African war refugee cyclist wins Paralympic gold metal


Daniel Abraham Gebru wins gold medal

Daniel Abraham Gebru was born in Eritrea, 31 years ago. When he was a teenager, he took up cycling, which is popular in Eritrea. Ethiopian soldiers used to attack Eritrea. They imprisoned Daniel’s father, a merchant. Daniel’s father died in an Ethiopian prison. Daniel Abraham Gebru fled this war when he was fifteen years old. His mother managed to escape from the Ethiopian soldiers, but it took thirteen years for Daniel to find her again.

Daniel went to the Netherlands. He succeeded in making it in the Dutch injured people’s road cycling team for the Paralympics in Brazil.

At the Paralympics time trial, he was fourth. Just short of a bronze medal.

Today, the road race. There was a breakaway group of three cyclists, including Daniel Abraham Gebru. At the final part, just before the finish line, Gebru was unable to keep up with the two other cyclists any longer.

However, these two other cyclists collided and fell. Daniel Abraham Gebru was able to ride around the fallen cyclists. He won the Paralympics gold medal.

Paralympics spectators boo Brazilian coup president Temer


This video says about itself:

Brazil: Temer booed at Independence Day Parade and at Paralympics

8 September 2016

There were jeers from protesters on Wednesday as Michel Temer arrived to take part in his first Independence Day Parade as Brazil’s President.

In office for a week, after Dilma Rousseff‘s removal, national celebrations should have been a happy occasion for the conservative politician, coinciding with the start of Brazil hosting the Paralympic Games.

But not even the presence of Paralympic athletes in the parade in Brasilia could deflect from the discontent being expressed in the capital and beyond.

Read more here.

At the recent Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, spectators booed Brazilian coup president Temer at the opening ceremony. So, Temer did not dare to go to the closing ceremony.

Maybe he thought spectators at the Paralympics, which started in Rio yesterday, would be more uncritical about corrupt politicians.

However, United States weekly Newsweek reports:

Rio Paralympics 2016: Brazil President Michel Temer Booed at Opening Ceremony

The jeers came a day after impeached former president Dilma Rousseff left office.

By Jack Moore on 9/8/16 at 9:12 AM

Brazilians jeered their new President Michel Temer on Wednesday as he attended an Independence Day rally in Brasilia and the opening ceremony of the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The events were the first official gatherings that Temer had attended since becoming the country’s president on August 31 after Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from office …

And it has already started badly for her replacement. Not only because of the jeers as he opened the games, but also fresh protests around the country.

Thousands of protesters descended on almost a dozen Brazilian cities to call for change, with chants such as “Temer Out” and “Usurper” among the calls. Tens of thousands turned out in Sao Paulo, according to organizers, with a smaller gathering of 600 in the country’s capital, Brasilia.

Paralympics tickets are cheaper than for the Olympics, so more not so well off Brazilians are able to attend.

Like at the Olympics, there is also a refugee team at the Paralympics. Syrian swimmer Ibrahim Al Hussein carried its flag. He used to swim in the Euphrates river. His father was a swimming coach. When Al Hussein tried to help another civilian injured in the war in Syria, he lost a leg in the bloody violence. He fled to Turkey, then to Greece, in his wheelchair on a dinghy across the Mediterranean.

Al Hussein, 27, was thrust into the spotlight during the Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay, when he carried the torch in Athens, Greece, where he is currently living and training with the help of the Hellenic Paralympic Committee. He will compete in the 50m and 100m freestyle S10 (provisional) as a leg amputee in Rio.

Lesbian United States soccer player’s solidarity with Colin Kaepernick


This video about the USA says about itself:

Gay Soccer Star Kneels in Solidarity With Kaepernick

7 September 2016

By kneeling during the U.S. national anthem, Megan Rapinoe stands up for justice and shows her solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

Colin Kaepernick’s jersey became the top-selling jersey on the National Football League’s official online store, after he protested racial injustice and police brutality in the U.S., but the San Francisco 49ers quarterback said Wednesday he was donating all the proceeds he receives from the jersey to communities affected by injustice and racism: here.

Update, 12 September 2016: here.

