Football and social harmony

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The official site for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ GermanyThe Australian national football team has played and won its first game in a World Cup for 32 years. Many of us in various parts of the country gathered together in living rooms, bars, clubs, and other public places to watch the game. After a hard fought game, and some very tense moments, some last minute heroics have seen the team over the line for its first ever World Cup victory.

Some know the team, and the sport, intimately, and have a particular set of expectations. Others are relative ‘newbies’, with only a vague sense of ‘The World Game’ as a rallying point for countries, nations and peoples. As a spectacle, the World Cup leaves every other major event, sporting or otherwise, in its wake. Not for nothing did Kofi Annan remark recently that he wished the UN could bring people together so effectively, and in such good spirits.

Peace among peoples, nations and cultures is a focal point in this edition of Eureka Street. Sushma Joshi writes from Nepal. She's travelled her country as part of the UN's efforts to bring harmony among rival factions bidding for power. She explains how fear and intimidation has brought down the country's legal system. She doesn't, but might do well to, contemplate how football could get it working again.

Harness the magic of football for sake of development, peace: UN, FIFA chiefsAnthropologist Myrna Tonkinson of the University of Western Australia looks at sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities, and says that neither blame nor attempts at quick fixes will work. She suggests it requires understanding between peoples, and that there's no substitute for careful and patient study of history and social conditions.

But it's not all bad news. Greg Soetomo is a Jesuit who edits a national print magazine in Indonesia. He looks at the tolerant face of Islam in Indonesia, something our media tend to gloss over. And online media critic Margaret Cassidy looks at how cyber communities can bring us together not only in this life, but also in life after death.

Click here to download an MP3 audio reading of this editorial.



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I was struck by the symmmetry of our opening match: Australia Vs Japan played in Germany 60 plus years on. Who won was less important than who played and where. Some things do get better - but other kinds of misery and conflict are always ready to take its place....
David Kerr | 13 June 2006


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