The England Riots, 2012 Olympics and Anglo-Pessimism

What goes around, the Englishman says, comes around, and nothing at this very moment can be more illustrative of this popular aphorism than the recent eruption and pervasiveness of violence in England. When South Africa got the nod of FIFA to host the World Cup in 2010, England was one of the most vociferous in Afro-pessimistic outbursts, rendering the African bid success a mere subject of debauchery. The English press put up a feisty effort to ridicule the continent and paint a picture of a post-modern global event returning to the antediluvian age.

This description of Africa as a wild, benighted continent, is a familiar one. The likes of A.P. Newton and Trevor Roper, two imperial professors, and Margery Perham, an administrator in the colonial era had popularized these armchair postulations, surmising that the continent was characterized by blood-sucking sub-humans who had blood-cuddling rituals as a lifestyle. While praising themselves as the archetype of human civilization and the only race that can salvage others; they described blacks as good-for-nothing who had contributed only darkness to global development. It is pertinent however, to note that, underlying their arguments was a malicious motive to undercut the Africans and justify the greedy ambitions of the European colonial opportunists.

Such Afro-pessimism has gathered momentum of late. It was not surprising therefore, to read English tabloids condemning the FIFA decision to award the World Cup hosting rights to South Africa. How can Africa host the most glamorous tournament of civilized people? A continent riddled with conflict, diseases, and poverty? A people that cannot put their own house in order? A continent filled with filthy and dangerous people? This must have been FIFA’s worst decision ever with dire consequences for the football body and the entire world. To this end, the British and German tabloids in particular focused in a rather sensational way on the negative stories. For instance, a British newspaper, 333 The Times once reported: “Fans travelling to the World Cup finals in South Africa will find that the host nation is so pushed for accommodation that they may be encouraged to base themselves in neighbouring countries. Zimbabwe is being promoted as one of the most likely options.”


Also, the tragedy in Angola prior the 2010 African Nations Cup in which the Togolese suffered casualties in an attack by Congolese rebels in Cabinda, became a quick and over-flogged reference point. Crisis in other regions thousands of miles away from South Africa, were also used as instances of the crisis-ridden nature of the African society that would be unsafe for the Mundial. The English press particularly mounted pressure on FIFA to have a Plan B, just in case the anticipated crisis occurs. In any case, the over-blowing by the media of the little domestic issues in the continent was meant to attract the attention of FIFA to the actual occurrence of what had been anticipated, and that England could become that Plan B. Generally, there was a growing sense in the continent that some of the reporting from British newspapers in particular was being overly negative and, for some, retained an undercurrent of post-colonial superiority that, followed to its logical conclusion, would ensure that no World Cup or Olympic Games ever took place outside the US and Europe.

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Phony acts to convince FIFA that Africa was no good option included the alarm that: visitors were vulnerable to the scourge of malaria and AIDS; sharks and crocs could come ashore and attack tourists by the seaside; and that wild beasts could spring from nearby African jungles and devour the foreigners. In short, there was nothing England, a former colonial power in Africa, did not do with its press to make South Africa an unattractive choice.

But now it is England’s turn to have a dose of crisis and of course, incivility (same manner Africa has been hounded). England has been locked in a raging violence from last weekend. Riots began in London on August 4, after the fatal killing by the police in Tottenham, and within four days, it had spread to all parts of the country. The riots- exacerbated by perennial local masses/police tensions, criminal opportunism, gang xenical 120 mg buy online ukxenical generic culture, high unemployment, cuts in public services, economic crisis, poverty, the yawning gap between the rich and poor, and social exclusion can you purchase diflucan over the counter how much does zoloft cost with insurance100mg of zoloft for anxiety diflucan online prescription – have already caused England losses in millions of pounds and more importantly, a very bad name. Characterized by vandalism, arson, looting and violent disorder, the riots have claimed five lives and led to the injury of 186 policemen ivermectin border collieStromectol 3 mg tablets .

This is poetic justice for England, which had wanted to see Africa fail in the 2012 World Cup bid. Now, in view of its own misfortune, should an alternative host for the 2012 Olympics, which comes up in a few months, be considered too? As it is, with the spate of insecurity leading to the cancellation of international soccer friendlies, including the England-Holland and Nigeria-Ghana matches, does it not make sense too, to argue that a Plan B is required to salvage the Olympics in the hands of a violence-prone host? This is one lesson the west should learn: that what goes around, comes around; and that Afro-pessimism is a racist inclination which has to stop. There is no super-human anywhere, as demonstrated by England.

Dr. Folarin writes from Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria 111

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