Solidarity Demonstrations Take Over NFL Opening Weekend. The movement has spread across the league following Colin Kaepernick’s lead: here.

Alabama Pastor Allen Joyner Says People Who Don’t Stand For The National Anthem Should Be Shot: here.

US war veteran supports footballer Kaepernick’s protest


This video from the USA says about itself:

Veteran Says He Stands With Kaepernick’s Sit-Down Protest

30 August 2016

Thom speaks with caller Robert, a veteran, who supports Colin Kaepernick‘s protest.

More NFL Stars Join Kaepernick, Protest US National Anthem: here.

Making a Stand by Sitting Down: Black Athletes and the Flag: here.

‘WHAT WHITE FANS DON’T UNDERSTAND ABOUT BLACK ATHLETES’ “Just earlier this year, Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor was looking to buy a gym and the employees called the police on him. This happened after he signed a contract extension worth $28 million last season.” [Rolling Stone]

Kaepernick’s Jersey Sales Skyrocket to Become Top-Selling: here.

American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick protests police killings


This 29 August 2016 video from the USA is called Colin Kaepernick On Why He Sat During The National Anthem

By Alan Gilman:

Professional football quarterback Colin Kaepernick protests US police killings

30 August 2016

Prior to last Friday’s preseason National Football League (NFL) game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers, 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem to protest police killings of African Americans in the United States.

Kaepernick is a 28-year-old biracial man who was raised by the white parents who adopted him. His action was particularly courageous because the former Super Bowl starting quarterback is fighting to maintain his football career after losing his starting job last season. Drafted in 2011, he had been one of the most promising players in the NFL during his time under former coach Jim Harbaugh.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick went on to add, “This is not something that I am going to run by anybody, I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

After Sunday’s practice Kaepernick addressed the media reaffirming his position and that he will continue to sit during the playing of the national anthem before games until “there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country—is representing the way that it’s supposed to.”

When asked if the pending presidential election had anything to do with the timing of his actions, Kaepernick responded, “I mean, you have Hillary [Clinton] who’s called black teens or black kids super-predators. You have Donald Trump who’s openly racist. I mean, we have a presidential candidate who’s deleted emails and done things illegally and is a presidential candidate. That doesn’t make sense to me, because if that was any other person, you’d be in prison. So what is this country really standing for?”

… the athlete has … been subjected to rabid denunciations aimed at silencing any political dissent.

The media has regularly shown fans burning his jersey and highlighted the statements of more politically backward football players. TJ Yates, an injured quarterback of the Houston Texans, tweeted, “It blows my mind how many people hate the country they live in.” Matt Hasselbeck, former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst, tweeted, “Easy way to make sure you’re NOT the starting QB on opening day. #Sept. 11.”

These are not the sentiments of broad layers of the public who are angered by police killings and indifferent to or disturbed by the endless promotion of patriotism and militarism at professional sporting events.

Several players defended Kaepernick’s right to express his opposition. Russell Okung, an offensive guard with the Denver Broncos, stated, “Kaepernick is well within his rights to do what he did. I’m not saying I agree, but I do understand why he felt morally obligated in his acts.”

Kaepernick, who addressed his team on Sunday, has won the respect of his teammates, even from those that disagree with his position. Center Daniel Kilgore said, “When it came out, honestly, I took offense to it,” Kilgore said. “But after Kap stated his case and seeing where he comes from, I stand with Kap.”

While Kilgore said he disagreed with Kaepernick’s decision to sit, he said, “I stand with Kap when he says enough is enough against crime, violence, discrimination and racism.”

The National Football League has not, at least until now, taken any action against Kaepernick. The 49ers released a statement praising what the anthem represents but recognizing that Kaepernick’s boycott matched up with “such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression.” Kaepernick’s coach, Chip Kelly, said he had no right to tell any player how to honor, or not honor, his country. The NFL responded by indicating that players are encouraged but not required to stand for the anthem.

