Video Download

                       28 Jan 2008

Waiting in line to purchase a snack at school is far removed from the experience commonly found as fans proceed to the stadium of professional soccer games.  The playful and unsupervised jockeying for the best choice of food for the mid-day meal will change as these children become adults and attend a professional soccer game.  There the fun turns into an aggressive and mean-spirited effort to degrade and humiliate the opposing fans and their team.

 Soccer teams and the top players are well known to this young generation of Argentines.  They admire the jerseys worn by great players of today as well as the past.  Here the signed jersey of the legendary Maradona is an item highly valued and viewed with awe.  Some follow him with religious zeal and view Maradona as a god.

 Visions of fame and fortune seem within the grasp of some as they view awards for achievements of past heroes. At this point, life on a professional soccer team is only a dream.

 The fun times of playing soccer, volleyball, and other sports in school is a way of developing life-long athletic skills, valued friendships, and the meaning of sportsmanship.  For many, these positive attributes of sports are lost on the way to adulthood.  Instead of treating sports as a game of skill and endurance in which few achieve a pinnacle of greatness, the focus of the soccer fans is on participating in a conflict based on intimidation and violence. 

 This food vendor is well prepared for the fans as they seek to gain access to the stadium. Hundreds of police are also well prepared for the fans.  Police have their guns and clubs ready, television stations have their cameras running, and guard dogs are all waiting for the violence to erupt. Police helicopters are circling overhead. The use of horses further heightens the confrontational atmosphere that grips the environment surrounding the game.  Display of power by the authorities has become the accepted method for limiting the destruction caused by the fans at the games.  An example of this power is observed in the police lineup that the fans are required to pass through as they proceed to the gate. The entering fans are toughly checked for possible weapons. Even the water bottles must be left on the outside of the stadium. 

 Typical of these games, the fans of the visiting team receive the greatest amount of scrutiny by the police. The fans of this visiting team wear mostly blue garments signifying their team color. They enter at a different gate than that of the home team.  Keeping fans of the opposing teams separated on their way to the stadium entrance as well as after they finally arrive in the stadium is necessary and accepted.  Here, the red identifies the home team … which also has its stadium painted red.

 The fans portray their team allegiance not only with what they wear but … when given an opportunity … with Interesting comments and actions. 

{use original sound track, use subtitles in bold – NO ENGLISH NARRATION}

 0:15 – 1:20  (3 MEN)

3 men, - Boca is everything, everything, we come from Cordoba, so we are going to be champions!

0:25 - 39 sec.  -  (MAN)

David:  What is BOCA to you?

Man – Everything, a passion, Boca is the biggest thing in the world

David:  Your dream for your family, being from Boca?

Man – It´s all the same.  Boca and my family are the same Boca is my family.

 1:00 – 1:15   (MAN W/ TATOO)

David:  What is Boca to you?

Man with tatoo:  Look, Boca is everythingBoca is my life, my passionMy mother gave me life, and Boca gave me my heart.  Understand?  And Diego is the greatest thing there isHe’s the best.

Tattoos of their team symbol, pictures of their favorite player, as well as a variety of other designs are common.

 This is not a place for women and very few attend.  Fewer still are the children found among the fans.  Youngsters who come with their parents are caught up in the pre-game rituals.

 The conflict between good and evil is illustrated by this sign … “Today, God against the devil”.  The devil is the symbol for a major soccer team in Argentina … Independiente … the red team.  These men desperately want the devil to win.

 Members of the notorious barra brava make up a significant part of the fanatical supporters.  Every team has a barra brava … organized mobs that receive free tickets and transportation to the games in return for their allegiance and loyalty to the organization.  These barras have been linked to extortion, drug dealing, political intimidation, and even murder.

 The police recognize the influence and power of these mobs and make them wait until just prior to the beginning of the game to enter the stadium.  They come … in mass … carrying large bags of flags to be used to excite the crowd during the game.  The police require that the bags be emptied for inspection to insure that weapons and bombs are not brought in.  Once past the police checkpoint … taking their bags … they rush into the stadium.

 By game time, the stadium is full, the fans are roaring with excitement.  Usually, explosives mark the start of the game.  Somehow these have been sneaked inside past the guards. In this case, the red smoke, symbolic of the home team color … that of the devil … envelops one end of the stadium.

 The fans never sit … no seats have been provided.  Once the game begins, the individual and small group fanaticism turns into an organized manifestation of their desire to dominate and humiliate the opposing force.  This excessive display of emotion builds as the game continues. Urged on by the barra brava leaders … the standing fans are whipped into a frenzied state of mind.  They make cheers and gestures to signify their support of their team.  Much of the chanting consists of inflammatory, derogatory, and obscene statements about the opposing team and their fans.

 By the end of the game, emotions reach a point that results in chaos, violence, and … in some cases … loss of life as the opposing fans clash.

 (use Spanish translation for Blue words which will be an onscreen overlay)

During recent years in Argentina, violence at soccer games has contributed to Over 150 People Killed and hundreds of Serious Injuries with millions in Property Damage    

The historic Cabildo on the Plaza de Mayo continues to be a meeting place for concerned political, civic, business, and religious leaders. It was here in 1810 that the country’s first independent government was formed.  On this day the meeting is focused on the recommendation of new laws that would reduce violence.  Some of the participants of the meeting expressed their thoughts about the subject to the media.

 English narration -- different narrator here…woman’s voice …

{Her excerpt is:  LD 5 - 1:25 - 1:40  She says that}   people have it in them to find peace in society so that everyone can have a decent quality of life.

