27 April 2009

Single League Format: More Problems for Indonesian Football

Indonesia has been holding football professional league for fifteen years. It is too extreme saying the league fails to produce good quality games and players. I had rather say that Indonesia is still infant in this aging professional football. The fact has proven lacking commitment to having a steady league format since it has been inaugurated in 1994/1995 season. Once upon a time Indonesian league consisted of two or three divisions according to its region. Another chance came an idea of having a collective, single league format, in which all participating clubs were in a single group of competition. The idea was brought on the basis of "ideal professional league format" in European football. The big numbers of participants were then compressed into eighteen clubs like in German Bundesliga or Italian Serie A.
Have the above mentioned format gone good in Indonesia? The answer is "not so good". The top organization of Indonesian FA (PSSI) perhaps has forgotten one significant thing: the large territorial country which consists of many seas and islands/isles. Indonesia is not a land-locked country. It is an archipelago with regions spread over and are split by the seas. It will cost much money to ravel an away game for the club from Papua to Java, from Kalimantan to Sumatera, and from Java to Sulawesi. But the FA supposes that the current league is the most ideal. Accordingly, several clubs suffer fro financial collapse, forced to sell or to loan their top players due to financial crisis. Once the problem arises, the good club will only be a dream.
What is so special about the ideal format? We can see that the single group league is the best choice for European countries because each of them is much smaller and is continental area. If they are islands, they consist of only few isles. But it will never be suitable to such topography as Indonesia. The area is too large for single format.
I am probably too early to say that the single league format has failed. But I cannot see benefits to step further. How can the players concentrate to their performance when non-technical problems evershadow them? Let us think about it, fellows.

24 April 2009

The Weapons That Kill Civilians

Armed violence, such as that in the ongoing conflict in Iraq, is a threat to global health.1 It causes serious injuries and deaths of civilians, makes orphans of children, traumatizes populations, and undermines the ability of communities to provide adequate medical care even as it dramatically increases health care needs. Moreover, indiscriminate or intentional harm to civilians violates humanitarian principles and basic human rights. Believing that a careful assessment of the effects of different kinds of weapons on civilians in Iraq was needed, we used the database of the Iraq Body Count (IBC), a nongovernmental organization that documents civilian violent deaths in Iraq,2 to determine the nature and effects of various weapons on civilians in Iraq. The patterns we found convince us that documenting the particular causes of violent civilian deaths during armed conflict is essential, both to prevent civilian harm and to monitor compliance with international humanitarian law. Unlike surveys that do not distinguish between Iraqi combatants and noncombatants among the dead,3 the large-scale IBC database attempts to specifically identify civilians, whose deaths are of particular concern from a public health and humanitarian standpoint.1,4 Recent findings from the Iraq Family Health Survey support the validity of the IBC database by showing similar regional trends and distributions of violent deaths.3 The IBC has monitored direct civilian deaths daily since the Iraq war began on March 20, 2003, with the invasion by U.S.-led coalition forces. IBC sources are primarily reports in the professional media, including reports translated from Arabic, supplemented by reports from hospitals and morgues. Deaths are added to the database when sources report the number of civilians killed, with time and location described adequately to avoid double counting. Also recorded are the perpetrator, the target, the weapons used, the primary sources, and whenever possible, each victim's age, sex, occupation, and name. Although the IBC records injuries as well as deaths, we limited our analysis to deaths, which are more consistently reported by the media.2 "Civilian" deaths include those of most women, children under 18 years of age, noncombatants, and police officers killed during regular, but not paramilitary, activities, since police are considered part of normal civil society. Database entries are systematically error-checked by three IBC volunteers before publication on the IBC Web site ( We based our data set on the number of Iraqi civilian deaths recorded as of June 13, 2008, for the 5-year period of analysis, March 20, 2003, through March 19, 2008. Of the total of 91,358 Iraqi civilian deaths from armed violence recorded for this period, we excluded 10,027 deaths from prolonged violence (e.g., the two sieges of Fallujah and prolonged episodes of violence during the invasion of March 20, 2003, through April 30, 2003), and 20,850 deaths recorded only in aggregate reports from morgues and hospitals, since these deaths were not reliably linked to specific events of a weapon's use. As our table shows, we focused on the remaining 60,481 deaths of Iraqi civilians and the causative weapons in 14,196 armed-violence events considered to be of short duration (lasting up to two calendar dates), occurring in an identifiable location, and directly causing one or more reported civilian deaths. Each death included in the table is of an individual noncombatant and is linked to a type of weapon used in a specific time and place; these are not estimates extrapolated from a sample. The greatest proportion of victims — 19,706 of 60,481, or 33% — were killed by execution after abduction or capture. Of the bodies of those who were executed, 5760, or 29%, showed marks of torture, such as bruises, drill holes, or burns. (A typical media report about this particularly appalling form of violent death reads: "The bullet-riddled bodies bore signs of torture and their hands were tied behind their backs.") Iraqi civilians also suffered heavy tolls from small-arms gunfire in open shootings and firefights (20% of deaths), apart from executions involving gunfire, and from suicide bombs (14% of deaths).