Over the last number of years there have been increasing protests by athletes over police killings. In December 2014, St. Louis Rams pass receivers Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Jared Cook, Kenny Britt and Stedman Bailey entered the Edward Jones football field using the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture popularized by protests over the police murder of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The players said they wanted to express their solidarity with the people of Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb that had been put under siege by police and National Guard troops.

Athletes have also spoken out against militarism and war. In May 2011, the day after Obama’s announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden, Rashard Mendenhall, the 23-year-old star running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, tweeted: “What kind of man celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side.”

Mendenhall’s comments—which were bound up with his religious convictions and skepticism in the government’s version of the 9/11 events—were immediately seized upon for a rabid campaign accusing the football player of being disloyal and contemptuous of the 3,000 Americans killed by the terrorist attacks. The fraternity of cable television sportscasters—who, with few exceptions, generally appeal only to the base instincts of sports fans—demanded that the NFL block athletes from having access to Twitter and social networking sites.

Shortly afterwards, sports apparel maker Champion fired Mendenhall, who had recently signed a four-year contract and had been a sponsor with the company since his NFL career started in 2008.

In 2004, Toronto Blue Jays baseball player Carlos Delgado [a Puerto Rican playing for a Canadian, not US team] refused to take the field during the playing of “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch. The song became a tradition after the events of 9/11, but had since been ended at several MLB stadiums with some teams only playing it on weekends and holidays. Delgado, who was strongly against war, including the ones that were currently being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan, felt the playing of the song was a political stand in itself that went against his beliefs. No action was ever taken against Delgado.

During this year’s Major League All-Star game, the Canadian-based vocal quartet The Tenors sang the Canadian anthem (there is one Canadian team in the Major leagues) at San Diego’s Petco Park. During a solo, Remigio Pereira changed the words of O Canada from, “With glowing hearts we see the rise, the True North strong and free,” to “We’re all brothers and sisters, all lives matter to the great.”

Pereira also brandished a sign with the words “All Lives Matter,” inviting scorn from a plethora of prominent Canadians. The Tenors labeled him a “lone wolf” and kicked him out of the group. He later apologized.

Possibly the most well-known political demonstration during the performance of a national anthem at a sporting event occurred during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, when two Black American athletes each raised a black-gloved fist during the Star-Spangled Banner at a medals ceremony.

John Carlos, the bronze medalist in the men’s 200-metre race, and Tommie Smith, the gold medalist, performed the Black Power salute while on the podium to shine a spotlight on racial inequality in the US.

They were booed and forced out of the games by the president of the International Olympic Committee at the time, Avery Brundage, and suspended from the national team. The third man on the podium, a white Australian named Peter Norman, was vilified by his home nation for wearing his Olympic Project For Human Rights (OPHR) badge in solidarity. The OPHR was an organization formed to protest racial segregation.

The ritual of playing the national anthem before major sporting events dates back to the 1918 World Series. The US had entered the war 17 months earlier, and in that time some 100,000 American soldiers had died. The war had strained the economy and the workforce, including baseball’s. The government began drafting major leaguers for military service that summer and ordered baseball to end the regular season by Labor Day. As a result, the 1918 Series was the lone October Classic played entirely in September.

Hence a tribute that began to “honoring” the victims of the slaughter of World War I has developed into today’s militaristic ritual of opening sporting events by playing the national anthem accompanied by military honor guards, enormous flags, and often climaxing with fighter jets performing flyovers as fireworks go off.

Professional sports teams were paid tens of millions of dollars between 2012 and 2015 by the Department of Defense for patriotic tributes at professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer games, according to a November 2015 report published by Republican Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake.

Kaepernick’s protest was an act of personal courage. His actions, like those who have engaged in similar acts in the past, must be defended against the right-wing promoters of nationalism, militarism and state repression of political dissent.

Starling nestboxes around football grounds


This July 2016 video is about hanging nest boxes for starlings around the office of the Dutch football association.

Translated from BirdLife in the Netherlands:

23 August 2016 – Dutch football association KNVB calls on its members to hang up nest boxes for starlings around the soccer grounds. Starlings eat larvae that damage the fields. The association gave a good example and put a number of nest boxes around their head office in Zeist. BirdLife in the Netherlands supports this call because things go badly for starlings.