Pollution is not exclusive to the environment; industrial waste and vehicle fumes. Corruption is not exclusive to the unethical behaviour in the public institution either. The mind itself can be polluted too; corrupted, and the pollution of minds is far more dangerous than the hole in the ozone layer, due to its lasting effect on society.
For example, football is supposed to bring joy, art, and warmth to our hearts. Our clubs, Feisali and Wehdat, should send out a message to the world that we are a healthy society, with a civilised appetite for sports!
In theory, that should be the case. But in reality, it isn’t.
In fact it is so painful to see so many Jordanians corrupted by hate and racism. The fandom of football here has taken a completely different path, from honest competition and sportsmanship to disgusting racism. The rooting at the games is so low it is near threatening to the very fabric of our society.
The most recent instance on this is the youth who drew the flag of the Israeli occupiers and wrote the name of the Feisali Football Club under it in Arabic.
On the opposition, another young Jordanian went on social media to posting something like “God coming first, Feisali coming second, and Orshalim is Israeli”, out of mere spite!
That is how low we have gone. A match gone wrong between the two teams would suffice to tear our society apart; have us hold our breaths hoping it passes peacefully.
Obviously the security approach is not enough. Necessary, yes, but not enough.
The recent events clearly exhibit the scale of the issue, and treating this sickness requires much more than just riot control. Relentlessly, the Jordanian Football Association (JAF) imposes penalties and fines against both clubs as a result of their audiences’ misbehaviour, but to no apparent end!
Just a while ago, the fans of one of the two clubs were banned from attending matches, hoping that would have them reconsider their degenerate behaviour. But no!
On flipside, the damage they deal is inarguably massive; notwithstanding the financial costs of thousands of broken seats, it is reflective of the mindless mob mentality and the disintegration of our moral value system.
Least of all, it hurts our image!
The Football Association is well aware of the scale of the problem and its implications. But handing this is beyond JAF’s capacities, or any of its attached institutions. No penal decision has resounded any sense among the rooting masses yet; not one.
Actually, it is getting worse by the match, in spite of the fines and penalties.
Aside to the codes of fandom and sportsmanship, the violence and senselessness on the pitch as well as the rooting benches has more to do with our dismantling collective national identity.
It goes without saying; this is an extremely sensitive issue, and the ignorant have no idea the kind of strain they are putting on our society, domestically.
Naturally, much of this could go away, if we resort to the establishment of true citizenship and the reinforcement of its values. Try reinforcing the civil rights-duties formula to pillar the concept of the Rule of Law and equality in complete disregard of origin, ethnicity, race, religion, and gender!
Mindfully, our Constitution guarantees these concepts as rights, and the upholding of its spirit should guarantee to safeguard our nation against the extremities of such folly.
As for the culture we lack; unfortunately, which is equally contributory to this mutilation, it is highly related to the absence of pluralism and its basic principles; the endeavour to integrate variety under the umbrella of equality, in order to prevent the monopolisation of social and political power.
Fact is, we in Jordan do not tolerate variation. We need to start promoting the ideals of inclusive democracy and nourish it while we still can.
Until we do; until there comes the times for us to reap the blooms of our virtuous and most crucial sowing, this folly will endure. The stupidity of the senseless lot will scar us still. Which is why we need to do this now; the more we delay, the more it festers.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.