In events with at least one Iraqi civilian victim, the methods that killed the most civilians per event were aerial bombings (17 per event), combined use of aerial and ground weapons (17 per event), and suicide bombers on foot (16 per event). Aerial bombs killed, on average, 9 more civilians per event than aerial missiles (17 vs. 8 per event). Indeed, if an aerial bomb killed civilians at all, it tended to kill many. It seems clear from these findings that to protect civilians from indiscriminate harm, as required by international humanitarian law (including the Geneva Conventions),4 military and civilian policies should prohibit aerial bombing in civilian areas unless it can be demonstrated — by monitoring of civilian casualties, for example — that civilians are being protected.

Suicide bombers in Iraq are mainly used strategically by sectarian or insurgent forces, with deployment at targets after apparently coordinated planning.5 Although the bomb's blast is undiscriminating, the individual bomber is not. A suicide bomber on foot acts as a precision weapon — a close-quarters "smart bomb" whose pattern of killing many civilians at a time can result only from either disregard for civilians when targeting opposition forces or direct targeting of civilians. When combatant forces intentionally target civilians, they commit a war crime and violate international humanitarian law pertaining to both international and civil armed conflicts.4

Among victims of known sex — that is, those identified as male or female, regardless of age — the proportion of female civilians killed varied according to the weapon used, as did the proportion of children killed among victims of known age. Because the media may tend to specifically identify female and young victims more readily than male adults among the dead, which could inflate our findings for the percentages of female civilians and children killed, these findings should not be considered absolute proportions; they are, however, relatively robust indicators of the varying demographic characteristics of civilians killed by different weapons. Female Iraqis and Iraqi children constituted the highest proportions of civilian victims when the methods of violence involved indiscriminate weapons fired from a distance: air attacks and mortars. That air attacks, whether involving bombs or missiles, killed relatively high proportions of female civilians and children is additional evidence in support of the argument that these weapons, like mortars, should not be directed at civilian areas because of their indiscriminate nature.

By contrast, the methods that resulted in the highest proportions of male civilians among victims of known sex were the relatively close-quarter, precise methods of gunfire (91% male civilians), execution (95% male civilians), and execution with torture (97% male civilians). Execution with torture, the most intimate, brutal method of killing, was used the most selectively against male (rather than female) civilians and against adults (rather than children). By nature, execution is precise and deliberate — the highly controlled, usually planned killing of a captured person. The character of this form of killing, combined with our findings that a great many civilians were killed by execution, in many events, with strong selection according to the sex and age of potential victims, supports the assessment that executions have been applied systematically and strategically to civilians in Iraq.5

