We must protect world cup for its many benefits

سح

Most people agree that there should be no place for prejudice in world cup. Only a small and toxic minority hold hateful views – but when they voice them, it still causes immense harm. So how, in these polarized times, do we reach and mobilize as broad an audience as possible against hatred? There are ways like launching campaigns or join research groups that study social behaviors and examine public attitudes to race, integration etc. But as world cup kicked off, a stage as broad as that, could become the voice of unity where everyone could have a chance of exhibiting less divisive acts or hooliganism.

No one’s color, race or political affiliation should every be inundated with activities of racism or terrorism or expressions of disgust or violence. World cup is a chance to talk about things that unite us than divide us. A passion-driven sport like football should never promote radicalism or fundamentalism of any kind whether it be a coach or a player. Everyone should be advised and urged not to represent prejudice or positions of extremism or radical thinking whether in a press conference or on a twitter account. They are watched and focused by media zealots and sports analysts.

In a recent example of neglected ideas that went rather viral on twitter an Iranian footballer who plays as a forward and whose name is Mahdi Taremi tweeted an old memo from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei peddling the destruction of Israel that simply reminds us of positions most Iranian hardliners stand.

Such examples that echo an ugly and illegitimate call for the extermination of a country during world cup should not be tolerated. These people deserve to be banned for their hate speech. It does not belong in a stage like world cup. There must be some way to prevent comments like that too. May be these footballers need to be vetted before being send to a world stage. For the sake of world cup let’s unite against bigotry and hatred and cherish world cup for its many encouraging benefits for our societies. We must protect it.

About the Author
Elnaz Sotoodeh is from Tehran. She is an English translator for several news websites.
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