Iraqi Soccer Player Shot And Killed During Match

Regardless of your thoughts on the war, anyone can admit that citizens of Iraq haven’t got much to be happy about these days. What they do have is soccer, even though the national team lives and trains outside the country for their own safety. For all the havoc and violence plaguing the country, when the whistle blows and the game starts, the problems stop.

Iraq soccer
(Iraqi soccer players, in happier times.)

Or they did, anyway; according to the BBC, a game was stopped today after a player was shot in the head during the run of play. Worse yet, this doesn’t appear to be the work of terrorists pursuing their own agenda or anything; the motivation behind the killing was far, far more trifling.

An Iraqi football player has been shot dead by a spectator as he was about to score an equalising goal.

The shooting happened in the last minute of a game between two local rivals on Sunday, police say.

Yeah. Killed because he was about to tie the game. That’s rough.

Fair or not, this is the sort of incident that serves as a tipping point for a country; where do Iraqi civilians go from here? Do they respond by shaming, convicting, and executing the killer? Do they galvanize as a people and put a stop to the unnecessary violence? Or is this the sort of thing that only ushers in a new era of random violence, a by-product of living in squalor and violence for the last five years? No pressure or anything, Iraq; you’ve only got the tenuous balance of society at stake here. Don’t screw this up.