The happiest moments of my life have usually been spent in the moments after the England football team has just been knocked out of an international competition…. preferably on penalties, writes Roshan Muhammed Salih.
The feeling of pure joy is indescribable. To see the nation’s expectations raised so high after a lucky win against a mediocre team, and then to see those very same expectations brutally crushed after a devastating defeat is something I will never tire of. It’s bliss.
Yes I want England to lose, I want them to lose badly, the more goals conceded the better because that would be total humiliation. But a narrow defeat after a heroic performance is almost as good because that means England got so close and everyone got their hopes so high, only to see it all taken away.
I’m almost in tears of joy as I write this.
Why I’m a traitor
Ok, so now that everyone knows that I’m a traitor let me tell you why I feel this way.
Basically, I’m a not-so-atypical immigrant with a chip on my shoulder. I’ve lived in Britain most of my life but have been the victim of racism and Islamophobia much of it.
Like many immigrants I came to this country not out of choice but because my parents took an economic decision to emigrate from my home country (which the British screwed up through colonialism). And I’ve been stuck here ever since because this is where my family is and this is where they will stay.
So I associate the England football team with my oppressors – the British colonialists who raped and pillaged my home country making it unlivable and forcing my parents to emigrate to a cold, unwelcoming land just to make a living.
I associate the England football team with the politicians and the army who have invaded, occupied and destroyed the lands of my fellow Muslims, most of which I have visited and have grown to love.
I associate the England football team with the racists who called me “Paki” throughout my youth.
And I associate the England football team with the Islamophobes in the political establishment and media who attack and demonise my community every day.
Let’s face it if England win the World Cup life here would be insufferable. The media would go into jingoistic overdrive; all the dormant feelings of English superiority that led to an empire would resurface; and the reality of the inevitable and slow decline of a once-great nation would be glossed over.
No, I prefer to see the English unhappy. I want to see them fail and to have the notion that they are failures rammed home. I want to see them suffer in a small way like they have made other people suffer in a much bigger way.
Am I a traitor for saying this? Am I hypocritically benefitting from the positive things I enjoy as a citizen of this country such as the freedom to say what I just said? Should I be deported and go live with the Taliban?
Well all I can say is that I am a good citizen. I pay my taxes, I am law-abiding, I am nice to my neighbours and I help old grannies cross the road. In fact, I contribute far more to this country than your average patriot who causes mayhem in a town centre on a Saturday night and scrounges off the social.
Moreover, although I don’t claim to speak for all immigrants or ethnic minorities my “bad attitude” is shared by many of them I’m sure. They too have a chip on their shoulder as big as mine and quite right too.
Anyone but England
Now of course I fully realise that at the end of the day this is just a football game and that the England players (as individuals) may not be racist, Islamophobic neo-cons.
But this is not about football or football players for me. This is about symbolism.
The English invaded and occupied my country; they forced me to come over here for economic reasons; they made me feel like an inferior human being. So the very least I can bloody do is hope they get stuffed at footie.
Oh I forgot one thing. I also hate the England team because I am a football fan and the England team has consistently played the most turgid, uninspiring boring brand of football for decades.
Anyone but England.