What It Means To Fight The Government.

I remember my earliest football memory.

It was the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup. I was 7.

One of the World Cups with too many wonderful highlights: Ronaldo Da Lima’s haircut(I was rocking something similar, although less bizarre 🤣)
Klose scoring all of his five goals with his head. His HEAD only!!!

I remember that diving header against Saudi Arabia. How I described it to whoever cared to listen. I used to tell them he used his head to roll the ball over the line. Lmao

I even tried it a few times and thankfully never got kicked in the head.

But my most wonderful memory of that World Cup was the Turkish team.

That team had incredible ballers like Hasan Sas and Hakan Sukur.

I remember watching the third-place playoffs between them and South Korea at my Uncle’s house. Amazing stuff!

Their goalkeeper Rustu Recber (I didn’t even know his name till this morning) had anti-glare paint under his eyes.

It made him look like Oded Fehr in The Mummy. You have no idea how impressionable that meant to a child.

If you’ve seen The Mummy, you’ll surely remember a Samurai lookalike with pretty tattoos on his face.

So, I woke up last night and couldn’t go back to sleep again.

Somehow, my mind drifted to that team and I decided to do a quick Google search just to relive the experience.

That Google search led me down a rabbit hole and affirmed something that’s been on my mind for quite some time.

I started with Hasan Sas, but what I saw on Hakan Sukur shook me to the marrows!

From scoring the fastest goal ever in World Cup history to being the country’s all-time leading goalscorer to being named as the greatest Turkish player of the last fifty years, he built on that reputation and delved into politics becoming a Member of Parliament.

But guess what?

Nowadays, he’s wanted for arrest in Turkey after he was charged with insulting the Turkish President on Twitter.

It doesn’t even end there.

He’s being charged with being a member of a movement designated as a terrorist organisation in Turkey.

According to his Wikipedia, Şükür fled Turkey in November 2017, taking up self-exile in San Francisco, California and planning to become a restaurateur in Palo Alto. He left this job because “strange people kept coming into the bar”.

In January 2020, Şükür told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag that he was working as an Uber driver and selling books in the United States. He also said that his houses, businesses and bank accounts in Turkey had been seized by the government.

Imagine going from the greatest player in a country’s history to being on the run from the same country. Alarming.

This post has nothing to do with Sukur’s political leanings, neither is it a demonstration of sympathy, but it’s always funny when people bash celebrities for not using their platforms to protest against the government, or not becoming the next Fela.

Fela was tortured and imprisoned repeatedly by different governments. His ageing mother was thrown from a balcony by soldiers, resulting in her death, just to prove a point to him.

Being Fela came with a prize.

Fighting a government is the hardest thing any single one individual can do.

It’s always an unending battle.

Ostracism, threat to life (yours and family), alienation, loss of money and property, and the list goes on.

There’ve been reports floating around already of DJ Switch being haunted for her Instagram Live broadcast of the #LekkiGenocide at the #EndSARS protest.

In certain quarters, DJ Switch is a hero.

In some, she’s the ultimate villain. And her crime? Exposing a government that opened fire on unarmed and harmless protesters.

At this point, being DJ Switch has a prize.

From Fela to Hakan Sukur to DJ Switch, the underlying theme is simple: fighting the government sounds easy in theory, but is not for faint of heart.

So, the next time you feel a certain urge to call out a celebrity for not speaking up with their platform, ask yourself if you’d truly do the same if you were in their shoes.

No need to rush into saying yes, self-awareness and soul searching doesn’t happen in a split second.

Uche Okoro

Writer. Sales & Marketing. Business & Investing Afficionado.

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