Certainly, different perpetrators can use similar weapons in different ways, with different effects on civilians. Nevertheless, our findings regarding the rates of Iraqi civilian death resulting from different types of weapons reveal stark differences in the effects of various weapons on civilians, in terms of both the numbers and the demographic characteristics of those killed. Weapons that kill relatively high proportions of Iraqi civilians, female civilians, or children are particularly hazardous to public health. Such indiscriminate or intentional effects from armed conflict must be radically curtailed to comply with international humanitarian law.4 We believe that all combatant forces and governments should implement policies of routine and transparent collection and release of verifiable data on the civilian casualties of military actions. Such monitoring would facilitate timely reparative action and must inform planning if armed combat is to be prevented — as much as possible — from harming noncombatants. Policymakers, war strategists of all persuasions, and the groups and societies that support them bear moral and legal responsibility for the effects that particular combat tactics have on civilians, including the weapons used near and among them. Sources: The Weapons That Kill Civilians — Deaths of Children and Noncombatants in Iraq, 2003–2008 Madelyn Hsiao-Rei Hicks, M.D., M.R.C.Psych., Hamit Dardagan, Gabriela Guerrero Serd├ín, M.A., Peter M. Bagnall, M.Res., John A. Sloboda, Ph.D., F.B.A., and Michael Spagat, Ph.D. Endnotes: 1. Coupland R. Security, insecurity and health. Bull World Health Organ 2007;85:181-184. 2. Iraq Body Count home page. (Accessed March 27, 2009, at 3. Iraq Family Health Survey Study Group. Violence-related mortality in Iraq from 2002 to 2006. N Engl J Med 2008;358:484-493. 4. Hicks MH, Spagat M. The Dirty War Index: a public health and human rights tool for examining and monitoring armed conflict outcomes. PLoS Med 2008;5:e243-e243. 5. Hafez MM. Suicide terrorism in Iraq: a preliminary assessment of the quantitative data and documentary evidence. Stud Conflict Terrorism 2006;29:591-619.

22 April 2009

Happy Earth Day 2009 !

Earth Day, celebrated April 22, is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It is held annually during both spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in 1970 and is celebrated in many countries every year.
The United Nations celebrates an Earth Day each year on the March equinox, a tradition which was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969. n September 1969 at a conference in Seattle, Washington, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin announced that in spring 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment. This occurred during a time of great concern about overpopulation and when there was a strong movement towards "Zero Population Growth." Nelson viewed the stabilization of the nation's population as an important aspect of environmentalism and later said: "The bigger the population gets, the more serious the problems become ... We have to address the population issue. The United Kingdom, with the U.S. supporting it, took the position in Cairo in 1994 that every country was responsible for stabilizing its own population. It can be done. But in this country, it's phony to say 'I'm for the environment but not for limiting immigration.'" Senator Nelson first proposed the nationwide environmental protest to thrust the environment onto the national agenda.” "It was a gamble," he recalls, "but it worked." Five months before the first April 22 Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the rising hysteria of "global cooling": "Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...." Senator Nelson also hired Denis Hayes as the coordinator. April 22, 1970, Earth Day marks the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Approximately 20 million Americans participated, with a goal of a healthy, sustainable environment. Denis Hayes, the national coordinator, and his old staff organized massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values. Mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting the status of environmental issues onto the world stage, Earth Day on April 22 in 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. The April 22 Earth Day in 2000 combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990. For 2000, Earth Day had the Internet to help link activists around the world. By the time April 22 came around, 5,000 environmental groups around the world were on board, reaching out to hundreds of millions of people in a record 184 countries. Events varied: A talking drum chain traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa, for example, while hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., USA. Earth Day 2000 sent the message loud and clear that citizens the world 'round wanted quick and decisive action on clean energy. Earth Day 2007 was one of the largest Earth Days to date, with an estimated billion people participating in the activities in thousands of places like Kiev, Ukraine; Caracas, Venezuela; Tuvalu; Manila, Philippines; Togo; Madrid, Spain; London; and New York. Founded by the organizers of the first April 22 Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide. Earth Day Network is a driving force steering environmental awareness around the world. Through Earth Day Network, activists connect change in local, national, and global policies. Earth Day Network’s international network reaches over 17,000 organizations in 174 countries, while the domestic program engages 5,000 groups and over 25,000 educators coordinating millions of community development and environmental protection activities throughout the year. Earth Day is the only event celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a half billion people participate in Earth Day Network campaigns every year. Significance of April 22 * Senator Nelson chose the date as the one that could maximize participation on college campuses for what he conceived as an environmental teach-in. He determined that the week of April 19-25 was the best bet. It did not fall during exams or spring breaks, did not conflict with religious holidays such as Easter or Passover, and was late enough in spring to have decent weather. More students were likely to be in class, and there would be less competition with other events mid-week, so he chose Wednesday, April 22. Asked whether he had purposely chosen Lenin's 100th birthday, Nelson explained that with only 365 days a year and 3.7 billion people in the world, every day was the birthday of ten million living people. “On any given day, a lot of both good and bad people were born,” he said. “A person many consider the world’s first environmentalist, Saint Francis of Assisi, was born on April 22. So was Queen Isabella. * April 21 was the birthday of John Muir, who founded the Sierra Club. This was not lost on organizers who thought that April 22 was Muir's birthday. * April 22, 1970 was the 100th birthday of Vladimir Lenin. Time reported that some suspected the date was not a coincidence, but a clue that the event was "a Communist trick," and quoted a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution saying, "Subversive elements plan to make American children live in an environment that is good for them." J. Edgar Hoover, director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, may have found the Lenin connection intriguing; it was alleged the FBI conducted surveillance at the 1970 demonstrations. The idea that the date was chosen to celebrate Lenin's centenary still persists in some quarters,although Lenin was never noted as an environmentalist. * April 22 is also the birthday of Julius Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day, a national tree-planting holiday started in 1872. Arbor Day became a legal holiday in Nebraska in 1885, to be permanently observed on April 22. According to the National Arbor Day Foundation "the most common day for the state observances is the last Friday in April . . . but a number of state Arbor Days are at other times to coincide with the best tree planting weather." It has since been largely eclipsed by the more widely observed Earth Day, except in Nebraska, where it originated. source:

