We Must Be Confusing Politics For Soccer

In the DC conference, I got to meet a lot of interesting people. One of them is Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey who enjoys watching Lebanon and, ehm, cheering. He told me his theory about Lebanese politics.

“What you Lebanese need is more soccer”, he told me.

“I beg your pardon?”

He explained: The Lebanese treat their politics like other countries treat soccer. “All the props are there. You have team flags with various colors, you have buses that shuttle the fans, you have the bitterness and ecstasy that follow defeat and victory, and you always blame the referee”

I admit, I never looked at it this way. What if all we really needed was more soccer? What if all we need was a channel to vent our frustration and mistakingly think politics is it? After that we can just go back and talk. Have you realized how peaceful Lebanon becomes during the worldcup?

Ouwet Vs Hezbollah anyone?

Update: The international Herald Tribune picked up the topic of soccer in Lebanon. In “In Lebanon, even soccer is tainted by sectarian strife”, James Montague explains why soccer cheering is dangerous in these troubled times:

All the major Lebanese political figures finance teams in their communities. Rafik Hariri, a former prime minister who was assassinated in 2005, funded Al-Ansar, the current league champion, which has support from the Sunni majority. After Hariri’s death, his family continued the tradition and also helped bolster the budgets of Nejmeh, which is largely supported by Shiites, and Racing Beirut, which is owned and largely supported by Christians. Druze politicians and the Hariris help finance the club Safa. Meanwhile, Shabab Al-Sahel is also predominantly supported by Shiites, as is Al-Ahed, which has strong links to Hezbollah.

Read the entire thing

→ Respond to this post On Twitter
  • LebanesePatriot


    It is funny. But amazingly enough I thought about politics in Lebanon the same way. I used to call it the “Soccer Fan mentality”

    To add on what you friend is saying, in soccer, you are always with your team. You can never change.


  • kheireddine

    Looking from outside, how backward politics are in Lebanon…The public administration is worse…No census since 1932! We still talk about the 1960 electoral law, We still elect according to religion and sect etc…

  • Ghassan

    I think that Lebanese need a sport to vent their anger! In the West, people fight over football, soccer, baseball and even hockey but after the game is over, they forget about it and say next game or season! Unfortunately Lebanes politicize even the sport! This is a Druze team, that is Shiite team and when a fight goes on the Shiite will destroy a Sunni sport club.

  • http://www.eliedh.com/ Eliedh

    he’s not the first one to compare politics to football the maker of this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrTrRKaVXqI wrote to Aoun “You run a party not a football team so loose that orange and that check symbol please”.

    btw: who’s the referee in our political games?

  • Danny

    Poor Ref…

  • Pingback: Politik und Fussball in Basel und Beirut « Freunde der offenen Gesellschaft

  • http://urban-memories.blogspot.com/ _z.

    But that’s not a new idea/observation… I mean what about Basketball!!!

    Do you remember what a Hikmeh vs. Riyadi basketball game used to do to the population?

    insults used to touch families of players, their religions, their ideologies…etc.. Doumiati used to boycott LBC, while Mechantaf was a God there. Khatib, a muslim, playing for hikmeh was considered a traitor, and so was Ghassan Sarkis when he coached Riyadi…

    Riyadi used to brandish pictures of Bashar, while Hikmeh used to carry Ouwwet flags…

  • http://theinnercircle.wordpress.com Jester

    …z, you live in lala Land. None of what you mentioned really happened on the ground. You are obcessed with sectarian fanatism that you really beleive that people go for that.

    I repeat what i said alot time ago.

    There is No East, There is no West, There is No Arabs, No Europeans, No Americans, No Communists, No Capitalists, …
    There is only One System of symbiosis. The Currency, The Dollar, Euro, Shekel, Pound and our beloved Lira.

  • Ralf

    I wonder who is in lalaland?!

  • http://urban-memories.blogspot.com/ _z.

    jester, my lala land is called Beirut, Lebanon. What is yours called?

    are you serious? none of this happened!!!! either you never set foot in Lebanon, or you are living in a dangerous denial.

  • http://urban-memories.blogspot.com/ _z.

    my friend there was a decade where we fought our sectarian and civil wars through sports….

  • http://blacksmithsoflebanon.blogspot.com Blacksmith Jade

    Its funny…

    …I’m sure that if all the Lebanese sides showed up to play soccer and sort out their differences, Hizballah would come to the game outfitted in rugby gear!!

  • Andrew The American

    …you could even do hezbo vs: M14 oil wrestling. They could wear flag bikinis.(get the ladies involved);-)

  • Ali

    I think the eyptian goverment is happy that they have the Ahli and Zamalick for the same reason, make people forget about politics.

  • Chris

    I have always thought of Lebanese Politics as Football Fanatacism – In England, people are as passionate about their Football teams as the Lebanese are about there poitics – the difference in the end is that its just a game, whereas in Lebanon its real life – a pity the Lebanese don’t get into their sport a little more (but then again each team in Lebanon is affiliated to a particular religion or political party)

  • m

    Yes for sure lets channel our energy away from everything important to everything that makes us zombies and distracted from reality. With all due respect to Sandmonkey, its not a surprise hearing this from an Egyptian. Its what they do best. Politics is not a hobby, its not something that you decide to do. It concerns everyone. Whether or not its full of liars and criminals is irrelevant because you cant escape its effects. ANDD, you can’t dare ever blame the US and Israel for anything if you don’t get up off your ass and inform yourself of the politics that surrounds you. This stands for the ppl in lebanon who blindly follow Hezb for religious reasons and dont realize how the POLITICS is effecting the ECONOMICS AND SOCIETY around them.

  • Vox P.

    Are the players allowed to use grenades?

  • Pingback: Where Are We Going? | The Beirut Spring, a Lebanese Blog