Nelson Mandela once said that political division based on colour is entirely artificial, and that when it disappears, the domination of one colour group by another would follow suit. This statement remains as a basic truth that transcends the differences that ultimately lead to social division rather than unification.
This social division begins as early as birth. Shortly after conception, several labels are already introduced to an individual whose mindset is pure and devoid of any judgement. Initially, the infant is given a name and classified as either a male or a female. It is at that moment in which the child’s life is altered forever, and its path is paved through social expectation, norms and tradition. As one would expect, the labels that further pave that path for the newborn to walk on are added in time, creating new forks in the road that work only to marginalize an individual rather than empower them. Concepts such as race, religion, disabilities, and sexual orientation arise with age, and it is through this stage that we ultimately lose sight of the singularity of it all. We lose sight of the only label that truly defines us, through our genetic code, way of life, and position in this universe. We lose sight of what it is to be human.
In the 2018 FIFA World Cup, we were reminded of what it means to be human. This message holds more weight in the world we live in today. With decisions made in fear, and sensationalism rather than logic and morals, our open borders have been replaced with walls. Our open arms have been replaced with closed cages. The screams of refugees and immigrants fall deaf to the ears of the privileged. The world is divided, yet every four years, our labels are set aside, and the entire globe unifies. No matter the nationality, we all find beauty in one thing, a singularity if you will. In an essence then, soccer is not a game, but a reminder of what it means to be human.
This year, the world cup was raised by the French, a team blessed with one of the most diverse rosters among any team in the competition. Yet, it was not only the French that raised the coveted trophy, as a team comprised of immigrants all contributed to the victory. This team fought for a common goal, sharing the same values, and wearing the same flag on their shirt. Not only did they fight to win the championship, yet they also fought for one another immigrant or not. In 2018, the world cup was not won by the French, yet by the human race as a whole.
Editor: Sarah Saeed