Book on ECOMOG in Liberia Released

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was recognized as the Special Guest of Honor at the Program.A dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says the book’s author is veteran journalist Mr. Frank Akinola, who served as the press secretary to ECOMOG field commanders during the Liberian civil war. The Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Prof. Tunde Babawale reviewed the book. He said the author presented a detailed history of the Liberian nation, events leading to the Liberian civil war, ECOMOG and Nigeria’s roles. He then narrated the major expositions of the book, including the ECOMOG landing and the various war episodes in the book’s 26 chapters and 314 pages. Book author Mr. Akinola, who assumed the post of press secretary under the then Field Commander Major General John Shagaya, ECOMOG’s sixth Field Commander, said the launch of his book has lifted a burden off his shoulders: “I thank God Almighty for the heavy burden he has lifted off my shoulders. It is a burden that I have borne for a very long time.”He said the process of writing the book started 20 years ago. “It began in 1996 on Bushrod Island, Monrovia, Liberia, when the late ECOMOG Field Commander, General John Mark Inienger, asked me what my plans were after my tour of duty. I told him that if God took me through the shatters of war, and that if I returned home safely, I would write a comprehensive account of the Liberian crisis, including its origin and the actual war, as well as international conspiracies to these never ending wars in Africa. Today, the book is ready. Today, we are at this venue to present the book, which I started writing 20 years ago exactly this year.”He hoped his book would help fill in the gap of essential teaching and learning resource materials in African military and other institutions. He stated: “Today, Nigeria, and indeed the whole of West Africa cannot lay claim to any official documentation of ECOMOG operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone.”“I suggest that all the awardees, officers and their men who played active roles in the ECOMOG operations to please go back home, sit down and write their personal accounts either individually or in collaboration with the respective armed forces of their countries that participated in the ECOMOG operations. It is by keeping such records that history will not be falsified”, he advised.Making remarks on behalf of the Special Guest of Honor, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Ambassador Al-Hassan lauded the author for his book initiative.He said President Sirleaf could not attend the program because of the exigencies of her office, including an urgent visit to Cote d’Ivoire to express condolences for the terroristic attack on innocent lives at Grand Bassam. Ambassador Conteh expressed President Sirleaf’s deep gratitude to the Government and people of Nigeria for Nigeria’s vanguard role in helping to restore peace to Liberia: “President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and all Liberians are indeed very grateful for the role that the Federal Republic of Nigeria played, being in the vanguard at the time. And it cost Nigeria a lot of resources and lives for ushering in the peace and stability that we have today in Liberia, and by extension in the sub-region.”“I want to commend the author for this very important book on Liberia. I have read a lot of books on the Liberian civil war. I think this one will be the definitive story about ECOMOG’s role in Liberia, because the author used primary evidence. We really look forward to reading the book to see exactly the startling revelations that he has made,” the Liberian envoy noted.Ambassador Conteh then used the occasion to announce that Liberia was back and open for business: “I would like to invite our brothers and sisters who are into business, after making all these sacrifices in Liberia, to invest in the reconstruction of Liberia. Of course, our first port of call is now the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” Highlights of the Program included a citation on the author, book review, the formal presentation of the book and presentation of awards. All former Force Commanders of ECOMOG, including the three who are now deceased were honored. Major Generals Ishaya Bakut, John Mark Inienger and Maxwell Khobe were posthumously awarded the Grand Commander of International Peace.The other former ECOMOG Force Commanders and others who received the Grand Commander of International Peace Awards included Major General John Shagaya, now a Senator in Nigeria’s Nigerian National Assembly from Plateau State. Others were Lt. General Joshua Dogonyaro, Lieutenant General Samuel Victor Malu, Major General Timothy Shelpidi, Major General R. Kupolati, Major General Adetunji Olurin, Major General F.A. Mujakperuo and General M.L. AgwaiRecipients of the Grand Master of International Peace included veteran journalists Ben Asante and Lindsay Barret for “having served meritoriously at the Area of Operation under the auspices of the ECOWAS Ceasefire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG)”.According to the dispatch, the book launch was held at the Nigeria National Merit Award House in Abuja on Thursday, March 19, 2016. It was attended by members of the Diplomatic Corps, retired Nigerian generals who served in ECOMOG, members of Nigeria’s National Assembly, Nigerian journalists, and other distinguished invited guests. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Overseas-based Guyanese donates over $1M to dismissed sugar workers

