Recently reading a post in French by migrating miss lulu where she rightfully expressed puzzlement at hearing Zidane’s speech and the way he sort of justified his move in light of the provocation that preceded, I couldn’t quite agree with her conclusion.

I personally don’t think that the initial provocation and the reaction are equally evil, so for a friendly discussion’s sake, here’s my plea.

First of all, I must thank FIFA, Zidane, Materazzixm and football altogether for this great opportunity to practice my analytic view of the world, to flex my lazy humor muscles, to try and understand the actions of others and to actually use my few neurons for something else than the morning paper’s sudoku.

Granted, football isn’t the most intellectual of ‘em disciplines, but – even thought a lot of money is involved backstage – it’s still pretty much politic-free.

You see, football is tossed at us like a bone. “Go play and enjoy.” Exchange player cards, become an expert, analyze the teams, predict results, be a loud fan, express yourself. And forget that in almost all remaining areas of your life, you must shut up, follow and avoid thinking for yourself. When it comes to society and politics in particular, we are but slaves. Brainwashed, conditioned, manipulated. Our status isn’t that far from the human batteries of the Matrix.

Any way, back to our sheep (from the French “Revenons à nos moutons”). What Zidane was saying, I think, is that while we can’t excuse his own act, we should look deeper into the chain of events that caused it, as we should with everything else that happens in the world.

We address politics, wars, economy and our lives the way we address medicine: we try to cure symptoms regardless of the cause. And when one is sick, it’s too late to ignore the provocation of the virus and do nothing. We must react. When the aggression is violent enough, reaction is almost unavoidable. So why not try to prevent the attack in the first place?

All right. Reacting is bad. Zidane made a silly mistake. Period. But if we analyze any typical reaction a little further, we find that it is usually fast, dominated by emotions, often exaggerated, and rarely controlled. Does this justify reacting? No. But it humanizes it.

Let’s look at the provocation, now. Nothing fast there, in fact it is often planned long in advance. Emotions, if any, are deeply rooted and based on hatred and greed. Control is everything, it channels the provocation’s strength and guarantees its results. Provocation seeks but one thing, the devastating emotional response that will follow and grant whatever gain was needed. That, to me, is evil.

So if between the two I must choose, I will pick a reaction. Not to use it as an excuse but just because it’s the lesser of two weevils. And I will keep trying to grow beyond my reactions and upgrade them into actions. But until then, miss lulu, we are indeed still barbaric salvages.

Final note: And then one day, as individuals first and maybe even later as a race, maybe we shall finally evolve out of our aggressive nature and embrace Aikido’s philosophy which says that if someone attacks you, they have a problem and deserve your help with it. Aikido teaches harmony through a spontaneous use of energy to avoid conflict. Maybe our world is ready for a huge Aikido lesson. May the teachings of O-Sensei be heard and felt by all people as well as nations. We desperately need it. And don’t forget to bow when entering and leaving the world’s dojo…