Monday, June 12, 2006

Iraqis and Soccer Games Madness

The 2006 FIFA World Cup has started. Iraqis are mad about soccer. We used to stay awake late to watch the games. The best part is to bet on your favorite team. The worst part is when your favorite team loses a game. That's when you get really depressed.

This madness hasn't changed with the violence that has become a way of life in Iraq. In the old days, the games were broadcast on the national public TV. This year, things are different:

World Cup fever may be sweeping the world, but many war-weary Iraqis fear they will miss out on the spectacle.

The country's public broadcaster has no retransmission rights for the matches and the cost of subscriptions to satellite broadcasters are beyond the means of many.
For many Iraqis, the World Cup offers the potential of light relief from the chaos that continues to wrack the oil-rich country of 26.5 million despite the formation of a new unity government.

Some even hope the football could lead to a respite from the violence, or even a truce, which would allow people to watch games in the few cafes and restaurants which dare open at night in the capital.


How many billions have we spent in Iraq so far? Can someone do something to bring the games to the homes of ordinary Iraqi people who can't subscribe to satellite stations?

Readers always ask what would make Iraqis happy. This month, the answer is very simple. Bring the games to their living rooms.

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