Monday, November 5, 2012

How to stop racism and violence @ Football grounds

The Evening Standard summed a week, actually a year, of disgraceful racial tension in football, as follows: As club accuse referee of saying ‘shut it up monkey’ to one of their black players, one of their fans makes a gesture towards black opponent. Racism, bigotry and violence have no place anywhere, at any time, and as a Leeds United supporter I am disgraced by the supporter’s violence at Sheffield Wednesday last week. But how does a society change? What will bring an end to this behaviour? The manager of Sheffield Wednesday was on to something when he said: "People that go to games that are disgusted, they're the ones that should walk out and police their own fans," Is it everyone’s responsibility when some misbehave?
Much is made of Abraham’s valiant efforts to save the wicked city of Sodom. We read how he virtually went to battle with G‑d on behalf of very sinful people, contesting the divine decree that Sodom be destroyed. “It behooves You not to do such,” Abraham challenged, “to kill the righteous together with the wicked . . . Shall the Judge of the entire world not do justice?!” “If there be found fifty righteous people in the city,” Abraham bargained, “would You not spare the place because of the fifty righteous ones who are in it?” “What if there be five less than fifty?” Abraham persisted. “What if there be forty? . . . Thirty?” But something about the story doesn’t add up. Why should the wicked people be spared “because of the righteous”? If there are some righteous people left in Sodom, G‑d obviously doesn’t have to “kill the righteous together with the wicked”—He can airlift them outta there before He wrecks the place. Indeed, G‑d sent two angels to rescue Lot and his family, the only righteous people in Sodom, before overturning the city. So where’s the injustice? What’s the logic in Abraham’s argument? One of the explanations offered by the commentaries is that as long as there are righteous people in a place, there remains the possibility and hope that they will have a positive influence on their community. So it makes sense to spare the entire city because of the righteous people in it—it’s not a lost cause yet. When Abraham learns, however, that there are no righteous people remaining in Sodom (or not enough righteous people to make a difference), he has nothing further to say on their behalf. While we are not racists, and would never get violent with someone of an opposing team, it is the good people that can affect a change.

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