Footballers take stand against anti-Semitism
"Ultra" supporters of the Italian football club Lazio Rome left stickers on stadium walls showing Anne Frank wearing the jersey of their arch-rival AS Rome. In response, the Lazio players wore Anne Frank T-shirts during their warm-up and their games are to start with a reading from The Diary of Anne Frank and a minute of silence for the victims of the Holocaust. Are such actions really a good idea?
Just a superficial gesture
Readings and minutes of silence won't solve the problem, warns writer Paolo di Paolo in La Repubblica:
“Such moments are very solemn but they are filled with an empty rhetoric, and to those watching they look like hypocritical masks put on especially for the TV cameras. I don't know whether there's any real point in walking onto the pitch wearing a Star of David or jerseys with pictures of Anne Frank. It's a spectacular gesture, but purely superficial. Because what do those wearing the jerseys or the fans know about Anne Frank? Little, too little - and that perhaps only by hearsay. And above all they lack imagination. ... But without knowledge of the past and without imagination all gestures become nothing but grim, cold theatrics.”
A grotesque act
Author Alessandro Piperno talks of a grotesque spectacle in Corriere della Sera:
“It's absurd to say that we're all Anne Frank. Because for goodness sake it's obvious that we aren't. She was far more spirited than us and had to suffer a tragic fate. ... It's grotesque when excerpts from diaries that belong to the private sphere of each one of us are read out in half-empty football stadiums with an air of absolute and legitmate indifference. ... Please free us from this grotesque show and rid the stadiums of this horrendous pack of troublemakers. Their crime is not to have spread anti-Semitism - they don't have the power to do that, thank heavens. Their crime is to have turned our lives into something grotesque for several days.”