The UEFA Euro 2012 compettition has been a delight to watch. Unfortunately the multicultural makeup of the teams has revealed an ugly side of European soccer fans:
Multiculturalism, of course, is the bête noire (pun intended) of the racist far right that loves to drape itself in national flags, conjuring up fantasies of racial purity, sometimes with murderous consequences, as in the case of Norwegian killer Anders Breivik. And it's precisely because football represents the most multicultural reflection of an evolving European identity that the game is also a magnet for toxic racism.
Despite the success (so far) of the German team, there have been racist remarks against team members of non-German ethnic backgrounds. Some of the most hateful comments have been directed at Mesut Özil, who was born in Germany, but whose family comes from Turkey. Özil and his father, however, have decided take action:
MUNICH - Mesut Ozil’s management has registered complaints against persons unknown for racist remarks made through social network Twitter.
Ozil’s advisor Roland Eitel on Tuesday said that the move is designed to deter others from similar action. Ozil’s father said that he wants the person(s) to be identified.
Tweets in which Ozil was the target of racist statements occurred during Germany’s last Uefa Euro 2012 group game against Denmark. The user tweeted that Ozil was no real German and that the national team should only consist of players with German names.
Ozil is of Turkish descent and was born in Germany. News reports said the profile was started under the name @PiratenOnline. The name appeared to misuse the big Internet presence of Germany’s Pirates Party, which said it had nothing to do with the tweets and distanced itself from them.
Twitter reportedly closed the account after some 3 000 tweets and protests from other users.
But the abuse doesn't end there. The völkisch-national weekly paper Junge Freiheit heaps scorn on Mesut Özil and his father, noting that while Mesut may technically be a German citizen (Staatsangehörigkeit), he is alien to the German Volk (Volkszugehörigkeit). One gets the sense that the right-wing editors at Junge Freiheit and its neo-Nazi friends would much rather have a racially pure losing team than a winning multicultural team.