CAIRO — Relatives and angry young men rampaged through the Egyptian city of Port Said on Saturday in assaults that killed at least 27 people following death sentences for local fans involved in the country's worst bout of soccer violence. Unrest surrounding the second anniversary of Egypt's revolution also broke out in Cairo and other cities for a third day, with protesters clashing for hours with riot police who fired tear gas that encompassed swaths of the capital's downtown. The divisive verdict and bloodshed highlight challenges being faced by President Mohammed Morsi, who took office seven months ago following an Egyptian revolution that ousted autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak. Critics say Morsi has failed to carry out promised reforms in the country's judiciary and police force, and claim little has improved in the two years after the uprising against Mubarak.
You know, I've never been a fan of spectator sports. Well ... maybe baseball. When watching a baseball game, I can take a nap in the middle of the game in full confidence that when I wake up I won't have missed anything.
Not so, apparently, if "my game" might be ... Soccer!
Oh, it's not just the Egyptians. I seem to recall having heard about something called "Manchester United". (Did I say that right? I don't want to get anybody mad at me for an innocent typo.)
So, I'm going to take my life in my hands, and talk about both Soccer and Egyptian Politics. Since I don't know anything about either, it's safe to say that I'm a total dork and I should just go shoot myself.
(For those Egyptians and Soccer fans reading this: There, I've already said it for you, don't feel obligated to send me a death threat unless you have something more creative to say than that. On the other hand, if you were all THAT creative ... why would you be watching Soccer Games, or even reading this trip, for goodness sakes? Why aren't you writing poetry or a book or sculpting a statue of Pele?)
Several points were made in the article which just scream for attention, similar to American Soldiers burning Vietnamese Villages (aka John Kerry):
Why are soccer fans condemned to die? I know they're drunken (in an islamic state?) loud, aggressive and obnoxious ... I get that. Why hang them?
After all, the contingent which has been condemned were key players in ousting Mubarak in favor of the current president, Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi.
The divisive verdict and bloodshed highlight challenges being faced by President Mohammed Morsi, who took office seven months ago following an Egyptian revolution that ousted autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak. Critics say Morsi has failed to carry out promised reforms in the country's judiciary and police force, and claim little has improved in the two years after the uprising against Mubarak.Wow. This sounds serious. If democracy has finally reared its ugly head in NE Africa, and the consequences are that soccer fans are to be hanged by the neck until dead Dead DEAD ... why don't they just over-run Somalia while they're at it? I'll be there are a LOT of Soccer fans in Mogadishu.
The Islamist leader, Egypt's first freely elected and civilian president, met for the first time with top generals as part of the newly formed National Defense Council to discuss the deployment of troops in two cities. The military was deployed to Port Said hours after the verdict was announced, and warned that a curfew could be declared in areas of unrest. The military was also deployed to the canal city of Suez, where protesters attacked the main security compound there after eight people were killed late Friday.
Incidentally, Somalia is not a "Gun Free Zone" ... what folks in America call "Target Rich Environments" aka "Shopping Malls". Instead almost everybody in Somalia has a gun, even if they don't really know how to shoot accurately. This is, like "Spray-And-Pray City", right? Maybe that has something to do with Morsi's decision to kill his own citizens instead of going to war?
Okay, so it's a lot easier to hang soccer fanatics than to run a patrol of Humvees through downtown Mogadishu. I guess even Bill Clinton figured that one out ... eventually.
Anyhooo ... so Morsi deployed
This sounds a LOT like Americans insisting that the Feds "Do Something" about School and Mall Massacres. Please note: This is what it looks like when "The Government" decides to "Do Something".
Apparently, not everybody is a Morsi fan ... Manchester United? Maybe. Morsi? Probably not.
Survivors and witnesses said Mubarak loyalists had a hand in instigating last year's attack, which began Feb. 1 after Port Said's home team Al-Masry won a match, 3-1, against Cairo's Al-Ahly. Some say "hired thugs" wearing green T-shirts posing as Al-Masry fans led the attacks.Last year's attack? You mean .. this isn't an isolated event? Is it possible that ... :The Islamist leader, Egypt's first freely elected and civilian president" isn't universally adulated? My, he's beginning to sound more like Barack Hussein Obama all the time! Fortunately, we don't have all that many Rabid Soccer Fans in The States. Many of us spend our spare time competing in shooting sports, instead of getting drunk and rioting at Soccer games.
Others say, at the very least, police were responsible for gross negligence in the Feb. 1 soccer brawl that killed 74 Al-Ahly fans.
Who knows? After Barack takes out guns, our magazines, and our ammunition away .. what else is there to do besides watching soap operas on the Telly (aka Great Britain) and rioting at Soccer Games (aka .. well, okay .. Great Britain; but apparently Egypt, too.)
I'll get back to you on that one. I didn't think it through.
Oh dear. THAT one was a surprise!
Anger at police was evident in Port Said, home to most of the 73 men accused of involvement in the bloodshed, although the trial was held outside Cairo.
Judge Sobhi Abdel-Maguid did not give his reasoning when he handed down the sentences for 21 defendants. Executions in Egypt are usually carried out by hanging.
- Seventy three defendents?
- Change of venue?
- Judge did NOT "give his reasoning" when he sentenced 21 men to death by hanging?
Well .. no. Actually, there is more to be found in other resources:
From the Israeli Nation News: "Street clashes kill at least 30 people in Egypt's Port Said, after 21 soccer fans sentenced to death over a bloody stadium riot"
From CNN: "Clashes erupt after Egypt court sentences 21 to death in football riot"
There are pictures! And a little bit more information:
"Fans from both sides"? So .. this wasn't a "mall massacre", but a riot? And there were 22,000 people at the match, but the convictions were returned only against members of the 2,000 Al-Ahly (I have no idea what that means)? They were the only ones who were sentenced to be hung?Dubbed the "massacre at Port Said" by Egyptian media, the riot broke out on February 1, 2012, after Port Said-based Al-Masry defeated Cairo's Al-Ahly, 3-1.When the clashes began, about 22,000 people were inside the stadium, which can hold up to 25,000 people. About 2,000 Al-Ahly fans were at the game, authorities said.Fans from both sides bashed each other with rocks and chairs. Many of those who died fell from the bleachers during the melee inside the stadium, while others suffocated.
I suppose that you're waiting for some kind of Solomon-like Summary which puts the whole thing into perspective. Sorry, I still can't pretend to understand what's going on 'over there'. *(Or over here!)*
Hell, I don't even understand why people like to watch Soccer. Or American Football, for that matter!
Perhaps you can shed some light on these events. Provide some perspective, as it were.
I'm reminded of the Judaic proverb:
"Man plans; God laughs"
This sounds too sad for laughter, to my ear. They're just people, and they don't sound all that different from the folks in my home town.
Well, except for the Soccer.
And the riots.
And the murders.
And the mass executions.