30 July 2007

Is Soccer the Answer?

Iraq delivered an inspirational soccer victory Sunday by winning for the first time ever the Asian Cup with a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia, a beacon of hope for a nation divided by war.

It was an extraordinary triumph for a team drawn together from all parts of the Gulf and with its players straddling bitter and violent ethnic divides.

The jubilation over the team known as the "Lions of the Two Rivers" gave Iraqis a rare respite from the daily violence. The victorious run sent men of all ages cheering and dancing in Baghdad*.

Iraqis welcomed the victory as a chance to show the world they can come together and expressed frustration that their politicians couldn't do the same.

*One sad note - the traditional firing of weapons in the air was discouraged by both the government and from the speakers of the mosques; yet several people were killed when the bullets came back to earth.

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