Thursday, December 5, 2019

Racism in the Black Friday of Italian football

Stories and News No. 1182
 
Italy football newspaper Corriere dello Sport presented the upcoming match between Inter and Roma with an infamous title.
Here is how the editor, Ivan Zazzaroni, explains that: “Whites, blacks, Yellow. Denying the

difference is the typical macroscopic stumbling block of anti-racism’s racism. Black Friday, to those who want and can understand it, was and is only the praise of difference, the pride of difference, the magnificent wealth of difference.”

Well… I have a different opinion about what a difference is.
Lukaku and Smalling. The former is a striker. One who craves the goal. Who tries to see the net dancing thanks to its own aim, his strength or even the luck of having succeeded in defeating his greatest enemy, the last guardian and protector of the result until proven otherwise. In short, the goalkeeper.
The latter is a defender. One that prevents the goal. Who tries to keep the friendly door safe with his quick reflexes, through dedication to the cause, or just the good fortune of being at the right moment in the perfect place. To finally win against his main opponent. The hostile ram, the tip of the antagonist spear. In one word, the striker.
Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku, facing each other.
Chris is an English citizen of Jamaican descent, while the Romelu is Belgian with parents from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And if you will have the opportunity to meet them one evening at dinner, to listen to the story of their respective childhoods and adolescences, you could find that there are an infinite number of original nuances coming to light from children of immigrants in distinct places in the old continent. Because Antwerp is completely different from the London borough of Greenwich. Because every father, each mother, foreign or not, raises their offspring incomparably. And because we all react according to our own nature to the inclusion or intolerance by others over the doorstep.
Lukaku against Smalling, for one night.
The former is not married and has no children, while the latter has a wife and is a father. Even just for this fundamental aspect, between the two there is an ocean of experiences to divide them.
Among all, the exact moment when you realize that your partner has gave you the gift she was carrying. Because for the first time you see with the naked eye the miracle you have played a small part in and take him – or her – in your arms, hoping to be able to deserve with love and commitment, day after day, to be an accomplice of such a wonder.
Smalling that challenges Lukaku, and the latter accept the fight.
The former lost his father when he was just five years old, while the latter’s dad is still alive and is a former footballer, as is his brother and cousin. So, imagine what it means to take the football field, from an early age, with the certainty that your father will be there every time in the stands, even just beyond the fence of the first pitches of the debut. Or not having it at all, except the hope that somewhere up there, he will find a free cloud to cheer for you.
Lukaku, Smalling, twenty-six years old, the first, thirty the second, which for an athlete is an enormous time. Because in four years and as many seasons you can win everything and lose all. Being celebrated as a champion or whistled as the most resounding loser.
Smalling, was converted to veganism by his partner and Lukaku is a fervent Catholic who went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, with all that makes life and the daily choices peculiar.
Lukaku lives and plays in Milan, Smalling does the same, but in Rome. And tell me which city citizen of both could say that their experiences are the same.
So on, below, every distinction that can be easily understood and completely relevant becomes evident. Especially if we had the interest and the time to discover the two human beings behind the role, running and kicking a ball on the field or beyond the TV screen.
Suddenly, an infinite quantity of essential and noteworthy aspects would become obvious, a real myriad of significant details, which make two people unique, as many lives and personal stories.
Smalling, Lukaku. Lukaku and Smalling.
If only we could do it, it would certainly not suffice a single post to list how many differences between everyone of us we could praise, recognize as a reason for pride and richness, before arriving at the colour of the skin...


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