World Cup Football: Final Thoughts

Child labor 1Photo courtesy: for non-profit, educational use — The National.

World Cup: Thoughts on the Finals, and Some Final Thoughts.

Okay, wonderful. International Labor Organization (ILO) says Pakistan eliminated child labor in their football (soccer) manufacturing industry. If you didn’t know, small boys and girls used to make most of the $140 billion products — for very little money. I don’t know how much the adults are making now.

But I read a report in The Guardian that the ban on child labor in Pakistan football-making industry has driven the poor children into worse jobs. But nobody talks about it.

Now, Even if that ILO report is truthful assessment (which I do not believe will eliminate poverty for these families, unless there is supportive economy and government, and there isn’t any), then why can’t they use that model to end child labor in other sports and entertainment areas?

Why are they still allowing Disney to make toys and costumes in other poor countries, and in China, violating human rights? Here is a 2018 report.

Why are they not stopping child slavery in the fishery and seafood industry? Here is a 2018 report.

The chocolate industry in Ivory Coast? Here is a recent study.

Garment industry in Bangladesh? A 2016 report is here.

Firecrackers industry in India? Here’ another 2016 report.

Why is there zero media coverage on the enormous sex trafficking and porn industry? Read this 2016 story by a young woman who was a sex slave to Europe’s elite at the age of six.

Did you know that next to weapons and drugs, sex- and porn-related business is the third largest?

Before watching the World Cup final game on Sunday, can you think about the 2000+ migrant workers who already died building the football stadiums in Qatar, site of the next World Cup in 2022? Oh, you didn’t know? Okay, read this 2017 report.

Qatar’s human rights record is absolutely miserable, and they don’t care about activist pressures.

I’m telling you that unless you come up with an alternative, sustainable, humane economy, the so-called elimination of child labor and slavery — like the one in Pakistan’s football-manufacturing industry — would not work. I don’t care what ILO says.

Find out what is going on. As I tell my students every time I teach, “Don’t believe a single world I say. Do your own research.”

That is, of course, if you care. If not, have fun. Don’t even bother. Watch you finals.

Sincerely Yours,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Football, Cricket, or Politics: Why I’m Never Going to Support England

Bengal Famine 1943It is the biggest lie that England invented football. Or, soccer.

I mean, do you believe that in five thousand years of glorious history of China, Egypt, India, Inca, Maya, Aztec, Arabia or Africa, nobody ever knew that playing a ball with feet was possible? With a set of rules?

Like in Bengali we say, “Shala, what garbage!” This white supremacist violent axis of evil killed us in the stomach, looted our countries, made us poor, and put our brains to sleep too. And we praise them!

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A labor union leader here in New York whom I respect a lot just told me he read about the British-created famine in Ireland, driving mass exodus of Irish immigrants, who were treated in USA like animals.

So, I told him how we read about the biological aspects of the Irish famine back in Calcutta: the fungus causing Late Blight of Potato, etc. But we didn’t know the political history then. They never told us.

We thought maybe, it happened out of thin air. Actually, we didn’t think anything. Thinking was not a part of our education. That is, the education British shoved down our throats. Or, down other body parts.

What we knew though is that British powers violently colonized India in 1757, and in ten years, we saw a historic, unthinkable famine that killed millions. And five years before they left India in 1947 after sucking our blood, we saw another Great Famine caused by Churchill that killed three million people only in Bengal.

Bengal and India never knew what hunger and death out of starvation was. British powers in two hundred years transformed one of the richest countries into one of the poorest. They never apologized for their tyranny. There was never any demand of reparation the South Africa way.

Our “independent” rulers sucked up to them, and later, to American powers.

FOOTNOTE:¬†Shashi Tharoor’s book Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India¬†says that in 1703 (before their violent occupation), India was 24% of the world economy. One and a half centuries of occupation, 1903, India was reduced to only 4% of the world economy. The British plunder was unprecedented in history. But Indian history books don’t discuss simple arithmetics.

