Sunday, July 11, 2010

SOUTH AFRICA: If they could deliver such a first-class sporting event and build stadiums that are the envy of the world, why can't they tackle their country's social and economic problems?

Is there more FIFA and World Cup organizers could have done during this month to raise global awareness of the problems here? Wouldn't it have been a good idea to have taken all those multimillionaire athletes to the townships not only to inspire children but perhaps tug on their heartstrings and deep pockets? Could a portion of all the three million tickets sold have gone to South Africans who truly need help?

SHOOT: An excellent, balanced article. Michelle Kaufman alternatives praise for South Africa with a little critical thinking in her epilogue. Nice work Michelle.

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I will go back to Miami recommending that all my friends make it here some day, if they can.

All that said, one gets the feeling that there will be a horrible World Cup hangover here over the next few weeks, months and even years. People were promised that the $5.2 billion party would change things, make life better in some tangible way.

If that meant improved roads, airports and stadiums, then yes, the promise was fulfilled.

But will the World Cup drop the unemployment rate, which is as high as 50 percent in some areas? Will it cure the AIDS epidemic? Will it feed the hungry? Will it prevent the xenophobic attacks against Somali and Zimbabwean immigrants that the country is bracing for in the coming weeks? Will it unite the government's feuding factions? Will it end political cronyism and corruption? Will it provide adequate housing for people living in one-room tin shacks with no running water or toilets?

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