The politicization of sports sometimes can’t be avoided, whether it’s because a player injected such sentiment into a match or the fans themselves decide to root for a certain team in order to send a political statement, but the onus is on the individual to remain consistent with their beliefs once that threshold has been crossed, and that’s why all sincere members of the Alt-Media Community should support the African-majority French team at the FIFA Final over the fascist-sympathizing Croat one.
Sports shouldn’t ever be politicized, but once this threshold is crossed, there’s no going back. It doesn’t matter whether a player suddenly injected political commentary into this apolitical activity or if the onlooker themselves decided to root for a particular team in order to send a political statement, politics and sports aren’t supposed to mix, but the reality is that they oftentimes do. The televised tribalism of today’s modern sports industry encourages this, especially when it comes to football, and by the time that the FIFA Final comes around, everyone’s more or less already picked a side and is ready to stick to it no matter what.
Manipulating Alt-Media Sentiment
The Alt-Media Community has a dogmatic tendency to frame everything through a political lense, and this World Cup is no different. Cheering for a certain team is one’s own personal choice, no matter the potentially political criteria that go into it, but virtue signaling in public places an onus on the individual to remain consistent with their stated views, and therein lays the problem when it comes to the upcoming final match between France and Croatia. Many people have up until this point been very loud about their support for whichever team is the perceived “underdog”, which is admirable in principle if it’s purely sports-related but becomes less noble when political considerations are involved.
As a case in point and the only one that’s still relevant to talk about, there’s a prevailing but misleading notion going around social media that Croatia is the “anti-imperialist” underdog that must be supported in order to send a message of opposition against French foreign policy, especially in the “Global South” regions of West and Central Africa. The French government’s international activities are well known by most people across the world, especially members of the Alt-Media Community, so there’s no need to rehash them in this piece, but the bait-and-switch of obsessing over France’s neo-colonialist policies contributes to the whitewashing of Croatia’s crimes.
To be clear, both of these should be irrelevant if the FIFA Final was purely about sports, but the fact of the matter is that it isn’t, whether the fans like it or not. This transcends the Alt-Media Community and includes the entire world after a Croatian player filmed a victory video in his team’s locker room after defeating Russia where he proudly shouted the fascist-era slogan of “Glory to Ukraine!” that was used to inspire the fascist genocide against all minority groups in that modern-day country during World War II. This should have been a red flag for many folks that the current state of Croatia sympathizes with its Nazi-era state’s fellow fascist allies.
To the politically unaware, the so-called “Independent State of Croatia” was a Nazi geopolitical creation that carried out one of the worst genocides of the war in the Jasenovac concentration camp and elsewhere in that entity, yet most of the world knows nothing about this because of the combination of Ustasha fugitives during the Old Cold War and so-called Croatian “anti-imperialist activists” during the New Cold War. The first-mentioned lobbied hard to suppress the teaching of their crimes to the next generation in the West, while the second downplays or even sometimes outright denies it all because they’re aware of how much it could discredit whatever “cause” it is that they’re purporting to support.
“Operation Storm” Comes To Moscow
Nevertheless, seeing as how this piece is about the Alt-Media Community, it should be noted that many people within it are in fact aware of what happened during World War II, and even more know about the ethnic cleansing of the post-independence state’s Serbian population of nearly a quarter million during the five-day “Operation Storm” in early August 1995. What most people anywhere in the world haven’t heard of is how the Croatian World Cup team was awarded a flag representing this campaign by their Defense Ministry in the run-up to their departure for Russia, which also accompanied a bone-chilling statement that proves the state’s present fascist sympathies.
The message given by the Croatian Armed Forces to their sportsmen was that “the Croatian flag on the Knin Fortress is a symbol of the struggle for Croatian freedom, hard-earned and paid for blood. Operation Storm is the crown of all our victories and the arrival of the Victory of the Croatian Army in the royal town of Knin is a signs of victory in the homeland war. The Croatian flag, under which Croatian warriors and the brave Croatian defenders have fought, will be an incentive for a heart attack at the upcoming World Championship in the FIFA World Cup.”
Holding Croatia To Historical Account
Coupled with what the Croatian footballer notoriously proclaimed after defeating Russia, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Croatian World Cup team has forced the global public to accept the unwanted politicization of this tournament and especially the upcoming final match with France.
