How do I impress Kashmiri boy
Football and Terror: An Argentine Coach and Youth in Between
Iraq is sinking into revolt and terror and in Brazil Jogi's boys are giving everything on the lawn. On Facebook, twitter and even on the front pages of TA, BILD and Co., two words sound very loud: “Inshallah” (Arabic “God willing”) for the Iraqis and “Football”. But Inshallah Football is already the title of a documentary by the Indian filmmaker Ashvin Kumar - a must-watch for everyone who sees football not just as feet and balls.
It's about the Argentine soccer coach Juan Marcos Troia. He and his Brazilian wife move to Kashmir, a state in northern India, to give young people a way out of conflict, prejudice and disadvantage. The film Inshallah Football, unfortunately only in English, follows the boy Basharat, who is on Troia's football team.
Troias football academy "ISAT" trains children around the embattled mountainous region of Kashmir. Life there is not easy for many young men, mostly Muslims, in Troias academy, not even for the young footballer Basharat.
When displeasure broke out over the Indian occupation in Kashmir in the 1990s, many men crossed the border to Pakistan and were trained as terrorists there. Basharat's father too. Those who belong to a “militant” family in Kashmir today have nothing to laugh about: they don't have a passport, it is difficult to get a job or even to leave the country for education. Troias football academy gives the children of former terrorists a chance and a perspective to escape the misery.
Kumar's film immerses us in Troy and his family: They try everything to take Basharat to the training camp in Brazil. Kumar also lets us get very close to the boys and even shows how they try desperately to impress young Kashmiri women with little show-offs.
This is the first statement from Inshalah Football: Understand football as an opportunity for a better life, like in Brazil's slums, the favelas. (Even in the Brazilian City of God, football was never far away)
But the second statement goes deeper: In moving close-ups, Bashir, Basharat's father, tells of his time as a soldier. He tells of his march across the border into Pakistan, when he left his family behind for the religious struggle and lost touch with his children.
Bashir, who gave up the armed struggle and now has his own business, shows what terrorists are to him: Ordinary people, not sick psychopaths. Young men driven to a dead end by misbelief, money and manipulation.
So hopeless that even his sons still suffer.
Inshallah Football shows what a football family from South America on the other side of the earth, in Asia, can do: give hope for a just life where one is not labeled a child of terrorists.
And Kumar's film gives terrorism a story that doesn't seem as strange as a bearded Al Qaeda leader in a cave. He thus impressively shows that behind every person who clutches an AK-47 to fight there is more than mere fanaticism.
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