July 14 2006
Zidane head-butted an
opponent in the final of the World Cup 2006. He was sent off.
But suppose his opponent accused him to be a terrorist (Zidane has
Suppose his opponent tried to cripple him by kicking him against his
ankles. The Dutch national trainer Van Basten had to stop playing
football because he was hit too much.
Zidane, Van Basten and scores of others are powerless against
opponents that use sneaky methods to prevent that players can use
their dazzling skills. Referees seldom take action against rough
It is even worse. A referee
that punishes rough players too much (as happened in the match
Portugal-Holland) is not accepted by the bosses.
But I do not write about
football, I write about power that is central in human relations.
What can you do when you are
time and again attacked?
What should you do when referees are not punishing offenders?
What do you think when the bosses permit illegal actions?
Maybe you do the same as Zidane and take the law in your own
In football players earn a
lot of money and the public get a lot of pleasure – the Romans said
already a long time ago: “Give the people Bread and Games and you can
rule forever” (see Chpater 6 of About
Violence and Democracy).
What do you do when referees
in the real world only punish masspeople that take the law in their
What do you do when you are time and again kicked in real life?
Something is terrible wrong in our world when people blow up
hundreds of masspeople as just happened in India. But who is the
real culprit, who causes that people act in this way? I think f.e.
of the Indian elite who cannot solve the Indian problems and see
what happened in Bombay.
Masspeople have a
They must accept everything that is decided high-up till the
bucket is full. Then they hit back and they are right (but mostly
not in their methods).
Just as Zidane they attack fellow-masspersons, not the invisible
elitepeople behind the screens.
Masspeople have no hope on a
better future, on a life that is comparable with the life of the
referees and their bosses.
Can you reproach these powerless people that they take the law in
their own hands?
Can you reproach Zidane to attack an opponent that transgressed the
line that separates nice from less nice people?
I applaud when some people
become active because enough is enough. Some people suddenly
want to break the overall control of the elite.
But mostly I do not agree with the methods. Masspeople mostly attack
only their own kind, they hardly attack people with power.
Just as Zidane instinctively attacked a fellow-player and not the
referee or the president of the FIFA.
It does not interest leaders in the football world or in the real
world what happens down under. They take the easiest way out by
punishing the perpetrators and not by looking at the reasons why an
attractive player as Zidane did what he did. And why should they,
the elite lives on its eliteworld that is not disturbed by this kind
of actions of masspeople.
I prefer actions that will
close the gap between mass- and eliteworld, actions that not hurt
masspeople but target those people that defend the existing
world-order. These elitepeople only want to continue to live on
their safe and privileged eliteworld.
Anyhow I cannot reject activities of people who are time and again
hurt by actions of people who live elsewhere.
I only wish they should
find better targets.
Yours truly, Joost van Steenis