18 March 2012

Blame

This weekend British football fans and the wider community have held their breaths for Bolton Wanderers' Fabrice Muamba, a talented twenty three year old defender of Congolese origin. Tragically, he collapsed on the pitch in a cup game against Tottenham. No one was near him at the time. He just went down as if struck by invisible lightning. Almost immediately, he was surrounded by a team of paramedics and other first aiders who worked like crazy to save the young man's life. It seems that the problem is heart related.

I listened to BBC Radio Five Live's talk-in, aired within an hour of Muamba being rushed to hospital. Already listeners were phoning in trying to blame somebody for what had happened. "This must never be allowed  to happen again on a British football pitch," said one caller and another said, "These young men are people! Not just footballers. The clubs should make sure they're tested regularly. They shouldn't be sending these poor young men out to play if it's putting their lives at risk!"

I say poppycock and balderdash! Outside the glare of TV cameras, a tiny percentage of anonymous young people will unfortunately collapse with previously unrecognised heart defects or blood clots. It's nobody's fault. It's just the random reality of life and the fact that the human body is not some highly-tuned motor vehicle straight off a production line. We're vulnerable and imperfect. Three score years and ten is not an inviolable right. There will be tragedies every so often. So please resist the urge to point fingers and find scapegoats.

Who wouldn't feel sorry for Fabrice Muamba and his family and I am sure we all sincerely hope he emerges from hospital on his own two feet - perhaps even able to play the game he loves again. However, I feel much more sorry about the four hundred and five young British soldiers who have given their lives so pointlessly in Afghanistan. Regarding their deaths, it is possible, even desirable to determine blame. The culprits surely dress in smart suits and smile at cameras. They have teams of advisers and fat personal bank accounts.They do not walk down dusty highways far from home, fearful they might step on cleverly concealed IEDs.

Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides, 

Who cover faults at last with shame derides

6 comments:

  1. It seems these days there always has to be someone to blame.
    On the subject of Afghanistan - I have a friend whose son is on his second tour. A pilot who has to take to the skies daily and who is cursing the American soldier who has made everything more dangerous for them as they dodge the retaliation bomb attacks.
    I'm with you. BRING THEM HOME !!

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  2. Anthem For Doomed Youth

    by Wilfred Owen

    What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
    Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
    Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
    Can patter out their hasty orisons.
    No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells,
    Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
    The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
    And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

    What candles may be held to speed them all?
    Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
    Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
    The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
    Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
    And each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Re. the pome at the end... I've always said to my kids when they were upset by something, that it doesn't matter if people believe you or not, truth is like cream* - it always makes its way to the top in the end.

    I know, not very deep, but we lived on a dairy farm, OK?
    ---------------------
    * unless it's homogenised. in which case the metaphor doesn't work very well.

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  4. I agree, SP. It is heartbreaking to hear over and over again of young soldiers losing their lives or being seriously injured in a war that was pointless from the start and that is never going to be won. It's a shame that the 'men in suits' didn't look at their history books before giving the go ahead for invasion of Afghanistan.

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  5. I agree with you. I read today that Bolton Wanderers is now carrying out heart checks on all its players. This despite the fact that all players have such tests at the start of and during the season and it didn't help Muamba. It is as if it has to be done because of what happened on Saturday, regardless of how rare such an occurrence might be, and is symptomatic of our skewed perceptions of risk.

    I do feel sympathy for Muamba and his family, but not everything in life is foreseeable or preventable. We seem to have lost touch with that reality.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree with you. I read today that Bolton Wanderers is now carrying out heart checks on all its players. This despite the fact that all players have such tests at the start of and during the season and it didn't help Muamba. It is as if it has to be done because of what happened on Saturday, regardless of how rare such an occurrence might be, and is symptomatic of our skewed perceptions of risk.

    I do feel sympathy for Muamba and his family, but not everything in life is foreseeable or preventable. We seem to have lost touch with that reality.

    ReplyDelete

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