Mood: don't ask
Topic: "Horn of Africa (2)"
France and Italy will square off later this week in a mind-numbing athletic contest to determine the winner of what is known as "The World Cup." For what seems like hours, young men will run back-and-forth in searing heat in the attempt to deposit more balls into a rectangular net than will their opponents. It is an emotional sport, primarily because of the nationalistic fervor which the competition inspires. Frodo remembers a trip to Germany many years ago just when Russia (then USSR) and Germany were squaring off in such a contest, and he was startled to hear fans of each team refer to the pending contest as "Revenge for Stalingrad." It was a synonym not easily forgotten by any who were vaguely familiar with the horrors of that struggle.
The globalization of this small, blue planet is set aside when national flags fly from packed stadiums. Frodo assumed that this would be a continuing series of events until space aliens replace teams drawn from national boundaries. Last week however, Frodo was reminded of the barbarous Orcs who intrude on the games. In Somalia, a land that has no nationalistic principle at all, the authoritative religious leaders of the majority Islamic faith put the viewing of the World Cup off limits to their faithful subjects. For violation of this edict, two young men were executed for having watched one of the games on a television set.
Dear reader try to imagine, if you will, what might have happened had the two unfortunates been caught dancing? There are places in Middle Earth where that activity is forbidden because it also violates an edict directed to the pious and the faithful. The consumption of tea and coffee are similarly forbidden, and gambling, well even the less righteous are aware of the despair that brings to the faithful. Frodo is well aware that history is chronicle to the cruelty of men-to-men in the name of faith.
Boys die because they watch a soccer match on television in the 21st Century. The global planet is a study in extremes, and degree. Just ask Ralph Reed what kind of behavior he thinks should be restricted.