Malvinas: the great agglutinator?

Malvinas: the great agglutinator?

Illustration Pablo Blasberg.

Despite its contradictions, its chiaroscuro, the analyzes never settled that exceed the roll of the ball number 5, it can well be agreed that broadly speaking there are two elements that bring together in a virtuous way the Argentine fans, not already understood as the heavyweights of the board, but as ordinary citizens, those who ultimately with their devotion mark and sustain the great history of Argentine football: the vindication of the Falkland Islands and the symbolic revenge consummated by Diego Maradona in the Azteca Stadium .

Let’s think about it in the following way and without sweetened concessions: How is the bond of the football community broadly inscribed, on a day-to-day basis, what are its golden rules?

In general, for a few decades, in the context of a progressive decline in recognition of the other from a place of absolute or relative brotherhood.

The logic of the irreducible versus prevails, mistrust, mistrust, if not open rejection, in short, all that which Sigmund Freud rightly called “the narcissism of small differences”.

Apparently only “The Hand of God” and “The Game of All Time” and only Malvinas in its vindictive aspect, in the evocation of the fallen soldiers and in the repudiation of the abject behavior of the Military Dictatorship, Argentine soccer fans close ranks and obscure differences, or put them in parentheses for the sake of a higher cause.

Inspired by this hypothesis, if you want an optimist, Télam explored the opinions of three specialists in the mortar of sports and politics: the journalist Ezequiel Fernández Moores, the sociologist Pablo Alabarces and the sports philosopher César Torres.

The hand of god in the Azteca stadium
“The hand of God” in the Azteca stadium.

Ezequiel Fernandez Moores

“In principle, I agree that football and the notion of homeland are unifying refuges, Malvinas too, of course,” admits Fernández Moores while warning about the “latent problem of manipulation, which is not just an Argentine problem and It forces you to be on your guard. Football is so generous, it matters so much to us and it makes so much noise, that anyone can get on the stand”.

“It is at least debatable, even when an issue as delicate as the Malvinas unites us, that by the art of grace we become a single people marching towards a prosperous future, progress and justice. If not, let us remember what happened when France he won the ’98 World Cup with a team made up of a few players of African origin. The editorials in the French newspapers spoke of the advent of a new France, but it turns out that some time later, in the elections, the socialist Lionel Jospin was clearly displaced by the right-wing Jean Marie Le Pen,” added Fernández Moores.

He then recounted the tumultuous contradictions generated by being sent by a news agency to cover the World Cup played in Spain in 1982, “while the country was at war. It was one of the most difficult experiences of my professional career.”

“At a press conference, in Valencia, I asked Joao Havelange, president of FIFA, an uncomfortable question, and since they blocked me, censored me, the mayor of the city council noticed something in my words that he liked, he invited me to take a drink and told me: ‘Look, I must confess something. It would be better if Argentina did not win the war. It is a dictatorship that will enthrone itself in government. And we are just beginning democracy, post-Francoism, and we fear that if you win, our military be brave and go to Gibraltar.

Paul Alabarces

This unanswered question, what would have happened if dictator Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri’s dark adventure had succeeded, is also a cause for concern for sociologist Alabarces: “Even as problematic as it is, I agree. Perhaps, as Beatriz Sarlo once observed , our society never finished processing the ’78 World Cup and Malvinas, in terms of a certain shadow of guilt with the Dictatorship, with the Regime”.

According to Alabarces, this unifying effect of Malvinas operates effectively, but displaced: “That is to say, Malvinas is not remembered with guilt. Malvinas sent to the moment of taking the islands are not remembered. Malvinas are remembered with pain, but not with the pain of a wounded narcissism. The pain, the defeat, are not felt as much as the narcissism of ´uh, we lost a war´. It is felt more because of the pain for the dead, for the victims and around that it goes the jerk”.

“In that pain, then, yes, Maradona’s deed in Mexico ’86, for example, involves a fairly similar unanimity, and on the other hand, it is the relationship with the match with England and what works as a kind of revenge eternally discussed and pulled”.

And since the Falklands and the game with England in the ’86 World Cup are a common thread, the sociologist specialized in sports and politics offers another reflection worthy of being taken into account: “Maradona is a pulled symbol, not a unanimous symbol. It can be share joy in relation to the World Cup and to Maradona as a dazzling, unique figure as a fairly consensual idea, but Maradona, in general, on the other hand, is not a unanimous symbol”.

“It is rather a pulled symbol. Possibly more than the Islands. There is unanimity in the memory and in the pain, agreed, but that on the condition of contemplating that the unanimity and consensus are still difficult and fallacious. Regarding the war, yes, we Argentines lack a debate, we owe ourselves a debate. The category of the soldier as a hero is to discuss, “he considered.

Cesar Torres

Torres, a sports philosopher, defines the theme as “very suggestive” and broadly endorses the Malvinas hypothesis as a unifying notion.

In that sense, he underlines that “everything indicates that Argentine society accepts the claim of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands in a majority way and let’s add South Georgia and South Sandwich. The exception would be some minority groups. The football universe reproduces that position , which can be seen quite clearly in the famous grandstand song ‘he who doesn’t jump is an Englishman’ and also in the flags that in many cases say ‘The Malvinas are Argentine’ that are displayed by the fans in the stadiums”.

“However”, invites Torres to distinguish “that the soccer universe shares the predominant vision of Argentine sovereignty over the islands, does not mean that commonwealth is generated. A shared position is recognized, of course, but that does not necessarily promote the common ties that minimize or reduce pre-existing disagreements”.

“And it also occurred to me that perhaps the football universe does not fully recognize that there is a unifying element that is football as a social practice. Beyond the colors of the club itself, it is the interest in internal goods and the standards of excellence of the football what unites, or at least should unite, and the fact that competition requires recognizing one another as moral equals with shared interests. We often ignore this community generator. Recognizing oneself as a member of the football community is or at least necessarily implies recognizing the rest as peers involved with the same interests”, added the sports philosopher and did not hesitate to warn that even around Malvinas lurks a pure macho culture”.

This is how Torres described his opinion: “A third element to take into account, even if the question of the Malvinas Islands promoted, in quotes, union, is that this union would be from the rejection of the English and not from the common interest of to generate collective ties and to jointly build an inclusive, fair, supportive nation that includes the islands”.

“Another point also related to Malvinas as a promoter of union is soccer as a masculinized space that reproduces the predominant generic order. The soccer coincidence around the Malvinas Islands does not escape this logic. Let us think, for example, of another famous song by tribune that says “the Thatcher, the Thatcher, the Thatcher, where is she? Maradona is looking for her to c…” The union in these symbolic terms is problematic and should be reconsidered. Not every union is a union that should be accepted as is is received or articulated. The issue of gender is important to take into account,” she concluded.

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