19 April 2009

Olaf Thon

"I still remember Peter Shilton not diving towards the corner until the previous penalties from Riedle, Matthaus and Brehme had already gone in, so I said to myself: ‘Come on son, just hit the target, nothing too precise, nothing too risky’, and that’s what I did. He went the right way, but he was too late."
Who is this former Germany international, animatedly reliving the penalty shoot-out in the 1990 FIFA World Cup Italy™ semi-finals against England and their keeper Peter Shilton? Step forward midfield maestro Olaf Thon, exclusively reviewing his remarkable career with Born on 1 May 1966, Thon went on to appear at the 1986, 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups, winning the game’s greatest prize in 1990 and finishing as a runner-up in 1986. He spent his Bundesliga career with Schalke 04, and the nation’s most successful club, Bayern Munich. The 42-year-old scored 82 goals in 443 German top flight appearances, and his honours tally at club level includes three league titles (1989, 1990, 1994), two German cup triumphs (2001, 2002) and the UEFA Cup (1997). Unforgettable moments "I had lots of highlights during my career," Thon recalls. "My first Bundesliga title with Bayern, and winning the UEFA Cup, when I got to hoist the trophy as captain – that was certainly something very special." Asked to name his best-ever performance, Thon chooses a German cup encounter between Schalke and Bayern in May 1984, when the then 18-year-old hopeful scored a hat-trick for the Gelsenkirchen side. "It ended 6-6 after extra time, and we lost the replay 3-2. But it’s still the mother of all matches in the history of the German Cup." Nicknamed the Professor, Thon always lived and breathed football. He continues to do so even seven years after hanging up his boots, confessing he can hardly bear to watch certain scenes and incidents. "Nowadays, if it comes to a penalty shoot-out, in the cup, the EURO or the World Cup, I really don’t enjoy watching, because I’m suffering with the taker. Someone has to lose, and you see devastated players, great footballers who fail from the spot." Failure is not a word often associated with Olaf Thon, but he too suffered his fair share of setbacks and bitter disappointment. Defeat in the EURO 1988 semi-finals to the Netherlands and missing out on the Bundesliga title with ‘champions for four minutes’ Schalke in 2001 were the worst moments, "but to achieve anything worthwhile you also have to pick yourself up from defeat.” The present Olaf Thon remains immersed in the world of football. He sat on the Schalke supervisory board from June 2005 to June 2008, before taking a position in the club’s marketing section. "My goal was to stay at my club Schalke for as long as possible." Will Thon step up to a coaching role in the future? "I’m calmness personified. I’m qualified as a Fussballlehrer [the German FA’s highest coaching qualification], but I’ve put coaching to one side for the time being." The former Germany star has no intention of treading the same path as Argentina coach Diego Maradona. "I think you need to start at the bottom and work your way up. I’ve personally set myself ambitious goals as a coach, so I would start by gaining experience at the lower levels, and look to make the great leap forward later on. Facts and Figures Position: Midfielder Clubs: Schalke (1983-88 and 1994-2002), Bayern Munich (1988-94) National team: 52 caps (3 goals) Honours FIFA World Cup winner: 1990 FIFA World Cup runner-up: 1986 UEFA Cup winner: 1997 Bundesliga winner: 1989, 1990, 1994 German Cup winner: 2001, 2002 source: picture:

18 April 2009

Knowing Antonio Meucci

Antonio Meucci (April 13, 1808 – October 18, 1889) was an Italian inventor, who developed a form of voice communication apparatus in 1857. Many credit him with the invention of the telephone; for example, the Enciclopedia Italiana di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti (Italian Encyclopedia of Science, Literature and Art) calls him the "inventore del telefono" (inventor of the telephone). In 2002 the U. S. House of Representatives passed a bill recognizing Meucci's accomplishment and stating that "if Meucci had been able to pay the $10 fee to maintain the caveat after 1874, no patent could have been issued to Bell." The resolution's sponsor described it as "a message that rings loud and clear recognizing the true inventor of the telephone, Antonio Meucci."
Meucci set up a form of voice communication link in his Staten Island home that connected the basement with the first floor, but was unable to raise sufficient funds to pay for the patent application. He filed a patent caveat in 1871, which was forced to expire in 1874. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented the electro-magnetic transmission of vocal sound by undulatory electric current.
Meucci was born in via di Serragli, 44 in San Frediano, a borough of Florence, Italy, on April 13, 1808. He studied chemical and mechanical engineering at the Florence Academy of Fine Arts and later worked at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence as a stage technician, assisting Artemio Canovetti. In 1834 Meucci constructed a type of acoustic telephone to communicate between the stage and control room at the Teatro della Pergola. This telephone was constructed on the principles of pipe-telephones used on ships and is still working.
He married costume designer Ester Mochi on August 7, 1834.
He was alleged to be part of a conspiracy involving the Italian unification movement in 1833–1834, and was imprisoned for three months with Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi.
In 1856 Meucci reportedly constructed the first electromagnetic telephone. He constructed this as a way to connect his second-floor bedroom to his basement laboratory, and thus communicate with his wife. Between 1856 and 1870, Meucci developed more than 30 different kinds of telephones on the basis of this prototype. About 1858 the painter Nestore Corradi made a sketch of Meucci's intuitions (this drawing was used as the image on a stamp produced in 2003 by the Italian Postal and Telegraph Society).
In 1860 he began to look for funding and started in Italy: he asked his friend Enrico Bandelari to look for Italian capitalists willing to finance his project. However military expeditions led by the above mentioned general Garibaldi in Italy had made the political situation in that country too unstable for anybody to invest. Then Meucci decided to publish his invention in the New York Italian-language newspaper "L'Eco d'Italia". Source: Wikipedia

