COMMENTARY: German Bigots Tarnish Country’s Image in World Cup

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“It’s a failure in the FIFA system to get as far as he did,” Fare executive director Piara Powar told The Associated Press. “Generally in big tournaments of this kind there are security officers. They are scouring the crowd and they can advise stewards and police.”

On Instagram, a fan at Saturday’s game called out racial ignorance while posting a photo of two men posing for photos wearing blackface makeup and T-shirts reading, “Ghana.”

Whether they were Germany’s fans or misguided Ghana Black Stars fans was unclear, but there are several other published photos of soccer fans in the colors of Germany wearing Afro wigs and blackface.

“So far I’ve counted 8 Germans in blackface. Worst, people are lining up to take pictures with them. Poor form, #Germany,” Selma-Slim, the Instagram user who attended the game, posted.

“Germans, Belgian and French fans have been seen in racist Blackface masquerade during matches in #Brazil2014. How much more does it take for someone to take action?” Fare demanded to know on its Facebook page.

Here’s what Time Magazine said about the racism: “Germany’s recent record on blackface isn’t good. Die Tageszeitung, a left-leaning newspaper known for its progressiveness and work on inequality, referred to the White House as “Uncle Barack’s Cabin” in 2008.

Editors defended the cover, saying it was satirical. In 2011, Martin Sonneborn, a print satirist, comedian and current member of European Parliament lathered himself in blackface in order to compare himself to Obama. The New York Daily News reported that Fare accuses stadium security of not doing enough to prevent a neo-Nazi sympathizer from storming the field during the second half of the Germany /Ghana match.

On the shirtless man’s chest and back, messages written included “HH,” signifying Heil Hitler, and “SS,” referring to the Nazi paramilitary unit.

“We do not respect any discriminatory messages,” FIFA spokesperson Delia Fischer said. “We always take any evidence or submissions to our disciplinary committee. It is the disciplinary committee that will meet.”

“If they see any grounds they will open proceedings,” he said. “Then it is up to the disciplinary commission to take the decision. FIFA holds national football federations responsible for their fans’ behavior inside stadiums.”

If Fischer is right, the German fans in blackface should not have been allowed into the arena. It also means that security guards gave the fans a pass, and consequently, sanctioned their racist behavior.

For some Germans at the World Cup, it’s not a good look.

Photo: Instagram/SelmaSlim

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