first_imgAn overseas-based Guyanese has donated in excess of $1 million in cash and other items to dismissed sugar workers in East Canje and Skeldon, Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).A representative of the donor on Wednesday distributing cash gifts to dismissed sugar workersEach of the worker received $5000 along with lunch on Wednesday. Some of the former estate workers were also given school bags for their children. The donor, who asked for his name not to be published, left Guyana in 1982 at age 19.He told Guyana Times that in New York where he currently lives, many Guyanese are disappointed with the move by Government to close two of the three sugar estates in Berbice.In December last year, Government closed the Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates in Region Six, leaving thousands of workers on the breadline.Last year, 1851 workers were dismissed from the Skeldon Sugar Estate, 1181 from the Rose Hall Estate, 1480 from the East Demerara Sugar Estate and 251 from the Wales Sugar Estate.The donor said the Diaspora wanted to send a strong reminder to President David Granger that Region Six depended heavily on sugar and with the closure of two of the three sugar estates in the region; all other sectors have been affected.After several months of protest action by the dismissed workers backed by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) Government gave the former workers half of their severance package and promised the balance before the end of the year.The full package was due to the workers upon their dismissal.Since then, commercial activity in East Canje and the Upper Corentyne has slowed significantly.According to the donor, the Guyanese Diaspora has over the past months been very supportive to the affected workers and their families. Regional Chairman David Armogan, who attended the donation ceremony, told Guyana Times that some of the workers have close family members living in the Diaspora and as such the impact of the closure is also being felt overseas, since they have to financially assist their relatives in Guyana.“It has put more stain on them because they have to be handing money and other things to send to their family members back home and some of those family members also worked with the estate before they left Guyana, so they understand what has happened and how serious it is. That is why whenever a Government Minister goes to New York, he or she is greeted with scores of protesters because those Guyanese recognise what the Government is doing to their country,” Armogan said. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img read more

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Soiled ground threatens Fort Nelson rec centre

first_imgBut, Mclean reiterates the contamination isn’t severe, and it can legally be dumped at the municipal landfill. Right now, the contaminated soil has been gathered into one pile on-site, and is covered with a tarp.The town is waiting to hear back from the Ministry of Environment on whether the soil can be shipped to the local landfill. Mclean says if the grant is denied, officials are going back to the drawing board, to develop a revised plan on what the building will look like.Photo: The Fort Nelson recreation centre collapsed on April 9th, 2007- submitted On April 9th, 2007, the building collapsed as a result of heavy snow and ice buildup. Earlier this year, the town announced that a new complex would be built on the same property. The town had applied for a $10 million dollar grant under the Build Canada Grant Program. That funding is set to be announced at the end of this month.Mclean says the recreation centre is already facing a lot of competition for the grant, and says the contamination announcement could jeopardize that funding. [asset|aid=1830|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=2d7bf70acd9501529c751fd6c1540d4e-Randy Mclean 2_1_Pub.mp3] Advertisement Photo: This is an artist’s rendering of what the new recreation centre would look like, if the town received funding. Some dirty soil is posing problems for developers of the new Fort Nelson Rec Centre. When workers were digging the foundation for the new building, they found evidence of contamination, and didn’t know what it was. – Advertisement -So, samples were sent out for analysis. The results indicated that a part of the land was contaminated with hydrocarbons. Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Chief Administrative Officer Randy Mclean says this could have been caused by diesel fuel. [asset|aid=1829|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=2d7bf70acd9501529c751fd6c1540d4e-Randy Mclean 1_2_Pub.mp3] Mclean says the contamination wasn’t found when the recreation centre was first constructed 35 years ago, because there weren’t as many environmental regulations in place. Advertisementlast_img read more

