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Croatia shines

Jul 15,2018 - Last updated at Jul 15,2018

As the World Cup tournament draws to an end, I confess that I followed it with only lukewarm interest. Every morning, I learned the results of the day before, only because they came with the BBC news bulletin.

I do not object to football, mind you. I enjoyed games when I was young and fit enough to play, and today I like the diminishing number of activities that I can still practice; but I derive no pleasure from watching other people play.  

Still, if I were asked who was the absolute star of this tournament, my vote would go to Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. 

When Kitarovic was elected president of her country, she immediately became the target of a slander campaign, which is easy to do in the digital age. Social media circulated photos of an American Glamour model in a revealing bikini, and claimed that they were of President Kitarovic. 

The president probably could have responded in any of the eight languages which she speaks, but she thought that it would be more dignified to ignore the issue. The same happened when the same photos circulated again after her appearance at the World Cup, cheering her national team.  

By contrast, genuine photos of President Kitarovic on that day showed her dressed in a tracksuit with her team’s colours (nothing to dazzle the paparazzi or international glamour magazines), on board a commercial flight to Moscow in economy class, since this was a private visit, surrounded by football supporters.

When Croatia won, President Kitarovic visited the players in the locker room where she embraced them and danced with them in celebration. They were the stars and she was a supporter celebrating their achievement.

This reminded me of the day in the mid-eighties when Jordan’s basketball team won the Arab championship, the first gold medal that Jordan ever won. On the day when the team came back from Tunis, I was one of hundreds of Jordanians glued to our TV screens at 8:00pm to see the victorious homecoming of our champions. Instead, we were treated to footage of two officials from the Ministry of Youth, squat, overweight gentlemen with their hair and moustaches dyed jet black, embracing and kissing each other. There was not a fleeting glimpse of any of the players.  

President Kitarovic embodied the wisdom of Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, who said: “I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness, the second is frugality, the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold, be frugal and you can be liberal, avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.” 

Perhaps we in Jordan would do well to read Lao Tzu, or anything else to raise our reading average beyond the present level of half an hour per year. After all, the man who does not read good books is no better than the man who cannot.

 

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Comments

YES, INDEED THEY DID SHINE AND PUT UP A SHOW. A SMALL COUNTRY, BIND TOGETHER UDER ONE FAITH, STRUGGLE AND EFFORT.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL CROATIANS AND THEIR LEADERS.
FRANCE HAS SAID A LOT WITH THEIR WIN THAT DIVERSITY DO MATTER IN ALL ASPECTS OF OUR LIFES. IF YOU WATCHED THE GAME, YOU SAW DIVERSITY AT WORK. TEAM FRANCE LOOKS AFRICAN, ASIAN, LATIN AMERICA OR A COCKTAIL OF ALL OF THE ABOVE. TEAM FRANCE HAS SHOWN RACISM TAKES NO ONE TO ANY WHERE. CONGRATULATIONS TO FRANCE AND THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT AS YOUR COUNTRY HAS SHOWN THAT DIVERSITY IS POWER AND STRENGHT NOT LIKE WALLS AND CAGES.
WE CAN NOT CLOSE OUR EYES AND LET OUR BIASES TO STOP THE WORLD FROM SAYING THAT THIS IS THE BEST WORLD CUP IN HISTORY. IT WAS WELL DESIGNED, TOP SECURITY SYSTEMS, TOP HOSPITALITY AND THE WHOLE EVENTS HAS BEEN THE OF ALL WORLD COMPETITION ON EARTH. CONGRATULATIONS TO RUSSIA, ITS GOVERNMENT AND THE PEOPLE. MR PUTIN IS WITH OUT ANY
DOUT ONE OF THE GREATEST LEADERS OF OUR TIME.

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