Stuart Ballan
Businessman, dad, published author, cyclist

The Israel/Gaza war explained in terms of football

Imagine it’s Saturday, 7th October, and capacity crowds, spanning families of several generations, are watching 2 great football games, filling both Wembley Stadium in London, and Old Trafford in Manchester. You might be a spectator at one of the games. Hopefully not.

As the stadiums are lit up with the smiles and joy of the crowds, and echo the roar of the famous “You’ll never walk alone” football song, without any warning, terrorists appear from nowhere and attack the full capacity crowds.

Machine guns, grenades, RPGs, and more.

Gunfire, explosions, panic, screams, hysteria, running, blood, body parts, desperate WhatsApp “I love you” messages.

From “You’ll never walk alone“, to being alone, in seconds.

Where is safe? On the pitch? Staying where you are? Heading towards an already crushing exit? Lying down? Playing dead? Praying? Hugging? Protecting your kids? Your mum? Your dad? You have seconds to decide. Yet there is no right answer. You can’t know. You just have to be lucky. But many won’t be.

Imagine 32,500 UK football supporters either dead, wounded or taken hostage

Taking the number of Israeli dead, wounded and hostages, pro-rata to the UK population, that works out to be a massive, and unimaginable 32,500 UK football supporters, either dead, wounded or taken hostage.

That’s a shocking 43% of those at the Old Trafford game, and over one third of those at the Wembley game.

About 9,500 dead, 21,500 wounded and 1,500 taken hostage; babies, children, grandparents, all in the UK, and just because they went to a football match.

Two of the UK’s most iconic football stadiums are strewn with the dead and the wounded. The hostages, many of them bloodied, are gone; already taken away.

It didn’t have to be a football match. It could have been ColdPlay, Queen, or whoever, playing to a packed audience at Wembley stadium, the UK’s largest concert venue. Call it a “music festival”, like the one in Israel on 7th October. And still, over one third of Wembley concert goers would have been killed, wounded or taken hostage.

In a couple of days, the bodies will have been taken away, yet the smell, the bloodstains, the football scarves, the bags, the shoes, and more will still remain for some time, and these 2 stadiums will carry the scars and the ghosts of the terror attacks forever.

And over the next hours and days, as the details bubble to the surface, you learn you know more and more of the people directly involved, as do many others you know. And that in addition to murdering, wounding and taking hostage innocent football supporters, the terrorists raped, burned alive, shot at point bank range, and tore babies out of pregnant women and then killed both.

Invest a few minutes to digest and to think about that. And of the direct families and friends of the dead, wounded and hostages struggling to come to terms with their new realities.

No, REALLY think about it.

FEEL it.

And as a little more food for thought, imagine you’re collecting your kids from the kindergarten or from school, when suddenly, the incoming rocket warning sirens start blaring, rockets stream across the sky, you hear multiple bone-shaking,  explosions, and your terrified kids look up at you to be saved from this insanity.

The cancer had to be removed

You know where the terrorists are located. Your government and military know more, including who all their leaders are, and probably where most of them are located.

How would you want your country, your government, your air force, your army, to act against the terrorists, to prevent such an atrocity from ever happening again?

Take those thoughts and feelings, and try to understand why Israel has to extinguish the Hamas; a terrorist organization that uses their own families, and the local Gaza population, to selfishly try to protect themselves.

Once you understand that the Hamas’ value for life is diametrically opposite to all your values of life, and that all these terrorists want to do is kill innocent people, you’ll start to understand why this cancer has to be removed.

Yet, removing cancer is never simple and has its risks. In any complex cancer operation, innocent organs and veins can get damaged.

But the cancer had to be removed.

About the Author
Originally from England, Stuart Ballan moved to Israel in 1997. He has over 25 years business and B2B sales experience working in companies of every size, including his own. Stuart holds an MBA from the Kellogg-Recanati Executive MBA program and was the President of the Kellogg-Recanati Alumni Club from 2002 to 2012. He's dad to 2 great adult kids, and is the author of 2 children's books, with his first book selling 10,000 copies, here in Israel. He's also a keen off-road cyclist.
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