ZOMG! Wikileak! Jordanian Soccer Game canceled!

I can only read about something for so long before it becomes necessary to go to the original and see it for myself. Were the Mohammed comics blasphemous? What about Mark Twain? Ahhh…banned books.

The time has come to do that with wikileaks. I’ve finally stumbled across the links for accessing them directly, and what is in the first banned cable I read, but the story of a bitter soccer rivalry in Amman penned by an attentive bureaucrat. The Jordan Times was never this entertaining.

First, the links. The Guardian has a great interactive map of the world with the location of cables indicated by clickable dots. This is the one for me, although some may prefer NYT. The sketchflow blog has more links, focusing on visualizations and graphics, always an interesting topic. Now back to the soccer.

[Obligatory Disclosure: I have a friend whose son plays for Wihdat.]

A 28 July 2009 cable details the cross-city rivalry between the Palestinian Wihdat team from the Wihdat refugee camp on the east side of Amman and the Faisali club which represents the East Bankers. I’m not going to paste secret information here, those who want to see it can follow the link, but suffice it to say a game was halted, with fines and public chastisement all around.

Except for the nationalities, the story could be about London soccer teams. I remember when I went with a Swedish journalist back in 1988 to see Arsenal play another London team. We saw the game with Arsenal fans and had to actually get off at a different subway stop from the other team’s fans. Once we exited the underground, a line of police on both sides of the road made sure we entered our part of the stadium without detours.  Oddly enough, just last week, Canahan sent me a link to a story about a riot in Jordan between the same two teams.  What I say is this: Thank Allah for Football.  Now if we could only get Lebanon, Palestine, and The Other Side to face off against each other in soccer and limit their ferocities to the playing field.

One last detail.  The soccer rivalry cable was classified by a charge d’affaires who added in the heading  “for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)”.  Of course the policy numbers might just refer to reasons for secrecy, but as someone who might be accused of occasional hypergraphia, it intrigues me to think that a bureaucrat might have to have a reason before writing something, and that the reasons might be rigid enough to require the setting down of policy numbers before setting out to write.

Posted in Jordan. 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “ZOMG! Wikileak! Jordanian Soccer Game canceled!”

  1. canehan Says:

    I commend the idea of The Problem being moved from semi-war to soccer, but it may not work:

    The Football War (La guerra del fútbol, in Spanish), also known as the Soccer War or 100-hours War, was a four-day war fought by El Salvador and Honduras in 1969. It was caused by political conflicts between Hondurans and Salvadorans, namely issues concerning immigration from El Salvador to Honduras. These existing tensions between the two countries coincided with the inflamed rioting during the second North American qualifying round of the 1970 FIFA World Cup.

    <a href="http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=soccer+war&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a"here if you want to know more.

  2. canehan Says:

    Sorry, Nij, got my syntax wrong again …

  3. Nijma Says:

    The wiki for the Football War is here.

    I like the idea of giving wars frivolous names, although 3000 dead in four days isn’t so frivolous.

    BTW, how many Arabs have you met named Harb (حرب war) who were born in 1967?

  4. canehan Says:

    Remind me what Abu Amar (Arafat) means? Father of struggle or somesuch ?

  5. Nijma Says:

    Oh, now I see what you were trying to do with the “<a href=" encoding. With wordpress comments you don't have to use html code for links, (although you can). Just copy and paste from the address bar, and wordpress makes the link for you.

    If I want to encode links I do it with the link icon in an unpublished post. Then I switch from "visual" to "HTML" and copy/paste the resulting HTML code.

  6. Nijma Says:

    Abu Ammar “son of Ammar”: Ammār ibn Yāsir (, one of the Companions to The Prophet whose father was named Yasir. One baby name site renders the meaning as “builder, constructor”, but the name was probably adopted because it was a historical Islamic name. I knew someone named Qassim who was sometimes called Abu Mohammed, after I think Shaykh Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr, known in Madina as Abu Muhammad. The guy didn’t like the name much though. He wasn’t particularly religious, and his real son had a different name.

    I’ve also heard Arafat referred to as Abu Shiffa, “father of lips”, for his habit of profuse kissing. Whenever he came to Jordan, which was often, King Abdullah would personally meet him at the airport and be smothered in kisses on cheeks and forehead. (One on each cheek is normal, a third on the opposite cheek is for special friends.) This would be duly covered on the evening news. (And DID Arafat have anything to do with the plots to assassinate Abdullah’s father????)


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