Togo

Thanks to Matt for forwarding me this link: Togo officially disqualified from African Nations Cup

There just had to be a better way of doing this.

This was semantics, of course - the Togolese government pulled the team over the wishes of the actual team:

Both sides made good points, it was a very difficult decision to make, and withdrawing was probably the right move. There should be a better way to put it in the official record, though, than a "disqualification."

As far as Huongbo's larger charge, that of Angolan and CAF attempts at downplaying the tragedy...one is forced to reluctantly agree with him. Reading the official press of a one-party dictatorship is always a dreary task, which can be summarized rather easily just by looking at headlines:

If you're interested in the official news report, it's linked. It certainly won't take you very long to read.

"A plague on both your houses" is the lazy, first-world, ethnocentric, bigoted reaction to when the very real problems of the world's underclass are thrown on our doorstep and we search for a reason not to care. It also happens to be the correct response in this case. The Voice of America quoted Mohamed El-Khawas, of the University of the District of Columbia and his very harsh judgment:

The Angola government was aware of the threat, and although hindsight is truly unmerciful, the air of complacency is hard to miss:

In fairness, the Guardian had a long article before the attack on Angola, and didn't mention Cabinda at all.

And now we have all heard of Cabinda and their plight. A soccer yapfest is not the place to go into the larger issues of where war and crime become one and the same. The reasoning that acts of terrorism should engender sympathy to the perpetrators rather than the victims still belongs more to pathology than psychology, but war against civilians has a long history and a bright future.

If one were tempted in this case to ponder what drove drove these people to violence - as if human beings ever needed reasons - then one might conclude that the saying "to understand is to forgive" needs serious revision:

"Mingas" being the spokesperson for these reprobates.

But Mingas is inadvertently right in one thing - this isn't about Togo, or football, or anything to do with civilization.

I was asked whether I think this will affect the World Cup later this year. I doubt it, for the mostly negative reason that now the people involved with security in South Africa will truly be on their toes. Last week was an embarrassment, and South Africa has more to prove than ever that they can host a successful World Cup. I think they should be given the chance.