Monday, May 16, 2005

Back in 1998 when Brazil lost the world cup to France, i was convinced that Ronaldo had been poisoned (remember the mysterious convulsions that led to him being taken to hospital the day before the big game?). What else could explain Ronaldo's dreadfully sub-par performance as Zidane had his way on the field? The bitterness of that day, of course, has subsequently been overshadowed by Brazil's 2002 championship over Germany, with a 2-0 win courtesy of Ronaldo himself.

Today, Ronaldo was visiting occupied Palestine, and even though he was there on an ostensibly non-political visit as a good will ambassador with the UN, the very fact that an internationally adored figure like him was visiting palestinians in a friendly setting, standing in front of a Palestinian flag, and wearing a scarf with the map of Palestine, is a huge deal. In the days when you can't say anything positive about Palestinians without a thousand and one disclaimers lest you appear "anti-semitic" or "pro-terrorist" (and I am talking about what you can say in the "West", the rest of the world is thankfully semi-sane still when it comes to this issue), Ronaldo's brave actions are much needed. And it doesn't surprise me, by the way, that it is a south-American (read: non-white) superstar who has stepped up to the plate on this issue.

I guess it goes without saying that I will be cheering for another Brazilian win in 2006. Boy will it be sweet to beat the Germans on their home turf.