While Marseille resembled a battlefield this weekend, an Iraqi commentator decided to explain the complex chaos engulfing Europe.
Hayder al-Khoei, research director at England’s Centre for Academic Shi’a Studies, imagined how the clash would have been reported if it had taken place in Iraq or Syria, and was witnessed through the eyes of a Western "pundit on Middle East."
For those unaware, Saturday saw the UEFA Champions League being consumed by the most senseless, terrifying, and spiteful violence.
Russian and English soccer hooligans had been cooped up in the same place for far too long in the French port city and soon a brutal face-off ensued.
The Russian battalions, armed with their weapon of choice; gigantic metal rods, chased English fans across rows of seats in the stadium.
Although many hysterical Englishmen ran frantically for dear life, some decided to fight back.
This scene may have been comedic, were it not depressing at a colossal stage.
A 51-year-old England supporter was left battling for his life after he was ambushed with knives and rods. Beer bottles were thrown at harmless pedestrians, shops were set ablaze, while men blinded with rage yelled ominously.
Watching the clashes unfold in London, al-Khoei decided to narrate the events to an Arab audience, mocking Western media commentary of similar events in the Middle East.
The first step was generalizations:
It's always wise to put the onus of condemning the act of a few on a large diverse community.
How could al-Khoei pass on the opportunity to link the UEFA clashes with 13th century wars when Western experts always find ways to trace modern conflicts in the Muslim world to the Shia-Sunni rivalry?
It is advised to consider the "broader" ramifications of such conflicts.
Explaining European cultural gestures of enmity is vital.
“It is not surprising that much of the regional media portray the events in Fallujah as part of a broader sectarian war, especially when this serves the political agendas of governments that control these outlets. However, Western media coverage should be much more nuanced and sophisticated and not play into ISIS’ hands who desperately want to make this a black-and-white sectarian war.”
UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Russia Football Union following the riots in Marseille.