If you are even thinking of supporting the British supremacist, violent, looting, lying hegemony, please, you are not my friend. I shall never support any British hogwash.

Is it important to talk politics during the 24/7 World Cup fun? You bet it is. This is the best time to do it. Especially when Indians and Americans are going gaga with British football.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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World Cup Begins. I Refuse to Follow It.

Putin world cupPhoto courtesy (for non-profit, one-time use): Daily Beast.
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In this day and age, when nobody cares to read, or think, I am almost sure nobody outside of my few close friends and followers would read this post either. But because I have no other power than writing, I do this stupidity one more time: express my honest, heartfelt feelings.

I was a huge football (soccer) fan, and actually, quite a good player too. In Calcutta (Kolkata) where I grew up, football back in those days was the biggest sport. We played alley football (with a baseball-size rubber ball), and we also played field football (using an old, worn-out size 5 football with an inflatable rubber bladder inside the thick, rough leather skin). A number of times, at various leagues — mostly neighborhood leagues — I won the top scorer award, winning a small silver cup or more often a towel, which I flaunted to my classmates and family members.

Injuries were very common. Had countless doctor visits and minor surgeries. Then, playing cricket on a neighborhood London park, I broke my knee, ending my football career once and for all. Then, I coached for a while in upstate New York.

Some of my friends and I were almost like encyclopedia of football history. How many goals Pele scored in 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970 World Cup. How disingenuous was Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal. How England players brutally hurt Pele in 1966, and referee was silent! How Argentina’s Mario Kempes, Or Italy’s Paolo Rossi became household names overnight. And then, the long list of celebrity players like Socrates, Eusebio, Gordon Banks, Cryuff, Platini, Zidane, Roberto Carlos, Cameroon’s West-undermined Roger Milla…all the way to today’s Germany’s seven goals against Brazil … to Spain’s Xavi and Iniesta … to Neymar, Ronaldo and Messi … I can really give you a one-hour fun presentation on football.

Nobody knows, but our Calcutta was our champion Brazil. We loved Brazil, and we loved football.

But I don’t follow World Cup anymore — just the same way I have now unfollowed cricket and Olympics.

World Cup football, just like World Cup cricket and Olympics, has now become anything but sports. It has lost its gamesmanship, and billions of dollars of profit and corporate advertisements have taken over. Practically, all the major outcomes are pre-determined, and fixed. Players and clubs are extremely rich, making billions, and they couldn’t care less about the unbelievable income and wealth disparity the world sees right now. Players — except for a small few like Drogba of Ivory Coast — don’t care about the unthinkable poverty, health crisis, environmental crisis, and illiteracy their own countries see right now, let alone the vast number of unfortunate around the world.

Olympics and World Cup games are now huge distractions created by big media worldwide to distract people’s attention from real-life issues. The games have become one more powerful weapon in the arsenal of the ruling class, who divert people’s attention from issues such as the children who make the balls, boots, jerseys, and countless items these big events use — earning slave wages. Million of poor workers — countless child labor included — live and work in abominable conditions. Nobody cares to talk about them, and their lifelong suffering.

Football stadiums are built using blood and sweat of hapless immigrant workers. Millions of impoverished people are displaced, and their homes are neighborhoods are destroyed. Those who protest are thrown in jails, or killed mercilessly.

Russia is now a new ruthless, violent power, with dubious connections with autocrats, supremacists, and crazy megalomaniacs like Trump. But these few weeks, nobody will talk about them. Nobody will talk about Putin. Media will make us forget all about it.

In 2022, four years from now, Qatar will host World Cup football. Already, thousands of slave-like workers have died in the desert, building stadiums. Workers from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and such countries in particular. Nobody cares to talk about them either.

It has truly become an era of post reason. Nobody wants to know the truth.

I refuse to be a part of this inhumane, cruel, violent, exploitative history, in the name of fun. I refuse to follow these games.

I hope you join me too.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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