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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Soccer Unites Iraq But Does Not Stop Suicide Bombers

Earlier today, history was made as the Iraqi National Soccer team won a penalty-kick shoot-out, 4 x 3 (0 x 0 after extra time), over South Korea, to advance to the final game of the Asian Cup. This team has been uniting the various factions in war-torn Iraq. In the same fashion as their 2004 Olympic Team did in the Athens Games. Iraq, a team full of amateurs, finished in fourth place and eliminated such vaunted teams as Portugal along the way.

Unfortunately, a few hours after the game ended, two suicide bombers killed over 50, and wounded another 135, in two separate incidents as law-abiding Iraqi citizens celebrated the win in Baghdad. Many among the killed and wounded were children. Some were at an ice cream shop...

We often see tales of soccer violence during a game. Or outside of a stadium. But today, we saw the worst type of violence in a city where soccer has been like Super Glue. When children can't eat ice cream, and celebrate a historic win, we know that life is no longer valued.

Iraq will face Saudi Arabia on Sunday in Jakarta for the championship of the AFC Asian Cup.

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