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Pac-10 looking for a sweet six

first_img“I hope our league gets at least six in,” Washington State coach Tony Bennett said. “I think it would be a travesty if it didn’t, but I don’t know everything that goes into the selection committee and their decisions.” Not so fast. The stumping began before the conference season did, and since then Pacific-10 Conference coaches gained confidence in discussing how many of the league’s teams would make the NCAA Tournament. Now, with two weeks remaining in the regular season, the coaches seem to agree that at least six Pac-10 teams will be in the 65-team field. Traditionally, the NCAA selection committee looks at a team’s RPI, which includes strength of home and away schedule, and how a team finishes the season. A top-40 RPI seems to be the annual benchmark. UCLA and Washington State are in, but all is not settled beyond them. Arizona, USC, Stanford and Oregon each have levels of concern, and Washington needs a miracle. So heading into the final two weeks of the regular season and the Pac-10 Tournament, here’s how the teams sit: Fifth-place Arizona (17-9) is 11thin the RPI, but has lost eight of its past 12 games, including the worst twohome losses (92-64 vs. North Carolina, 81-66 vs. UCLA) of coach Lute Olson’s 24 years in Tucson. The Wildcats must beat Arizona State, and could use a split at California and Stanford to be secure. USC (19-8) is tied with Stanford for third place, but has an RPI of 60 thanks to an embarrassing non-conference schedule that included The Citadel, Longwood, Bethune-Cookman and Charleston Southern. The Trojans need at least twomore wins against Stanford, Cal, Washington, Wazzu and in the Pac-10 tourney to sleep well. Stanford (17-8) is tied for third, and has nice wins against UCLA, Washington State and USC. The Cardinal’s RPI is a comfortable 38th, but it also has lost three of its past fivegames. The Cardinal must get at least twowins against USC, UCLA, Arizona State and Arizona to feel good. Add one win in the Pac-10 Tournament and the Cardinal is fine. Who would have thought Oregon (20-7) could be in such a position, but the Ducks need some wins. After starting the season 18-1, the Ducks are tied for fifth place after dropping six of eight. Their RPI is 34th, and they have a win over then-No. 1 UCLA. But if the losing continues, the NIT will be calling. The Ducks need a split against the Washington schools this weekend, and must beat Oregon State in their finale. Otherwise, Oregon might need a win in the Pac-10 tourney to cement its NCAA bid. The seventh-place Huskies (16-10) are the long shot, even if they sweep the Oregon schools this weekend and the Los Angeles schools next weekend. Why? The Huskies’ only road win this season is at last-place ArizonaState, they are 6-9 in their past 15 games and have an RPI of 80. So the Huskies need to win their four remaining regular-season games, and get two wins in the Pac-10 tourney to have a shot at the NCAAs. “I think we still have four games left, and if we can make headway in those games, it’s still within reach,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “But there’s not a whole lot of margin for error.” Paper Tigers: Clemson was the last team to lose this season, stretching to 17-0 before its first defeat. But during that run the Tigers barely registered on the national radar, and the past month has shown why. The Tigers are in jeopardy of missing the NCAA Tournament, despite their big start. Since their start, the Tigers (19-7, 5-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) are 2-7 and in seventh place in the ACC. The Tigers’ RPI is 30, but they could lose their remaining games and drop out of the NCAA field. After playing Duke tonight, Clemson visits Boston College, hosts Miami and travels to Virginia Tech. What a week: Kansas might not have had an easier week in conference play than what transpired with a 29-point thumping of Colorado and a 53-point embarrassment of Nebraska. The Jayhawks, now ranked No. 6, took advantage of Colorado coach Ricardo Patton – who is resigning after the season – sitting his top two scorers, Richard Roby and Xavier Silas, to punish the Buffaloes. “I just decided that I’m not going to reward poor attitude, I’m going to teach the right lessons,” Patton told reporters after the game. “The right lessons are maybe the next guy who coaches this team, they will be ready to play for that guy. “But right now we’re going to do what’s right. When you reward poor attitude, that is not doing what’s right.” Nebraska didn’t have such an excuse. The Cornhuskers were 3 of 20 from 3-point range in suffering their second-worst loss (Kansas won 102-46 in 1958) in 110 years of basketball. It was also the second-largest margin of victory in Big 12 history. Brian Dohn covers college basketball for the Daily News. His column runs Thursdays. brian.dohn@dailynews.com (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img What if Winthrop doesn’t win the Big South tournament? What if Xavier doesn’t earn the Atlantic 10’s automatic bid? How about if Southern Illinois or Creighton or Bradley do not get the Missouri Valley’s automatic bid? And will Santa Clara make the NCAA field if it does not win the West Coast Conference tourney? All those teams, plus several others, could claim at-large bids originally designated for the power conferences. “I think our conference has proven itself, and I also think there is some awareness out there that when you’re playing against each other in this conference, anybody can beat anybody on a given day,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “(Arizona State) has got to be the best 1-14 (in Pac-10) team in the history of college basketball. At least in the recent history.” The Pac-10, which has put six teams in the NCAAs only once (2002), loves to point out it plays 18 conference games, so its teams beat up on each other more than other conferences. To that, we say, so what? That makes up for the soft non-conference schedules of many teams. last_img read more