10 April 2009

Pacific Games

Pacific Games (South Pacific Games) adalah sebuah pesta olahraga periodik multi-event seperti halnya Olimpiade. Negara peserta yang mengikuti Pacific Games ialah negara-negara yang berada di wilayah Pasifik Selatan. Pacific Games diselenggarakan empat tahun sekali sejak tahun 1963. Sejarah Ide penyelenggaraan Pacific Games terjadi pada tahun 1962. Gagasan tersebut dikemukakan oleh South Pacific Commission. Setelah proses persiapan selama satu tahun, maka digelarlah Pacific Games yang pertama kali pada tahun 1963 yang berlangsung di Suva, Fiji. Dalam kurun waktu 40 tahun ini, Pacific Games telah diselenggarakan sebanyak 12 kali. Pacific Games dahulunya bernama South Pacific Games. Pada awalnya, Pacific Games berlangsung tiga tahun sekali namun berubah menjadi empat tahun sekali sejak penyelenggaraan di Tumon, Guam. Dasar penyelenggaraan Pacific Games ini, menurut pernyataan dari Pacific Games Council adalah sebagai berikut: "creating bonds of kindred friendship and brotherhood among people of the countries of the Pacific region through sporting exchange without and distinctions as to race, religion, or politics." Ada cerita menarik dari sejarah Pacific Games ini. Karena sebagian besar negara di sana adalah jajahan Inggris dan Prancis, maka antara satu negara dan yang lainnya memiliki kesamaan yakni "lagu kebangsaan" pada saat penyerahan medali pemenang. Waktu itu hanya ada satu negara yang menggunakan bendera dan lagu kebangsaan sendiri sebagai negara merdeka, yaitu Samoa Barat (sekarang Samoa). Seiring berjalannya waktu, maka semakin banyak pula negara Pasifik yang memerdekakan diri. Akan tetapi, ada hal yang tidak berubah yakni bahasa resmi: Inggris dan Prancis. Seperti halnya penyelenggaraan pesta olahraga lain, Pacific Games juga mengalami berbagai kontroversi. Muncul sengketa tentang jadual pertandingan pada hari Minggu karena di kawasan itu banyak yang menganut keyakinan Kristen Sabbath. Masyarakat di Pasifik juga masih memegang adat istiadat yang ketat, misalnya merasa keberatan terhadap pertandingan bolavoli pantai putri. Sebagian dari masyarakat di sana melarang perempuan mengenakan bikini di depan umum. Kejadian boikot juga pernah mewarnai Pacific Games pada edisi tahun 1995 di Papeete, Tahiti. Banyak negara yang menolak untuk hadir sebagai bentuk protes mereka terhadap ujicoba nuklir Prancis di kawasan Pasifik. Tuan Rumah Pacific Games: 1963: Suva, Fiji 1966: Noumea, Kaledonia Baru 1969: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea 1971: Papeete, Tahiti 1975: Guam 1979: Suva, Fiji 1983: Apia, Samoa Barat 1987: Noumea, Kaledonia Baru 1991: Port Moresby/Lale, Papua New Guinea 1995: Papeete, Tahiti 1999: Guam 2003: Suva, Fiji 2007: Apia, Samoa Rencana: 2011: Noumea, Kaledonia Baru 2015: Belum ditetapkan Perolehan Medali Total hingga Pacific Games 2007 (Emas-Perak-Perunggu) Kaledonia Baru (658-516-468) Polinesia Prancis (368-337-355) Fiji (353-417-340) Papua New Guinea (296-305-296) Samoa, termasuk Samoa Barat (145-112-112) Nauru (74-41-25) Guam (59-88-115) Samoa Amerika (41-42-70) Tonga (38-54-73) Wallis & Futuna (22-35-71) Kepulauan Cook (19-36-41) Federasi Mikronesia (13-15-11) Vanuatu, termasuk Hebrides Baru (12-33-53) Kepulauan Solomon (10-42-72) Palau (9-13-19) Mariana Utara (4-12-28) Pulau Norfolk (3-10-15) Tokelau (3-2-1) Kiribati, termasuk Gilbert & Ellice (2-10-15) Kepulauan Marshall (0-3-6) Niue (0-1-6) Tuvalu (0-1-1)

