Tuesday, June 15, 2010

World Cup Weirdness

The most popular sporting event on the planet is currently unfolding in South Africa: the World Cup of football (or soccer to some). As billions of people around the globe follow the teams playing, the impact of trying to watch has led to some dire results.

As EagleSpeak noted earlier, some football fans in Somalia were executed on the weekend by Islamist militants for the crime of tuning in to catch a game. As reported by The Telegraph's Aislinn Laing, supporters of Hizbul Islam stormed a house near Mogadishu where a group had gathered to watch last Saturday's Nigeria-Argentina match. Ten people were arrested by the militants, and two others were killed. The Islamist militants feel that watching sporting events - like the World Cup - contravenes their interpretation of what is acceptable social behavior in those parts of Somalia under their control.

Today also saw the North Korean team facing off against the event's number one ranked team, Brazil (North Korea is the lowest ranked in the tournament). To their credit, the North Koreans - er, Korea DPRers - managed to score a late game goal against the favored Brazilians, who nevertheless took the match by a score of 2-1.

As the game played out, diplomats met at the United Nations in New York to discuss the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March, which resulted in the death of 46 sailors. As AFP reports, the North Korean ambassador to the UN asked that his countrymen be allowed to conduct their own investigation, including visiting the site of the sinking. He also warned that the Hermit Kingdom might take "military action" should the world body censure his nation over the sinking. Should the Security Council take action against North Korea, the ambassador said that, "follow-up measures will be carried out by our military forces...I [will] lose my job."

Not sure what he meant by the last quip, but, then again, one doesn't want to piss off the Dear Leader back in Pyongyang in any way. And I'm sure the ambassador isn't going to be Tweeting anyone like a few people in South Africa have: "Dear Leader does not know I'm not at work."

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