Earlier this week Sepp Blatter, defending FIFA’s decision to not rescind its decision to award Russia the World Cup in 2022, said “Boycotts in sport never has had any benefit.” Watch it here for yourself. As 101GreatGoals.com, a site not usually know for its progressive politics (they usually line up behind the worst aspects of US foreign policy) wondered: “Would Mandela agree?” In fact some Belgian fans thought the same over the summer when they pressured the Belgian FA to cancel last Sunday’s European qualifier against Israel in Jerusalem. In the end, the game was moved to Cyprus, but we don’t think that will be the end of calls for boycott of Israel’s football team. Meanwhile, it just so happens that on September 18th, Hlonipha Mokoena (Columbia University), Dan Magaziner (Yale University) and myself will revisit the legacy of the 1980s cultural boycott against white South Africa during a panel at The New School in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
Apart from the successful sports boycott white South Africa was subjected to, our discussion will include the events and complicated legacies of Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album, for which Simon defied the UN boycott, traveled to South Africa and recorded with local musicians. The larger context for September 18th’s public event is “… labor issues in the United Arab Emirates, funding structures of the Sydney Biennale or the current São Paulo Bienal, participation in this year’s Manifesta in Saint Petersburg, and calls to renew a cultural boycott of Israel.” In fact, other seminars in the series will look at some of these. Back to September 18th: Joe Berlinger’s documentary marking the 25th anniversary of “Graceland” album, will also be screened separately that day as part of the event. Here’s the trailer:
BTW, we may, or may not bring up, Stevie van Zandt’s view of Paul Simon (if the video doesn’t cue, fast forward to 19 minutes, 15 seconds:
All the details to the event at the link below. See you there.