1 April 2009

Pamer Hegemoni a la Britania Raya

David Joseph Robert Beckham baru saja mengukir rekor baru penampilan di tim nasional Inggris. Angka 109 berarti melampaui capaian Sir Bobby Moore. Sebanyak kali itulah Beckham membela tim nasional dalam pertandingan resmi internasional yang tercatat dalam statistik FIFA. Mengawali karir internasional pada pertengahan 1990an dan masuk dalam roosters skuad St. George’s Cross untuk Euro 1996, Beckham semakin mewarnai sepak terjang The Three Lions selama lebih kurang satu dekade terakhir. Kini tinggal Peter Shilton yang mengalahkannya (125 caps). Sukses atau tidaknya Beckham menyentuh angka historis ini bergantung pada banyak situasi, baik diri Becks sendiri maupun faktor luar. Biarkan saja, kita lihat apakah ia dapat menjadi England’s most capped. David Joseph Robert Beckham, yang meniti pendidikan sepakbola di SSB West Ham United, London, adalah seorang Londoner asli. Kemunculannya di “blantika” sepakbola Inggris khususnya, dan internasional khususnya, seperti membawa “berkah” bagi United Kingdom sepeninggal salah satu ikonnya, Princess of Welsh Diana Spencer-Mountbatten. Buckingham Palace kebingungan untuk mencari figur yang tepat yang akan diberi tongkat estafet “hegemoni Britania Raya”. Beberapa saat setelah bingung, akhirnya bendera the Union Jack berkibar. Tidak tanggung-tanggung, kini tidak perlu merekrut orang dari Wales tetapi dari London sendiri. Ia berarti benar-benar Englishman seperti yang diidamkan oleh Istana (mungkin ya, hehe). Suksesor itu berasal bukan dari kalangan istana. Ia adalah seorang rakyat biasa dengan bakat sepakbola. Mengapa sepertinya Beckham “disiapkan” untuk menjadi “penyambung lidah” kemahadirajaan Inggris atas dunia? Ternyata Kerajaan Inggris masih tetap haus akan dominasi ini. Dari dulu sampai sekarang, tak terkecuali Amerika Serikat pun harus tunduk atas perintah. Ketika sebuah unsur penting ekonomi bernama mata uang tidak mau tunduk oleh mata uang “panutan” global, maka kita dapat lihat betapa “arogannya” mereka itu. Benar-benar benar deh… Seperti Lady Diana, Beckham diramu sedemikian rupa. Namun kali ini tampaknya Istana tidak mau membuat “blunder” dengan mendelegasikan “orang di luar London” yang notabene paling dekat dengan Buckingham Palace. Kali ini mereka pilih Londoner. Itu mungkin alasan mengapa bukan Paul Scholes, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, atau malah Michael Owen (seorang kelahiran Wales). Tidak pula Alan Shearer, karena ia telanjur diparap “Angel of the North”, sebuah julukan yang mungkin tabu bagi orang ibukota. Sungai Tyne memang tidak semegah Sungai Thames. Saking sayangnya Inggris kepada Beckham hingga segala pernak segala pernik dipersiapkan untuk menjadikannya seorang pangeran, penerus “takhta imperium terkemuka di dunia”, yang menyebut diri sebagai “the country of the rising sun; when you speak English, the sun never sets…” Dua atau tiga tahun berselang setelah debut internasional, maka tibalah saatnya mengikuti ujian yang sesungguhnya. Tidak tanggung-tanggung, sebuah napak tilas perjalanan yang penuh dengan luka teramat mendalam. Kala itu malaikat maut menjemput Sang Putri di badan jalan sebuah subway di Prancis. Terbayang kesadisannya merenggut “sang fenomenal” yang dikagumi seantero jagad. Terbayang onak dan duri yang harus diterjang oleh pemuda London itu. Ironi, tetapi juga fakta. Bahwasanya ujian terberat tadi terjadi di….ahh…Prancis. Imperium dunia lain yang menjadi pesaing berat Great Britain dalam penaklukan wilayah. Yah, Prancis lagi. Saint-Etienne, 3 Juli 1998. Di sanalah Beckham diambil sumpahnya sebagai “pewaris takhta fenomenal Lady Diana”. Indah sekali kisahnya, tidak masuk akal namun itulah yang terjadi. Bayangan kesakitan semakin nampak ketika ujian tadi Beckham lalui bersama…Argentina. Indah sekali bukan? Tidak perlu dijelaskan dengan rangkaian kata tentang apa yang terjadi antara kedua sejoli ini. Dari Malvinas hingga Mexico City semua sudah tahu. David Joseph Robert Beckham, OSB Benar-benar ujian, benar-benar pentahbisan yang sempurna. Becks hanyalah seorang pemuda lugu yang kurang paham tentang Piala Dunia waktu itu. Kurang mengerti apa arti sebuah strategi. Umpan dahsyatnya yang berlanjut menjadi gol spektakuler Michael Owen seketika sirna, musnah. Becks muda ternyata belum cukup umur untuk meladeni “kelihaian” Diego Pablo Simeone. Simeone memang provokator kelas kakap, tetapi yang namanya menyerang bagian tubuh lawan tanpa bola itu tetaplah: pelanggaran