sunni leaders who sacrificed for the good of Iraq and its citizens. This is a shining example of how I remember Iraq when I was growing up. Prior to Saddam taking a strong role in dividing Iraqis along sectarian lines and oppressing those not of his ilk, the sectarian divide was minimally noticeable and made no difference to most Iraqis. This is returning now that all Iraqis are protected by law and represented by their government. They also share a common enemy in the Takfiries of Alqaida. Both Sunni & Shiite mosques are condemning these Takfiries and their intolerance and calling for the rejection of the Takfiri movement. Much of this is aimed at the Saudi Wahabi School.]

yes Iraqis, it is wonderful news!! :)


11:54 AM, October 08, 2007


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