Last year, many of us admired the Egyptians who filled the streets of Cairo day after day, sometimes rioting, in an eventually successful effort to oust Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Now, surprisingly, the same sort of crowd descended on a soccer field to get rid of the opposing team and its fans.
Maybe it’s time the Egyptians figured out that violence and rioting aren’t the solutions to every conflict.
On-the-scene observers told The Wall Street Journal the soccer field riot seemed to have been fomented by a bunch of hooligans called the Ultras. These philosophers “have joined in angry and sometimes violent protests against the security forces” of the new government, the Journal reported.
The Ultras rushed the field in Port Said Wednesday after Al Masry, the home team, won a 3-1 victory against Al Ahly, a soccer club based in Cairo. After the melee was over, 74 people had been killed and 248 had been reported injured.
Do you find that beyond reprehensible? How can anyone justify that kind of behavior at any sporting event? Remember the way some New Orleans Saints fans were treated at a 49ers playoff game in San Francisco? They were terrorized. But at least they weren’t killed in a riot.
It’s always been a mystery to me why soccer fans sometimes go insane. According to the Journal, 340 were killed in a post-soccer-match riot in Moscow in 1982; 93 were killed in 1988 in a spectator stampede in Katmandu, Nepal; 96 were killed in 1989 in Sheffield, England. And so on.
In Britain, groups of hooligans follow their teams with the express purpose of fomenting violence against the fans of the opposing teams. They think they are being clever and heroic.
Is it the soccer, or the stupidity? Soccer is a good game, played by great athletes. So, it’s probably the stupidity.