 English narration --  different narrator here … man’s voice/not David
{Gomez excerpt is:  LD 2 - 1:59 - 2:15 (but best if you can extend it to 2:27)
  He talks about} the No More Violence Campaign is the tool the Lord has given us to reach this change...there is a lot of violence everywhere...the campaign is a very positive tool to change what no one has been able to change yet and what God wants us to change.

Enacting new laws is a difficult process and may not achieve the desired results.  Furthermore, any change in the status quo would be strongly opposed by the barra brava. 

 The violence continues … force and intimidation continues … clubs, horses, dogs, and bulletproof vests are standard crowd control equipment … but this is not the way of peace. … A small group of people wearing black t-shirts with the white letters  … “No More Violence”… on the front and …“a message from God “…on the back is having a big impact.  Using God’s Word and a commitment to show love and respect to those that appear to deserve little, the men and women in this group are able to do what force cannot. The crowds respect this small band of messengers.  The police stand back and appear more as observers than participants in the control of the over exuberant fans. 

(Long pause)

One team member was told by a police officer: “If you don’t calm them down we’re going to get ‘em.  … So he delegated his authority to me.”  Another team member was told:  “Violence is a family tradition.  My father taught me how to be violent.”

 (approx. 30 sec.  no narration … background sounds and video only of NMV group in action)

 Putting on “the full armor of God”, … a vivacious young woman in her black shirt moves among the crowd watching for opportunities to intervene should volatile situations erupt.  When asked about why she was involved in this dangerous work, this Christian warrior replied

….1:45 – 2:07  (BELEN) {use original sound track, use subtitles in bold – NO ENGLISH NARRATION}

 David:  Why are you all here today?

Belén:  Because God believes that the city can change and to plant what is in God´s heart in our city.

David:  How do people accept it?

Belén:  It´s difficult.  Some will, because they have so much pain in their heart and they know they can´t continue.  For others, the pain blinds them so much that they don’t want to receive love.

David:  thank you

Belén:  you’re welcome

 Once inside, restraints are relaxed and violence usually erupts in the stadium.  In an effort to remind the crowd that violence should not continue, if possible, a huge flag is unfurled on the field of pro soccer games at halftime or before the games.  The flag is carried out on the field by young people wearing the black t-shirts that have the same message as the flag, … “No More Violence” … “A Message from God”. … In this instance, the flag is displayed in a school playground for the camera since the Independiente Devils Team will not allow it to be displayed in their stadium … believing that it will cause them to lose the game.

 The No More Violence Campaign is carried out by local churches reaching across Argentina that wish to use this tool to reach their community.  Currently, there is work being done in 30 cities related to the campaign.  (Do we need to say something about the new work in BA schools?)

 Emanuel Baptist Church is one of the churches where people are stepping out with God.  A group of young adults … committed to helping bring change … is led by two men … sold out to God ... Tati, the pastor of the church and Darío, a father whose life has been dramatically changed as God brought him out of the barra brava.  Listen as these men tell us why they feel it is so important to embark on this path of peace.

 English narration --  different narrator here …
{Pg. 5, the Pastor of Emanuel Baptist Church.  His excerpt is LD 1 - 0:45 - 1:02  He says that}  In my city, week after week, 40 to 50 thousand people come together in the stadiums.  We could stay in church and pray for those lives, and that would be great, but we feel it’s better to not only pray for them, but to go meet them.

 English narration --  different narrator here …
{Darío´s excerpt is LD 25, 2:09 - 2:27}.
  What God did with my life...I have died to my old life.  With Christ I was born again.  Thanks to Him, I can be a testimony that things can change.

 Located in a poor area known as a villa  in Buenos Aires, Emmanuel is a church that never closes the doors to its building.  It is a refuge for the street kids who live in the neighborhood providing them with a place of peace and love.  Many of these kids desperately need a refuge … a place where people talk gently … a place where people care … a place where people will listen …  a place for fun … a place of safety and acceptance.

 Every Saturday kids from the area eagerly come to Emmanuel for a special time. At the church, classes are held teaching them the way of peace.  Walking to a nearby park, they play soccer and other sports.   Through all the activities and interaction, kids are given the message from God … No More Violence. Members of the No More Violence Team do this because the kids believe there can be change.

 To be most effective, the “No More Violence” message must start long before the game.  The words in Colossians 1:20 tell us that peace is at everyone’s reach, they just don’t know it.  Peace is NOT the absence of violence but the PRESENCE of GOD in the hearts of the people.  The Way of Peace begins with people who are willing to step out and start the process of demonstrating and teaching the meaning of peace. 

 Working in the public schools sharing the same message of No More Violence is another extremely important avenue for reaching people.  Those involved may be more visible at pro soccer games but their work continues with setting up the sports museum displays for the schools.  David Balyeat, National Director of the No More Violence Campaign, and others are able to go into the schools and teach students about the effects of violence as well as presenting Christian principles.  The team share on an individual as well as small group basis what God has done in their lives.

 Unfurling the flag on the Plaza de Mayo before the Casa Rosada … the Argentine version of the white house … represents the desire of every team member to spread the message throughout Argentina.  In 5 years over 5 million flyers have been distributed by Christian youth at the gates of stadiums, at schools, city events, etc.

 God is doing some very exciting things through the this campaign.  Pray that children and people of all ages across Argentina would listen to the message from God and will see that they can know the peace that only comes from Jesus.

 (picture of flyer here – the 2 kids flyer)


“True change happens one heart at a time.”


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