keras. Ah, ternyata pengambilan sumpah Beckham itu memberinya gelar “One Stupid Boy”. Jadilah ia bernama David Joseph Robert Beckham, OSB. Gelar satu-satunya yang diberikan oleh seluruh anggota skuad The Three Lions yang berjuang di France 1998, karena hanya dia yang menyandangnya, sementara yang lain diberi gelar Somebody, TLH (Ten Lion’s Hearts). Inggris marah dan murka. Bodoh! Bodoh! Memuakkan! Tetapi mereka marah, murka, dan muak bukan karena tanpa alasan. Mengapa bukan Paul Ince atau David Batty yang dihukum; mengapa harus Beckham? Cacian dan makian itu lebih kejam dibandingkan umpatan yang mereka alamatkan kepada Gareth Southgate, Chris Waddle dan Stuart Pearce. Cacian dan makian itu kelak juga lebih menyakitkan ketimbang teriakan “Romaniak, sungguh memuakkan!” yang diumpatkan kepada Philip Neville pada tahun 2000. Lebih bodoh dibandingkan blunder David Seaman pada tahun 2002, dan lebih kekanak-kanakan daripada sikap Wayne Rooney pada tahun 2006. Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina Semilir angin Timur Jauh berhembus sepoi-sepoi. Kota Niigata telah sesak oleh suporter Tango dan Engerlands. The Moment of Truth. Ujian kedua pun datang. Sebelumnya, aral menghadang ketika tulang kakinya remuk akibat tackling seorang….Argentina (ugh..lagi-lagi) bernama Aldo Duscher. Cidera yang membawa berkah kiranya. Menjadi jarang turun dalam pertandingan liga, membuat Juan Sebastian Veron kecapaian karena harus bermain terus-menerus. Satu titik berhasil dilemahkan. Sungguh strategi “pintar” di tengah kekhawatiran. Becks lupa akan teknik tendangan lengkungnya yang mematikan di sudut-sudut jauh gawang lawan. Becks telah lupa itu semua. Lesatan peluruh ganas ia muntahkan sejadi-jadinya tepat di tengah Pablo Cavallero berada dan …. Payback time! Itu gol terburuk sepanjang sejarah karir Beckham yang pernah saya saksikan. Apapun, Inggris tetap bersorak, penderitaan seolah sirna seketika pada diri Beckham. Semua orang pasti tahu, jikalau Inggris mendapatkan hadiah penalti, maka pengambil tendangan itu pastilah Beckham, bukan yang lain. Dan memang itu yang terjadi. Sebuah skema yang sekali lagi, “pintar” dari Michael Owen. Owen tenyata seorang yang tahu berbalas budi. Ingatan 1998 benar-benar direkamnya secara cermat dan tepat. “This is the time to give you something; I have owed you a big deal, brother”, mungkin itu yang menari-nari dalam benak Owen. When the child cried Sebuah laga penuh dendam berlangsung di AOL Arena, Hamburg. Luka laga di Lisbon, dua tahun sebelumnya, masih membekas. Sore itu pertandingan begitu ketat. Secara permainan Inggris memang kalah kelas dibandingkan Portugal yang dipandu oleh Cristiano Ronaldo. Deja-vu karena Ronaldo adalah Manchester United Number Seven setelah Beckham pergi ke Madrid. Benar-benar sebuah fairy tale. Becks menyerah pada situasi, pada strategi dan menuruti kehendak Eriksson. Ia berjalan lunglai ke bangku pemain pengganti, melepas sepatu adidasnya yang termashur sambil berurai air mata. Sangat mengharukan. Cibiran sinis datang, menyebutnya “Ia tidak menangis untuk Inggris; ia meratapi nasibnya sendiri…” Betapa sayangnya Inggris, khususnya media, kepada Beckham hingga berlaku seperti itu. Istilah “benci” semakin akrab dengan ungkapan “benar-benar cinta”. Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be. Seperti lantunan lagu yang berkumandang di stadion sebelum laga adu penalti di gelar kala itu. Inggris kembali berduka. Beckham kembali dicerca. Mungkin ia sampai capai merasakannya. Mengapa bukan Gerrard, Lampard, dan Carragher? Mengapa harus Beckham? Sekali lagi: England only needs you, Becks! What the country gives you is a TRUE LOVE; what it gives to the rest is just LOVE. The flag displays upon your door, not upon the others’. It’s the most beautiful scenery the Englishmen ever seen since the late Princess of Welsh. Begitulah kiranya Inggris menilai Beckham. Seninggal Princess Diana Inggris seperti perlu untuk membentuk figur yang menjaga eksistensi bangsa tersebut di mata dunia. Maka jadilah Beckham. Sebuh produk mutakhir yang sarat berita dan kontroversi. Media Inggris pasti sengaja membuatnya demikian agar Englishman menjadi orang yang paling banyak disorot oleh dunia. Kurang dan lebihnya boleh dikomentari atau mungkin dikoreksi. Hanya sebuah ilustrasi naratif tentang eksploitasi Beckham sebagai usaha penaklukan Inggris terhadap dunia.
Terima kasih kepada BelajarInggris.Net atas kepercayaannya memilih tulisan saya menjadi salah satu pemenang dalam Lomba Blog 2010.