“Even so”, the stubborn “anti-imperialist” Alt-Media members might retort, “France is infinitely worse because of its historical track record”, which might be technically true if a body count was ever able to be conducted, but loses its relevancy in the present day by dint of the many more deaths that Croatia is responsible for in the Yugoslav Wars.
Interestingly, many of the same folks who condemn the Western wars that created so many refugees in the Mideast & North Africa and are against the French team in order to make a statement about Paris’ involvement in these conflicts somehow don’t mind supporting Croatia despite its front-and-center role in sparking the Western-encouraged Yugoslav Wars that also caused millions of refugees and led to the ethnic cleansing of the native Serbian population. It wasn’t Croatian-backed proxies that carried out these killings and cleansings, but the Croatian state itself, unlike the many crimes indirectly blamed on France through its surrogates. Quite clearly, Croatia bears much more responsibility.
The Tito Excuse
“But Tito was half-Croat!” is usually the last-ditch desperate slogan of all “anti-imperialists” whose cognitive dissonance is starting to become uncontrollable, though one should ask themselves whether that even matters when ethnicity doesn’t determine anyone’s political ideas or profession. There are times when generalizations about a group are accurate because they’re backed up by data, but there’s always a fine line to walk when applying these notions to an individual, especially one who’s proven that they don’t conform to preconceived expectations no matter how generally accurate. Nowhere is this more accurate than with Tito himself, who by his very existence debunks this flimsy excuse to cheer for Croatia.
The Yugoslav leader was special because he rebelled against the social zeitgeist of his people at that time and deliberately chose not to embody the cultural-political characteristics that popularly defined the concept of the “Croat”, which were ultra-nationalism, Catholic extremism, and a predisposition to sympathize with or actively partake in the fascist genocide of all minorities in the so-called “Independent State of Croatia”. Therefore, although historical generalizations would imply that all Croats were Ustasha, applying this to an individual such as Tito would be both racist and ridiculous because he did everything he could to show that he wasn’t a “Croat” in the socio-historical context that the word is understood.
Having explaining the “ideological inconsistency” of any sincere member of the Alt-Media Community cheering for Croatia, the question then comes down to the classic communist one of “What Is To Be Done?” since France is just as bad or even worse, but the answer is that the majority-African members of its team shouldn’t be punished for what their government has done abroad and even in their own ancestral homelands. If one takes the time to think about it, the French national team is more like an ethnic African one, though this observation has regrettably been abused by actual racists, fascists, and white supremacists as a reason to not support that country.
Instead of submitting to those sentiments, Alt-Media should take ownership of this fact and proudly use it as the basis for supporting France over Croatia. There are no grounds for assuming that the African-descended French players’ families illegally migrated to Europe like over a million people have done during the Migrant Crisis, so that argument against the idea can be dismissed in advance. Rather, these are legitimate representatives of France but also naturally the “Global South” by essence of their being, with the latter element of their identity making them the tournament’s real underdogs because of how they earned their place in the World Cup’s final match.
We’re All French
Make no mistake about it, these ethnic African players are also French, but their life stories of struggle to succeed as minorities in the imperial center that’s responsible for devastating their own ancestral homelands proves that they embody all the principles that Alt-Media supports, unlike the fascist-glorifying Croats who were “christened” with “Operation Storm” paraphernalia by their NATO-allied armed forces before departing for the World Cup. With this in mind, there’s no way that any sincere member of the politically aware Alt-Media Community could ever root for Croatia when doing so is either being deliberately disingenuous for superficial appearance’s virtue signaling sake or being duped by the illusion of that Balkan country supposedly being “anti-imperialist” when compared to the much lower baseline established by France.
Having said that, a country-by-country comparison of direct complicity in recent neo-imperialist crimes would implicate Croatia much more than France and to an unmatched degree of viciousness. This alone should be reason enough for the Alt-Media Community not to cheer for Croatia, but the reluctant among them should consider that even the Croatian players themselves are politically unpalatable after uncontestable proof of their fascist sympathies emerged. On the other hand, the majority-African players on the French team aren’t responsible for the same foreign policy that turns many people away from supporting their country but are in one way or another likely victims of it, though they nonetheless succeeded against the odds through hard work and dedication to “beat the system” and get to where they are today.
If that doesn’t represent the spirit of Alt-Media, then nothing does, and it’s for those reasons why every sincere member of the community is French at the FIFA Final.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.