Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thierry Henry, God Have Mercy!


By DELE OMOTUNDE

“My friend, you must learn to use what you have. Spit at any racist like Alhaji Diouf would do or headbutt any bigot with all the energy of a Zinedine Zidane"


My friend, did you see the Red Devils demolish Barca in their backyard last February?


Who are the devils and who are the barca?


Poor you! I thought you are a football fan, like me? Sorry o.


You had better be.


Actually, I'm not particular about the match. What pained me was the pathetic look on the face of Samuel Eto'o Fils throughout the match. I could not say whether he was suffering from the pain of defeat or that of his injury that had sidelined him for months before the gruelling UEFA encounter between his club, Barcelona, and Liverpool.


Is that the African player who was always booed by the Spanish fans? Why were they always making him an object of attacks?


Don't mind the bloody racists. One day, Eto'o will give it back to them measure for measure.


I even learnt he once spat in the face of an opposing player who had tormented him with racial abuse throughout a league encounter.


To be frank that was rude. No wonder, the coach of the opposing team remarked that what Eto'o did "was something that people who had just come down out of the trees would do".


What! That remark makes him more sinning than sinned against!! I wish I could skin him alive for that. But these oyinbo people self! They are too full of themselves. Some of them so much believe in the Aryan race superiority theory that they treat us, black people, like vermins.


Jesus Christ of Nazareth!


Wait. You haven't heard anything yet and you already feel like drawing daggers. Let's see what you will do after hearing what I'm going to tell you.


What else are you going to tell me that is worse than what you said the oyinbo man said about our own dear Eto'o Fils?


Just wait and see. The two stories I'm about to narrate are real. The first happened on the Oprah Winfrey Show, where one Tommy Hilfiger, a fashion designer, was a guest. On the show, Oprah thought she was throwing Hilfiger a lifeline to redeem his image by asking if it was true he said if he had known that blacks would buy his designer clothes, he would not have made them so nice. Do you know his response? He said he wished black people would not buy them as they are made for upper class white people.


You don't mean it! And what did Oprah do?


You can trust her. The old lady of talk show just showed him the door.


Serves him right. But it’s good she did not spit in his face.


How about if she did? Well, that's an argument for later. The second story has to do with what happened on a British Airways’ flight between Johannesburg and London recently. A white woman, about 50 years old, who was obviously still living in the apartheid era, was seated next to a black man. All the while, she was feeling uncomfortable with the sitting arrangement. Soon, she called the attention of the air hostess. "Can you people see what you've done?", she asked. "What's the matter?", the air hostess responded. "You obviously do not seem to see my predicament, do you?" She was showing accelerated anger. "You put me next to a black man. I do not normally sit near people from such a repugnant group. Will you please give me an alternative seat?" The hostess was dumbfounded. When she regained her composure, she pleaded that she (the racist) should be calm while she went to look for a seat for her. A short while later, the hostess came back to tell the woman that almost all the places on the flight had been taken but, if she could tarry a little, she would go and see if there was a place in the business or first class. Soon, she was back to break the news that she had talked to the captain who informed her that there was a seat in the business class and another in the first class. Before the woman could say anything, the hostess was quick to point out the fact that it was not unusual for the airline to allow someone in the economy class to sit in the first class. The woman was already smiling. She was sure of having another seat, and in the first class for that matter! Then the bombshell. "Madam, given the circumstance, the captain feels that it would be scandalous to make a passenger in the first class sit next to someone so disgusting like you". Then she turned to the black man, "Sir, a seat awaits you in first class. Please collect your hand luggage and follow me", she said. The bigot was humbled.


I think that's the kind of thing Eto'o should have done. It's more sporting to punch an opponent than to spit at him.

Is that why oyinbo people have turned ice hockey to boxing and wrestling? If a black man dare do what they do during ice hockey matches, psychologists and psychiatrists would have been called in to examine our pedigree!


I think I support the subtle way the racist woman was dealt with.


And Eto'o should have done something similar to that.


Like what?


Like throwing an egg or rotten tomato at the offending player.


Say that again! You mean Eto'o should excuse himself from the field of play to run home and launch egg and tomato missiles at his tormentor? You must be out of your mind. No African will wilfully throw an egg away. It's too much of a delicacy.


How about tomato?


How many people can afford to put tomato in their soup, not to talk of throwing them at one bloody racist abusing their forebears? My friend, you must learn to use what you have. Spit at any racist like Alhaji Diouf would do or headbutt any bigot with all the energy of a Zinedine Zidane. If Jesse Owens could spite Jim Crow with his famous black power salute at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, why not pack a punch today and give that bloody racist sitting next to you a bloody nose?


Ah! You mean an eye for an eye?


Why not? Even a nose for a nose.


Remember, civilisation began in Africa.


O yes, but where has it led us? Contempt, insults and stereotypes.


I pity Thiery Henry who has just decided to pitch his tent with the Spanish racists.


God have mercy!


*This Opilogue was first published in TELL July 9, 2007

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