Friday, January 8, 2010

Today's Togo Attack Leaves Africa with a Choice to Make

Today, the team bus with the Togo national team was viciously attacked by Angolan rebels on its way to the Africa Cup of Nations (superb analysis here and here), and already there is talk the tournament may be canceled.

Organizers and participants have a choice. Either they cancel the ACN, thereby granting victory to those who would take the lives of other human beings to further their cause, as the US has in the years since you-know-when, and may continue to do so in Yemen following the recent attempted bombing of that Detroit-bound plane.

Or this could be a moment when Africans can make an example for the world on how to deal with seemingly random acts of senseless violence: by answering fear with hope. Have a football tournament, make this the year Africans banded together and said no, we will not give in to violence and terror, we will come together and play, as footballers, as fans, as nations, as Africans.

Amy Lawrence has already written, "The machine-gunning of Togo's bus has banished the sense of celebration and replaced it with fear." She seems content to make this choice on behalf of an entire continent, but I'm not so sure there is nothing possible left to celebrate, even in light of today's terrible events. Like the decision to take courage when it would be easier to cower in fear. And a message sent loud and clear to the rest of the world on how to deal with the threat of terror. The outlook as of writing looks pretty good...

1 comment:

Lanterne Rouge said...

A point well made, but although I agree in principle, the likelihood of Togo's own participation must be questioned now. Whichever decision their players take should be respected now, it's they who had to undergo the gunfire and their coach driver is now a dead man.