Waiting for the Germany-Portugal match to start, there was a moment I was particularly interested to see: woudl the German team sing the national anthem? The reason I was so curious was that Germany's largest newspaper, Bild, had started a campaign on this subject a week before the match.
Publishing the words to the national anthem every day, the Bild encouraged the German football team to sing the anthem all together. And indeed, when the match started, every player, with the exception of Podolski, sang the national anthem with great gusto.
But why didn't Podolski sing the anthem? Because he of Polish ethnicity. Not only that, he has a home in Poland, and family members living there. A German friend of mine commented "He was probably afraid of the Polish mafia."
And so, as the France-Italy match was about to start at the Berlin Olympic Stadium the other night, my eyes were once again on the players. I was especially curious about what the French players would do during the national anthem, the Marseillaise.
First came the Italians though-with the exception of one player, they sang in unison, and from the heart. You could read their national pride on their faces. The only person not singing was Del Pierro. I couldn't figure out why though.
And now it was time for the French national anthem. I watched closely, wondering to myself whether or not this was a real national team. Out of a team of 11, 5 players not only didn't sing, they didn't even feel the need to move their lips to make it look like they were singing. One of these was Zidane, the captain of the team. Along with him, Barthes, Ribery, Boumsong, and Abidal also did not sing the Marseillaise. Not even the slightest movement of lips was visible. I probably don't have to remind you that both Zidane and Ribery are Muslim.
In any case, I have another observation to make. Of the football players who did not sing the national anthem in the beginning of the match, a bunch of them were crying at the end, when it became clear that they had lost. The truth is, I really can't understand this football psychology. They refuse to sing the national anthem in the beginning, and then they cry at the end. Why? The French, who were the inventors of the concept of nationalism, have to try and figure this out. A small detail: the French player Thuram, who has been very outspoken about discrimination against Muslims in France, was singing the national anthem with gusto. So his criticism of the bureacracy didn't effect his anthem singing.
On another note, while the German national team sang their national anthem in unison, I couldn't help thinking about why there were no ethnically Turkish players on the team. After all, there are nearly 2.5 million Turkish-German citizens living in Germany. The fourth generation of those who originally came from Turkey are nearly of the age to play on the national team. Though there are ethnically Polish and Swiss players on the team, why no Turkish? A German friend of mine maintains it's because when young ethnically Turkish German citizens get to the age when they can work and earn money, they all go to Istanbul. We all need to think about this.
In my hotel room, there is a large book that has been left for guests. Lots of interesting names fill the book, which is titled "The Best of Germany." Gunther Grass, Nina Hagen, Persil, Tonet chairs, Mont Blanc pens, autobans, German police, Schumacher, Claudia Schiffer, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Birkenstock; the list goes on and on. I review the book from front to back. There is only mention of something you could link with the millions of Turks living there: doner kebab. And so, when a European society which accept immigrants reduces their multi-ethnicity to just a kebab, I guess the result is lips which don't move during national anthems. I personally believe that when we examine the sociology and psychology of everything we've seen during the World Cup, this is a point we need to rest on.