I don’t know whether I’m more offended as a vegetarian or as someone who is anti-superstition.
The 2010 World Cup — arguably the biggest sporting event in the world — is set to take place in South Africa.
So what are South African leaders doing to prepare the stadiums for competition?
South African traditional leaders plan to perform ritual animal slaughters to bless stadiums for the 2010 World Cup tournament ahead of the start of the showcase event next June, they said on Friday.
Zolani Mkiva, chairman of the Makhonya Royal Trust, a grouping responsible for co-ordinating cultural activities, said the tournament, the first to be held in Africa, needed to be blessed in true “African style.”
“We must have a cultural ceremony of some sort, where we are going to slaughter a beast (cow),” said Mkiva.
“We believe that from the start we’ve got to do things in accordance with our own traditions,” Mkiva said.
Even if this is part of their culture, screw their traditions. How does animal sacrifice do anything for the soccer match? What does it mean to bless the stadium, anyway? Is someone afraid it’s going to collapse?
I suppose we can be thankful that their traditions don’t involve human sacrifice and female circumcisions…
Omri Ceren at Vagabondish doesn’t see how this makes any sense either:
When people arbitrarily select which indigenous traditions they’re going to highlight for outsiders, that’s a choice. We’re not talking about religion here. We’re talking about a bloody manufactured spectacle across 10 soccer stadiums –- both soccer and stadiums already being a departure from Africa’s “own traditions” –- done to emphasize “style.”
Personally, I don’t think it’s any different from religion. It’s superstitious ritual that has no actual effect on the stadium (or the world).
I hope the World Cup Local Organizing Committee has the good sense to put a stop to this before it gets anywhere.
If you’re not convinced how ridiculous this is, Grahame L. Jones of the LA Times suggests how this scenario would look in another part of the world:
Imagine that it is 1994 again and that the opening game of the World Cup is about to take place at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Or perhaps it’s the first game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, or at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, or at any of the other six venues used during the ’94 tournament.
Now, imagine the crowds outside the stadium, the fans in a festive and anticipatory mood, children among them. Now imagine a cow being led on a rope to a designated spot outside the stadium and having its throat cut and its blood drained as part of the pregame ritual.
Unthinkable? You bet. Sickening? Absolutely.
It wouldn’t be allowed here and it shouldn’t be allowed there.
(Thanks to Donna for the link)