1) Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy
2) Gerhard Schröder
3) Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
07 July 2007
1) Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy
First of all, let me warn you: this time it's going to get personal. Unlikely as it may sound, I used to be quite a footballer when I was younger. I played for Slovan Liberec, the only Czech team to claim the league title twice after 1990 except of Sparta Prague. Our famous post-2000 moments include trashing AC Milan 2:1 or wiping out the floor with Olympique Lyon 4:0.
Because I was lucky enough to play for this very elite club and be in a team with older boys, I happened to be in the wider nomination of the Czech U-14 national squad. I got to play at two tournaments, I believe. Anyway, my not-so-promising football career had to come to an abrupt end when I got a scholarship in England aged 15.
So it is with great nostalgia that I follow the fortunes of the mighty Czech team at the U-20 World Cup in Canada these days. Most of the players I remember from our encounters in the junior leagues or from the national team. Tonight is the last match in the group for Czechia; after a lucky draw with the Argentines and an unlucky draw with Asia's reigning champions, North Korea, we are bound to beat Panama and advance to last 16.
Today I was struck by an article about Polish supporters on FIFA's championship-devoted news site. The 800 000-strong Polish Canadian community rallied behind the Polish side, emboldened by the initial 1:0 victory over Brazil though somewhat disappointed after the crashing 5:1 loss to the USA. Bet FIFA coverage would disappoint them too: "Die-hard footie fan Krzysztof was born in a small village east of Krakow, close to Gdansk and Sofia." Next time ask Krzysztof's two-year old daughter, please!
Meanwhile Slovan Liberec are getting ready for their tomorrow's cup match against the opposition from Kazakshtan. Uff. The Russian airline which was supposed to organise the transfer to Kostanay brought a plane which is not up to EU standards and isn't allowed to take off. No suitable plane available. Classic. Now our team will only make it to the steppes 12 hours before the kick-off; lot of time to adjust to the time diffence. Such a pity we have to play European cup games against Asian teams...
Posted by T at 00:14
05 July 2007
The article "Serbia owed justice in Kosovo" appeared in The Japan Times on Monday. I could not possibly agree more with the writer: Serbs are no villains and Kosovo should remain Serbian.
Here are some good points made by Gregory Clark, the author; but if you can, try to read the whole thing.
1) 1 million of Serbs were killed by the Croats and Bosnian Muslims, who sided with the Nazis, in WWII.
2) There was no backlash against the Croats and the Muslims after WWII; instead, Yugoslavia was created.
3) British and US intelligence services sent the jihadists, hardened by the 1980s Afganistan experience, to help the Muslims in Bosnia. The same support was received by the terrorists from the "Kosovo Liberation Army".
4) There was no ethnic cleansing in Kosovo orchestrated by the Serbs.
"Even more extraordinary was the way Serbian attempts to prevent or retaliate against those KLA attacks were denounced as the "ethnic cleansing" of Kosovo's Albanians (ironically it was the KLA that invented the term, to describe its plan to drive out the Serbian minority). The U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization move to bomb Serbia into submission followed soon after, even though it was the KLA, not Belgrade, that violated a 1998 ceasefire organized by the U.S."
5) Not 500 000, but 10 000 Albanians were killed during the "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo.
6) Hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Gypsies and Jews had to flee from Kosovo after 1999; just like it was the case when Franjo Tudjman's Croatian regime, flying the old WWII Croatian fascist flag, expelled Serbs from Krajina.
What they didn't say at Kennebunkport
Another Asian paper, The Asian Times, has a very amusing feature on the Bush-Putin summit. The imagined dialogue between the two presidents is pretty close to what they would have said had they been absolutely honest with each other. Great read.
Posted by T at 21:41
On Friday the Hamas al-Aqsa TV aired the last episode of its controversial children's show, "The Pioneers of Tomorrow". The star of the programme is Farfour, a Mickey Mouse lookalike who talks like Osama bin Laden. I already wrote about the earlier episode in which Farfour was reprimanded for using the English language.
In the scene above, Farfour's grandfather hands him a key and what is presumably a deed to the family's former land in Israel. Farfour is then caught and interrogated by Jews. When Farfour refuses to give up the documents, his interrogator beats him to death.
Europe sexed up
On a lighter note, the European Commission is now set not to oversleep the new media age; it launched its own channel on YouTube recently. One of the clips has already been viewed by two and a half million people; I am sure you will love it too.
Posted by T at 18:43