Unless you have been vacationing in Timbuktu (although maybe even they have a football team for all I know), you will not have failed to notice that it is World Cup time. It started just before I left Canada. Now I am in even closer proximity to avid football supporters here in Rabi and therefore more aware than ever of the drama as it unfolds.
Â I am also aware of the marked contrast between the way the competition is being supported in Canada compared to here. In Rabi the population on camp isÂ about 75% Gabonese, and the rest, for the most part are either English, French or Scottish, with a few Aussies, KiwisÂ and people from the US thrown in for good measure. So there is a fair cultural mix, even if it is not exactly as diverse as in Canada.
So in that odd way that Canadian citizens like to think of themselves as coming from somewhere else, Canadians whose Great-Grand parents, once removed, were Italian, support Italy. People whose Great Uncle married a woman who once lived in England, say the are actually English (even though they have no idea where it was their Great Aunty actually lived in England and have never set foot in the country in their lives) and support the English team etc etc. But it’s all fun and in general the rivalry between countries is good natured.Â However, emotions seem to be running a bit higher here in Rabi.
Check out the photo of the English flag in the toilet roll above (although apparently the owner of the flag had the audacity to put it on a Scottish person’s car earlier in the day). There were also some comments referring to the English (in general) as ‘bastards’ in the bar after the Trinidad versus England match last week. We might serve warm beer and not have played a great match on Thursday night – but does that make us a nation of bastards? And this was from an otherwise extremely well-balanced, intelligent man, who is otherwise a great conversationalist. He was however, Scottish.
I could undersandÂ if Scotland don’t want England to win because of sour grapes that they didn’t qualify, but that is not the motivation behind these comments. The ScottishÂ HATE the English. In football and any other sport you care to mention. I don’t get it. Can anyone enlighten me, because no-one here seems to be able to give me an objective explanation. And they say women struggle with irrationality…Â