The “round witch”… Hitler hated her, and Mussolini used her
The “round witch”… Hitler hated her, and Mussolini used her
Frenchman Michael Correa looks at his origins and journeys in “A Popular History of Football”.
Thursday – 15th of Jumada al-Awwal 1444 Hijri – 8 December 2022. Issue number [
Cairo: Hamdy Abdeen
Through the five parts that make up his book “A Popular History of Football”, French author Michael Correa focuses on the political role of football (the round witch) as the world’s first popular game and how it was used as a tool to serve Mussolini’s fascism and Hitler’s Nazism, which became famous during his reign.Torturing and killing many players as punishment for their political views. Hitler hated football and preferred boxing, but the great popularity of football among the Germans forced the Fuhrer to absorb and integrate it into National Socialist doctrine, in German stadiums as well as abroad. The soccer players were supposed to be proud ambassadors of the Third Reich, and after emblazoning their shirts with Nazi heraldry, they had to perfectly perform the Hitler salute and the new national anthem. Nazis, because they easily succumb to Hitler’s rule.
In his book, the Arabic version of which was published by the Egyptian Dar Al-Mirrors for Culture and Art, translated by the Egyptian writer Mohamed Abdel-Fattah El-Sebaei, the author talks about the historical roots of football from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. century, and before that, and followed its path until it evolved into its current form. As a major industry, beginning with its exploitation by employers in Britain during the Industrial Revolution to divert the energy of the working class from any protests, then by the clergy who saw it as an ideal tool to preserve working-class youth from moral decline, until it did not reach the game in which politics sometimes interfered with its ugly face and exploited it to achieve certain goals and interests.
And in the footsteps of Nazism, General Franco, the ruler of Spain, followed his practice, he and his men, and went to cheer Real Madrid at the expense of Barcelona, a team that the Spanish dictator hated so much. The author talks about what happened in Russia during Stalin’s time, “from 1922 to 1952”, and how the Bolsheviks tried to control football and lead it to serve their interests, after the powerful there saw that it had become a Soviet passion, but their attempts failed, and the party could not control it. The popular frenzy against the club Spartak, for example, and the violent transgressions of its fans masked a political sense. In a country like the former Soviet Union, “the football club you support and belong to was a choice you made yourself, of your own free will, in one of the rare moments when you have freedom.” To join or not to join a community and express yourself without restrictions. There were many teams in Moscow, each of which represented a social group, and most of the fans of “Spartak” were from the lower classes, while “Club CSKA” was associated with the Red Army, unlike “Dynamo Moscow” which was established is the Ministry of Internal Affairs, so the scene seemed to include various bodies of Soviet society, but in a totalitarian Stalinist society that allowed few individual freedoms, football allowed everyone to support their favorite team and choose their own heroes, far from those determined by the state apparatus .
Almost 6 centuries before Stalin’s time, Nicholas de Varandoni, mayor of London, issued a decree in April 1314, in the name of King Edward II of England, forbidding, on pain of imprisonment, “playing football in the city,” under the pretext of keeping the peace in absentia Edward II., who was at war in Scotland, and to besiege the noise which pervaded the city by the playing of matches in the public stadiums, and in anticipation of the evil that might result therefrom.
Correa devotes an entire chapter to discussing women’s football in Britain and its transformation from a moral rejection stemming from a patriarchal society that viewed shorts as a symbol of decadence, to strong sponsorship by industry leaders and then the government at the beginning of the second decade. of the twentieth century, and then we retreated again, and the tendency was to prevent this and dismiss the players because the social context at the beginning of the last century was not inclined to emancipation. women who waited fifty years for the lifting of the ban on playing football.
In the third part of the book, he talks about Brazil, where sports officials in the fifties of the last century viewed dark-skinned players as “less intelligent than others, without the necessary combativeness and the necessary sense of responsibility for any team match. “
And Correa states that at the 1958 World Cup, the technical committee of the Brazilian Football Confederation invited a psychiatrist to select mentally healthy players for the competition. Psychologist Joao Carvalhaes assessed Pele as “unequivocally childish, without the necessary fighting spirit and sense of responsibility needed for any team game”, and said of Garrincha that “his intelligence is below average, and he should not participate in high-pressure matches because its Lack of necessary ferocity.” He based his judgment on the fact that they are black-skinned, and he came in response to the opinion of those responsible for sports in the country, who suffered from “Maracana shock” that hit them on the 20th in their own backyard, as a result of the World Cup defeat to Uruguay 1950, so they returned.It was caused by the dark-skinned goalkeeper Barbosa, condemned to live as an outcast in his own country, and became a symbol of misfortune to the extent that he was prevented from attending any match or training session of the Brazilian national team, and the entire the football system there was mired in controversy over the “whiteness” of its players.
These racist concepts forced Vincente Viola, the coach of the national team, as soon as they arrived in Sweden for the 1958 World Cup, not to include Pele and Garrincha in the first matches against Austria and then England. But after a goalless draw with England, the coach put them in the starting line-up in an attempt to defeat the formidable Soviet Union, and because of these two players, the Selecao turned into a goal-scoring machine, as Soviet defender Boris Kuznetsov was the victim of Garrinch’s dribbling, and Pele scored the winning goal in the quarter-final against Wales Before he scored a hat-trick in the semi-final against France, and in the final, the clash was symbolic between the tall, blond Swedes and the smaller, darker and black Brazilians, and the match ended in victory for Brazil.
Correa explains how the ball was a means of resistance to racism, and how it became a weapon used by Algerians to get rid of the French colonizers, and tells the story of the participation of Algerian professional players in a series of French clubs in the war of liberation of their country. He also talks about Palestinian football clubs and how the Israeli occupation sought to shut them down from the beginning after the settlers in Tel Aviv felt that this could be a way to prevent confiscation and the establishment of a national home, but this persecution, siege and restriction of movement that was increasing with the entry of the Hebrew state into historical phases. It was faced with popular uprisings and revolutions on the Palestinian side, which were always led by football players and other athletes.
And from Palestine in Western Asia, to sub-Saharan Africa, the French occupation there saw that any victory that the colonial teams could achieve against their colonizers would gain serious importance and that the black masses would use it as a motive for rebellion, but this concern did not prevent the colonial teams in expansion and enlargement, and “putting the French occupation forces in a position of infiltration”, the number of clubs in the French West Africa region increased from 184 in 1943 to 438 in 1957, and this increase in football teams was reflected in many forms of anti-colonial sentiment, and their manifestations happened and seemed clear. In the 1960s with the achievement of independence.
In the book, the French version of which was published by the publishing house “Ladycovert”, Correa points out that football was born globalized, as the sailors of English imperialism brought it to the shores of the world. In Brazil, the ball was officially introduced on April 14, 1895, when a Brazilian of British origin organized the first match, which was related to fun games between crews of English ships. This was the case in many other countries, including France, where the arrival of football through the port of Le Havre in 1871 led to the establishment of the first French team, through the Le Havre Sporting Club.
It is significant that Mikael Correa works in the electronic platform “Media Part”, and previously worked in the newspaper “Le Monde Diplomatique”, with a contribution to the founding of the publication “CQFD” specialized in social criticism. -Akhbar” translated four books into French, the most significant of which are the book “Violence and Politics in the Middle East… From Sykes-Picot to the Arab Spring” and the book “Intellectuals, Sex and Revolution… Prostitutes and Bachelors in the Nineteenth Century.”