Sunday afternoons are proverbially meant for relaxation and time with that simultaneously oddest and most ‘natural’ of social institutions called ‘the family’. And what better way apparently to relax than to watch the Euro 2020 Final between England and Italy, both vying yesterday, July 11, for the trophy after a long drought: Italy last won it in 1968 and England last won any major international football tournament in 1966 when it lifted the World Cup with a 4-2 defeat over Germany. England has never owned the European Cup. But England is nothing if it is not a football nation: however, though it is scarcely alone in its passion, its fans are singular in having earned a notoriety all their own. Indeed, the American journalist Bill Buford wrote in 1990 an engaging book on football hooliganism, Among the Thugs, focusing largely on English football fans from Manchester United with whom he traveled to many matches. He found these football hooligans, whose devotion to their team rivals in intensity the religious feelings that the devout have for their faith, also shared some traits with those English who are affiliated to the white nationalist party, the National Front. More pointedly, as he was caught in riots among these football fans in 1990 in Sardinia where the World Cup was being played, he unexpectedly found the violence to be ‘pleasurable’. Violence, he wrote of these football fanatics, ‘is their antisocial kick, their mind-altering experience, an adrenaline-induced euphoria’ that shares ‘many of the same addictive qualities that characterize synthetically-produced drugs.’Continue reading
Today, at 10 AM (California time), the Reverend James M. Lawson, one of the principal architects of the “civil rights movement”, and at the age of 92 an extraordinary fount of energy who remains a peerless example of the practitioner of nonviolence who leads by his moral example, and I–together with Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, a lifelong activist in human rights struggles–will be taking part in an hour-long panel discussion on “Gandhi, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Continuing Quest for Justice and Peace”. Rev. Lawson was last seen on the national stage just a few weeks ago, when he was called upon to speak at the funeral ceremonies for Representative John Lewis, a long-time Congressman from Georgia who was one of Lawson’s proteges in Nashville where the nonviolence training workshop was pioneered by Lawson. John Lewis, of course, went on to become a major figure in the movement, taking part in the freedom rides, becoming the head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and, perhaps most famously, marching alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Selma. Rev. Lawson delivered a stirring funeral oration for John Lewis.