Soccer? – Medieval style

Have you ever read something that is so shocking, so outside the norm, that your brain can’t process it, forcing you to read it again?

This happened to me yesterday when I read about a soccer match in northern Brazil where a referee for some reason drew a knife and stabbed a player to death. This piece of news is shocking enough, I think, but it gets worse.

ant2006-0140.dviEvidently, the spectator crowd then stormed the field, stoned the referee to death and — hold on to your hats here — quartered the referee’s body, decapitated him, and placed his head on a stake in the center of the soccer field.

A video of what appears to be the referee’s body in the morgue can be found on-line, but I strongly advise that you do not seek it out.

Incredibly, the mob then evidently proceeded to stake the referee’s head in the middle of the soccer field.

The referee stabbing the player is, of course, shocking, but the medieval nature of the acts performed by the crowd afterwards is a quantum leap beyond shocking, transcending shocking and going straight for medieval.

Quartering is as medieval as it gets, originating in England during the period of the reign of King Henry III where individuals found guilty of the act of high-treason were hanged, emasculated, disemboweled, beheaded, and quartered, with their body parts being displayed at various locations. Sometimes, to add to the horrific penalty, the evisceration was followed by the burning of the entrails.

With a level of understatement that just may be able to compete with that of Generalleutnant Wilhelm Richter when he wrote about the disposition of the 716th Infantry Division on June 9th, 1944 (read about it here,) the local police chief, Valter Costa, said that the police intended to identify and hold to account anyone involved, and apparently added — and I am not kidding here — that the crime was.. well… a crime under state law.

In Brazil emotions run high when it comes to soccer, sport, and general poverty, and right now with the coming 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games being hosted in Brazil with extra-ordinary price tags (read more about the economics of the Olympics in my posting, here,) things are certainly getting heated.

Regardless of national pride and all, I will say that, if Brazil is the kind of country where a spectator risks getting caught up in an act of quartering, then the World Cup and the Olympics probably ought to happen elsewhere. I, for one, am not going.

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