The Legend of Wooley Swamp

What ever happened to nuance? Jabberwocky is being spewed up by the left and right as they try to drag us into their Wonderlands. This blog charts a path out of this swamp of simple truths and false certainties. And from time to time, it'll be a place for more light-hearted musings.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Henke Goes to Paris; plus World Cup Safety

Update: 22 May 2006. In today's WP, Craig Whitlock reports on the upsurge of violence in Germany.

Yesterday in Paris, Henrik Larsson the most lauded Swedish soccer player of his generation finally won a major championship. Playing his last game for FC Barcelona, he won the Champions League, the top club competition in Europe – and perhaps the world. Henke, as he is affectionately known, came on with half an hour to go and set up both of Barca’s goals against Arsenal of London.

(c) Michael Probst AP

His teammate Ronaldinho, generally considered the best there is, had this to say about Larsson: "At Henrik's age many players announce their retirement from international football but no-one I know his age is at the great physical level Henrik is at right now. He could play at the highest level for a long time."

Henke used to play for Celtic FC in Scotland and here’s what a reporter from a Glaswegian paper said this about yesterday’s heroics. Under the headline “Talismanic Larsson provides parting gift for Celtic and Barça”, James Morgan writes:

“HENRIK LARSSON's decision to leave Celtic for Barcelona two seasons ago was vindicated last night after the Swedish striker transformed the Champions League final with a second-half contribution which wrote his name into the history books of another famous European club. Sprung from the bench in the 61st minute, the 35-year-old, who was playing his last game for the Catalan giants before a return to his homeland with Helsingborgs, turned a game which was slipping away from Frank Rijkaard's cosmopolitan side. Larsson, as ever, displayed his usual humility afterwards and preferred to concentrate on the effort shown by his team-mates."It was a tough match and the whole team deserve credit for the win," he said. "It was an unbelievable way for me to finish my career at Barcelona. I have had a fantastic experience here in my two years, with two league titles and now this. It's amazing."

Click here to read the entire tribute

As one of the first visible minority Swedes (Swedish mother, Cape Verdian father) to break into the homogenous national team, Henke is a pioneer of sorts. But above all, he is just a good guy, great player and a talismanic presence for any team he blesses with his humble nature. In July – after playing for Sweden in the World Cup in Germany this summer – he will return to his native Helsingborg in southern Sweden. The season tickets are already sold out. Welcome home, Henke!

Speaking of the World Cup and tying into a previous post on the Swamp, today’s International Herald Tribune has a good column by Richard Bernstein. Here’s an excerpt:

“With the World Cup only a few weeks away, people here are asking this basic question: Is Germany safe?
According to the German police, in their annual crime report released last week, the country is, as Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble put it, "one of the safest places in the world.
But it wasn't safe for Ermyas Mulugeta, a German national of Ethiopian descent who was beaten senseless, allegedly by neo-Nazis, in the fashionable former East German city of Potsdam a couple of weeks ago. Mulugeta, who, the police say, has now awoken after about three weeks in a coma, was assaulted at the Potsdam train station by two bottle-wielding thugs who called him "nigger," the police have said.”

Click here to read the entire piece

It seems a former spokesman for the German government has sounded warnings regarding potential no-go areas in Germany. And naturally the powers that be have castigated him for soiling Germany's reputation and trying to ruin the World Cup party. C'mon....

I really don’t know why some folks are in such denial that they would jeopardize the safety of foreign visitors, not to speak of their own fellow citizens. What’s wrong with recognizing that there is both a low crime rate (pat, pat on the back of German society) AND in some areas a greater discomfort, real danger even, for those who are obviously members of a minority?


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