'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Zapatistas in Breaking Training 

It is rare to read the headline and lead paragraph of a news story and laugh out loud, but then again I firmly believe that among the many nice things that one might say about Subcomandante Marcos one them surely is that the man is a comic genius... from "Zapatista rebels woo Inter Milan", BBC News:

The captain of Inter Milan football club says he would be willing to take up an invitation for the club to play a team of Mexican Zapatista rebels. The Italian club have received a letter from the indigenous movement, based in the southern state of Chiapas.

Rebel leader Subcomandante Marcos asked Inter to bring the match ball because the Zapatistas' ones were punctured.

Captain Javier Zanetti said: "It is not a problem for me if [the club] accept the challenge. I'd be willing to go."

The letter bore the signature of Subcomandante Marcos, the elusive Zapatista leader known for his trademark balaclava and pipe.

It was formal and precise, but contained a touch of the wry humour that is the leader's hallmark, says BBC correspondent Mark Duff in Milan.

[ ... ]

"I challenge you to a match against a team from the Zapatista national liberation army," it said, "at a time and a place to be determined."

"Given the affection we have for you, we're not planning to submerge you in goals," the letter went on.

"As we wait for your reply, we'll continue with our rigorous training regime."

Inter - one of Italy's biggest and most famous clubs - have built links with the Zapatistas by funding sports, water and health projects in their area of operation in Chiapas.

Team manager Bruno Bartolozzi paid a visit to a village in Chiapas last June, bearing donations from the club and its owner, Massimo Moratti. During the trip, he was approached by a Zapatista commander.

Zanetti, an Argentine, also wrote a letter to express his support for the rebels' "struggle to maintain your roots and fight for your ideals".

The club told the BBC News website that no decision had been made on whether to accept the challenge.

The story was sent to me by frequent commenter Joe90 who provided some additional information regarding the political leanings of Inter Milan for us soccer knowledge-impaired Americans:

Just to give you a bit of background - Inter were called 'international' by their founders as a tribute and also a communist-socialist appeal to fellow football nuts. As you know, the biggest independent communist party in western Europe was-is in rich industrial north Italy.

Oh, yeah, and for the record, if the match takes place my money is on the Zapatistas...

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