Monday, February 13, 2006

Iran upset over a soccer related cartoon in a German paper

Recently there has been a lot of debate in Germany about the use of troops to help out with security during the World Cup. On one side you have people who want to use every option available while on the other you have concerns of the troops being seen as an intimidation factor, thus destroying the festive atmosphere around this event. Both sides have points.

However, Der Tagesspiegel, a newspaper in Germany, wanted to make their point by printing the cartoon pictured above. Along with the picture was this message: This is why the German army has to be deployed at the World Cup stadiums.

Needless to say, this has angered Iran and the embassy has demanded a "written apology and measures aimed at rectifying this immoral act."

Personally, I don't understand the cartoon. Does the paper really think the players pose a threat? My confusion only grows when I look at the number of players on Iran's team that play in the various European leagues, include the German league.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I think this cartoon goes against everything that one hopes the World Cup will be. This should be a chance for players from all over the world to test themselves against the best. I'm not saying we all have to like one another, but just for a short time can we put the politics aside and let it be decided on the field?

Here's hoping this situation will calm down and not interfere with a great month of soccer.

Update: It seems that I only posted half of the cartoon last night. Just so you know, I didn't realize that there was more then what you see above. The full cartoon is included at the bottom of this post.

Anyway, the creator says he was actually making fun of the decision to use German troops during the World Cup. As you can see, in the full cartoon, troops from the Bundeswehr are also on the pitch. He and the editor say they were trying to show how out of place both the soldiers and terrorist soccer players look.

Here is what the editor has said:

"The absurdity of the situation is obvious," editor Gerd Appenzeller writes in an opinion piece. No one, he argues, would ever believe that the Iranian team would show up armed -- nor would the Bundeswehr be present on the soccer pitch. "The illustrator makes that clear," he explains. "The Iranians' faces, just like those of the Germans, are those of peaceful everyday people -- the boys next door" -- not rabid terrorists. The paper said it "regretted the Iranian reactions to the caricature" and that it would be hard to explain the domestic political debate over deploying the Bundeswehr during the World Cup to the Iranians.

With the full image and the explanation, I can see what the creator is talking about. However, I think he was still a little too subtle, but then again, I'm not up on the workings of German politics. I am glad to know that he did not mean it to be taken in the way I thought it was said.


Post a Comment

<< Home