Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Banner men

The banner literally says, "A people who forget their history have no future." A cousin of the old adage, "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." Next match's banner will read, "If you love something set it free; if it comes back it is yours forever, but if it doesn't it never was." 

It is the problem that won't go away. And soccer matches seem to bring out the ugliness. 

The Japan-Korea conflict over historical grievances has erupted anew as South Korean stadium goers unfurled a banner chiding Japan on its historical amnesia, supposedly in response to Japanese soccer fans waving flags that evoke memories of Imperial Japan and its expansionism and brutal occupation during the first half of the last century.

Apologists for Japan argue that the flag is a flag used in today's military, and not the Rising Sun of the 1940s. But that begs the question: Why are they waving a military flag and not the national flag that is so beautiful in its simplicity of a red dot on a white field?

Both sides need to recognize that sporting events are not the place for political and historical grievances. But when sporting events involving national teams are themselves filled with patriotic sentiment, I guess it's hard for some people to fall in line.

Like so much in this back-burner feud between these frenemies with the intense love-hate relationship, expect these hijinx to be repeated over and over again until the end of time.

But if the conflict involves balls and set of bullets, is that really still bad? It is rare for these things to turn into a physical confrontation.


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