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DONEGAL LADIES GAA IN PLEA TO TEAMS OVER FIXTURES

first_imgDONEGAL Ladies GAA have appealed to clubs to field teams for fixtures. Clubs which have failed to field sides for recent games have now had points deducted“After a lengthy discussion at the County Board meeting last night it was decided that teams who had failed to field in games up to now lost the points. This excludes teams who rescheduled matches,” said the Ladies Board. “A big plea is being made to all clubs to play their games at the allocated dates. In extreme circumstances the game should be refixed to an agreed date.“Players just want to play. Nobody wants to gain points due to teams not fielding. We all play our registration and should be getting to play games regularly. The loss of points and a possible fine will be incurred if fixtures aren’t fulfilled.“Lets all make a huge effort to get our leagues running well,” they added.  DONEGAL LADIES GAA IN PLEA TO TEAMS OVER FIXTURES was last modified: April 11th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:DONEGAL LADIES GAA IN PLEA TO TEAMS OVER FIXTURESlast_img read more

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The Real Madrid approach that should serve as a warning to Pochettino

first_img Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ 1 Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade The latest man in the president’s firing line was Julen Lopetegui, who lost his job at the start of the week and his temporary replacement, Santiago Solari, is Perez’s 13th coach in 16 years.Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with the hotseat, as has Roberto Martinez, while former president Ramon Calderon told talkSPORT the club like the idea of Jose Mourinho returning.In his first spell as Real president between 2000 and 2006, Perez got rid of six managers and also oversaw the sale of the hugely popular Fernando Redondo.There was much the same in Perez’s second spell, which began in 2009. Real Madrid managers under Florentino Perez Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade RANKED Zidane delivered three Champions League trophies on the bounce and actually walked away from Perez without being sacked Vicente del Bosque (1999-2003)Carlos Queiroz (2003-2004)Jose Antonio Camacho (May to September, 2004)Mariano Garcia Remon (September to December, 2004)Vanderlei Luxemburgo (2004-2005)Juan Ramon Lopez Caro (December 2005 to June 2006)Manuel Pellegrini (2009-2010)Jose Mourinho (2010-2013)Carlo Ancellotti (2013-2015)Rafa Benitez (June 2015 to January 2016)Zinedine Zidane (2016-2018)Julen Lopetegui (June 2018 to October 2018)Santiago Solari (October 2018- Popular Football News huge blow Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move MONEY ADVICE center_img Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? However, as well as the biggest names in management, Real made glamour signings in the form of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luis Figo and David Beckham during Perez’s reign. REVEALED REVEALED Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions BEST OF It’s said the chance to manage a team like Real Madrid doesn’t come around often. Rubbish.Under Florentino Perez, there’s almost always a job going in the Bernabeu dugout. REPLY Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won no dice shining Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester starslast_img read more

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PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: THE HOUSE WHERE MISSING AMERICAN TOURIST WAS FOUND ALIVE

first_imgPICTURE EXCLUSIVE: This is the old building where American woman Kelly Jones was found alive earlier today.The 41 year old had been missing for four days since going missing in the Glencolmcille area on Saturday last. Despite a massive search of the surrounding area including Sliabh Liag, no sign of Ms Jones was found. However she was found around 12.30pm in the Old Rectory in Glencolmcille in the townland of An Tsraid – just a few hundred yards from where the search was being co-ordinated at the Naomh Columba GAA pitch.Her injuries are not life-threatening but is suffering from hypothermia and is very disorientated.She was found by members of the search party accompanied by local Gardai.PRO of the Donegal Mountain Rescue Brian Murray said “She has a number of cuts and bruises and was very disorientated. She has been taken to Sligo General Hospital for treatment. “This is terrific news that Kelly has been found and everyone is just so delighted that we now have a happy outcome”.The search and rescue helicopter from Sligo has now taken Kelly to Sligo General Hospital.Her father is not due to arrive in Donegal until Friday where an emotional reunion is expected.A Garda spokesman told us “It really is a miracle. She has been missing for almost four days which is a very long period of time.“She is in good form but she is suffering from hypothermia. However apart from that she has no significant injuries,” he said. Ms Jones, form Georgia, in the USA, had been in Donegal for ten days before she went missing.A huge search co-ordinated by the Donegal Mountain Rescue team has been ongoing since Sunday last when the alarm for the missing woman was raised.EndsPICTURE EXCLUSIVE: THE HOUSE WHERE MISSING AMERICAN TOURIST WAS FOUND ALIVE was last modified: September 21st, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Kelly Jones foundSliabh Leaguelast_img read more

