BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
For clarity, I’ll state that the discussion is about soccer, known as football to all the world except in the U.S.
I’ve never been a fan of WATCHING sports. My eyes glaze over when people start discussing baseball statistics or who won the latest basketball game or what kind of avian creature’s level was achieved in golf by such-and-such professional player.
I can’t even seem to get excited when Armenians achieve fame and acclaim in the field of sports. The latest rage seems to be Henrig Mkhitarian playing for some English team. Before that, there were two Armenians on the French team that won some championship. If I remember, there was a kerfuffle surrounding one of them. I just chuckle and move on.
Of course there’s the 1973 victory of Armenia’s team in the USSR. People still rave about that team. But again, I just yawn.
I only start perking up when I learn of things like our inspiring, heroic, lullaby, “Zarteer Lao” having its music coopted/stolen by a Turkish football team, Fenerbahçe, and used as its anthem with their lyrics. Fortunately, in 2011, when the team learned of this fact, their anti-Armenian animus, hatred, led them to discard the music.
My hair really starts to on end when I hear that some Azeri businessman has bought an Austrian football team, FC SV Ottakring, and renamed it “Karabakh.” Of course I snicker that they’re still using the Russian-impacted transliteration of the name, ending with “kh” instead of “gh” – it shows how pathetic the people behind this farce are. Then I start getting irritated that they have the temerity to claim what’s ours.
But then, I started thinking… what if they’re inadvertently doing us a favor? The team, composed largely of Turkish players, by parading the name of part of the Armenian Highland, is actually bringing attention to the cause of Artzakh’s independence. How? Any regular citizen who takes even a few minutes to look up “Karabakh” because it is an odd-sounding name in a European context, will stumble onto our just cause even after reading just a few paragraphs.
So, let’s help them publicize our cause! Heck, why not encourage Turks (better yet Kurds, just to drive Ankara into further fits of fretting) in Germany to form a team named “Giligia” and/or “Van” and/or “Malatia”…