How are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, Publish it not in the streets of Ashekelon lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice…”. This Biblical quotation of David when Jonathan died somehow describes the agony, pain, national loss of a nation to Germany on Tuesday.
The deluge of tears from old and young gave way to fear for the visitors. Knock-outs that sounded like bombs boomed the streets of Sao Paulo and the once-thickly populated streets became as empty as grave-yards. Mourning, grieving and sobs could be heard from within. Even the closest person to you became a recluse of sorts. I have never seen anything like this before. Even the Germans became conscious of their celebrations. Celebration gave way to caution.
Brazil, a country that produced such great footballers of yore – Pele who is now a paragon of football, Socrates, Ronaldo, Romario, Bebeto, Ronaldinho, Cafu, Neymar, a country so revered in football could not believe what happened to them.
The weather, in a twinkle, turned cold with showers of rain springing, apparently to wash away the tears of the nation. Somewhere, a shrill voice pierced the loneliness of the night shouting ‘Brazillllllllll’. It was like a lonely voice calling in the wilderness.
In the early hours of Wednesday, sporadic knockouts boomed in what my Nigerian friend described as ‘anger shooting’. He said that they had bought it in anticipation of victory and are condemned to using it angrily”.
At the sprawling Santana hotel where I stay, usually bright faces were dull and jokes disappeared from the very friendly workers. Many shops were shut as an atmosphere of uneasiness enveloped a usualy bright and bubbly city. Periodic checks through telephones happened with Paul Ogazi of NTA calling to check if all was well with me. He reported that his area was unusually calm but warned that I should not take my rascality too far by moving to town. The fear that their exit could ignite violent protests or pour petrol on anti-World feelings is still there.
What about the prostitutes who hitherto enjoyed each victory of the Brazilian team, with opened legs in celebration? Like they say ‘’what affects the eyes, equally affects the nose.
Brazilian Newspapers are also not left out in the national mourning with such banner headlines ‘’The disgrace of all disgraces”. ‘’A historic humiliation”. ‘’The biggest shame in history”