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WC final: Sri Lanka keep Vaas, Randiv on standby for Murali, Mathews

first_imgSri Lanka are flying in veteran left arm swing bowler Chaminda Vaas and young off spinner Suraj Randiv as cover for the injured Angelo Mathews and Muttiah Muralitharan in their squad for the World Cup final against India in Mumbai on April 2.”They picked up a couple of niggles in the last match (semifinal against New Zealand on March 29 in Colombo). So to be on the safe side a couple of guys are flying in tonight. We will be giving those two guys (Mathews and Muralitharan) as long as possible to prove their fitness,” said Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss at a media conference on Thursday. Asked what was wrong with Mathews, Bayliss said “quadriceps muscle (injury).” Muralitharan has been struggling with a knee injury that he sustained in Mumbai against New Zealand in their last league game on March 18 as well as a hamstring problem but Bayliss is confident the world’s highest Test wicket-taker will play his final game before calling it a day from international cricket. “I think his chances are good. He bowled his 10 overs in the semi-final and came through that OK. He is obviously a bit stiff and sore. He has the character and the will to win the World Cup and I will not be surprised if he plays,” the Australian-born coach said. Both Vaas and Randiv are not part of the 15-member Sri Lanka Cup squad and all replacements due to injuries in the squad have to be approved by the International Cricket Council. The 37-year-old Vaas played in his last and 322nd ODI in August, 2008 against India at Colombo. The wily left arm bowler has taken 400 wickets while the 26-year-old Randiv has played 21 ODIs and grabbed 22 wickets.  – With inputs from PTIadvertisementlast_img read more

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FIFA 2014: German team that lifted the World Cup is emblematic of a country that has shed its horrid past

first_imgGerman players celebrate after winning the FIFA World Cup.Rainer Fassbinder’s classic 1979 movie The Marriage of Maria Braun is an allegorical tale about the moral complications and emotional cover-ups that surround Germany’s re-emergence as a strong state after World War II. Set between the war and 1954, the film’s,German players celebrate after winning the FIFA World Cup.Rainer Fassbinder’s classic 1979 movie The Marriage of Maria Braun is an allegorical tale about the moral complications and emotional cover-ups that surround Germany’s re-emergence as a strong state after World War II. Set between the war and 1954, the film’s heroine, Maria, thinks she has lost her husband at war, becomes the darling of a victorious American GI, kills him when the husband returns alive from the front, becomes the mistress of a wealthy industrialist as the German economy recovers, inherits his fortune in the 1950s and is set to be reunited with her first husband and about to live a life of luxury when she is suddenly killed in a gas explosion at her home.The explosion is the final scene of the film, and as the credits run one can hear football commentary for the 1954 World Cup final where West Germany won their first championship. ‘Deutshland ist Weltmeister’ screams the delirious commentator-while in the shot we see Maria Braun’s home go up in flames, her short life with all its sad secrets over, a new country reborn which can forget about the sins and complications of the past, rising again on the wings of the Wirtschaftswunder, ‘the German economic miracle’. In Germany, the World Cup is always about much more than just football.Germany first fancied themselves with a shot at the World Cup in 1938. After Adolf Hitler’s Anschluss of Austria excellent Austrian players were incorporated into a ‘Greater Germany’ team (though perhaps the greatest Austrian player of all, Matthias Sindelar, refused to take part in the Hitler-Mannschaft [football team] and went on to commit suicide in 1939). As with other areas of Nazi sports, the German football team had a strong ideological dimension, meant to prove Aryan superiority over inferior races. However, the German team had only managed fourth place in the 1934 World Cup, and were knocked out by minnows Norway in the 1936 Olympics. 1938 was meant to right all this-only for the Germans to draw 1-1 in their opening game against the Swiss in their first game, and then humiliatingly knocked out 4-2 in the replay.advertisementBut the tournament had some solace for fascism: Benito Mussolini’s Italy beat Hungary 4-2 in the final to win their second World Cup on the trot (football was much more important to Mussolini than Hitler, who saw more value in boxing and individual sports).West Germany were barred from taking part in the 1950 World Cup, and the 1954 edition was the first time the national anthem was played at an international sporting event since the War (though the stanza about ‘Deutschland Uber Alles’ was cut). In the final, the German team were expected to be defeated by the all-conquering Hungarian team lead by the greatest player of his generation, Ferenc Puskas; the Hungarians had already thrashed them in a qualifying round. But after the Hungarians streamed ahead 2-0, the Germans pulled the game back to 2-2. They had no stars like Puskas but the weather was on their side: it was raining heavily and the Germans had the advantage, thanks to a new type of boot with innovative screw-in studs designed by a little-known company called Adidas. The Germans scored again after the break, and Puskas had a late equaliser ruled out for off-side. In Germany the match became known as the ‘Miracle of Bern’, the triumphant sporting symbol of Germany’s ‘Economic Miracle’. West Germany’s next World Cup Final win came in 1974 when they again managed to get the better of the greatest player of his generation, Holland’s Johan Cruyff, with a tenacious team display. But the most important political game in the 1974 World Cup had actually come in the first round, when West Germany played East Germany in a showdown between Communism and Capitalism. The tournament was overshadowed by the Cold War: the USSR had dropped out after refusing to take part in a match against a Chile where the US-allied General Augusto Pinochet had just ousted the Soviet sympathetic Salvador Allende in a coup d’etat; there was intense security as Germany was terrorised by the ultra left group Rote Armee Fraktion. The West Germans were clear favourites in their game: they were European Champions, with a core from the European Champions Cup-winning team of Bayern Munich, captained by Franz Beckenbauer. But the East Germans managed to frustrate their Western ‘brothers’ and won the match 1-0. Both teams had qualified for the next round by that point-but it was still a great moment for East German pride.advertisementThroughout the Cold War decades the West German team was one of the few ways Germans could confidently express their patriotism without feeling WW II awkwardness, and with Germany essentially barred from the geopolitical scene it became not so much a continuation of politics as its substitution. The West German team that evolved towards the end of the Cold War was everything Germany could never dare to be in diplomacy: Teutonic, powerful, self-confident. They peaked in 1990, in time with the West’s victory in the Cold War, with the man-machine Lothar Matthaus leading a Valkyrian team to beat Argentina: the losers again featuring the world’s greatest player, Diego Maradona, who like Cruyff and Puskas before him, could not conjure a victory against the less spectacular but more united Germans.1990 was the high water mark of West German postwar success. After the two Germanies were reunited, both the economy and the national team were expected to become superpowers: an idea that made many surrounding countries uncomfortable. Were we about to see a re-emergence of bad, bullying Germany? Instead the German economy slowly slumped, dragged down by costs of paying for the East and a burdensome welfare state. The team dwindled too: they reached the 2002 World Cup Final by luck and were easily blown away by Brazil. It was as if a reunified Germany was almost scared of being too successful and overbearing.Slowly, since 2004, a new German team has been reemerging. Except it’s a different type of Germany, not Aryan at all but made good with immigrants like Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Jerome Boateng, Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose. By winning the 2014 World Cup with such a globalised team, the demons of 1938 have been put to bed (though some things never change: again a unified German team beat the world’s best player, Lionel Messi). This globalised Germany is one which the nation can back with no remnants of Nazi hangups, it becomes acceptable to be patriotic as the patria (homeland) becomes less German. And at the same time Germany has re-emerged as the superpower of Europe. Except it’s no longer a case of other countries wanting to hold them back: “I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity,” Radek Sikorski said in 2011, as he hoped for Germany to be more assertive in the Eurozone crisis, and as he no doubt hopes now that Berlin will stand up to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Germany is reclaiming its geopolitical status, but that will mean letting go of some of the benefits of being diplomatically neutral- such as being able to do business with everyone and never thinking of the geopolitical responsibilities (the German business lobby is the most involved in Putin’s Russia, is among his greatest supporters and has been vocal in stopping Berlin from sanctioning the Kremlin). Let’s just hope German Chancellor Angela Merkel is as good at her job as its football team’s coach Joachim Low is at his.advertisementlast_img read more

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