Tag Archives: Tel Aviv
Globalization – at least in terms of culture – has been understood by many to be a euphemism for Americanization, and with a McDonald’s, a Starbucks and now a Subway ostensibly on every street corner, this is a seductive thesis. However, an alternative reading of cultural globalization holds that this phenomenon in fact results in a multiplicity of cultures and perspectives becoming the norm, with the same tools of globalization – electronic communications technologies, production techniques and so on – engendering very distinct outcomes: Al Jazeera, CNN and CNC World are all 24-hour news channels broadcasting in English, but the differences between them are arguably far more pronounced than their many similarities.
In this context, a 2010 interview of footballer Haris Medunjanin by Michal Grundland of the Israeli sports portal ONE is something of a paradigm. Born in Yugoslavia in 1985, Medunjanin’s father was killed in the Siege of Sarajevo (1992-1995); finding refuge with his mother and his sister in Holland, Medunjanin went on to represent his adopted country at Under-21 level, winning the European Championship twice (2006, 2007). Despite possessing a left foot ostensibly educated at the Sorbonne and earning the nickname ‘Mr. Golazo’ at then La Liga outfit Real Valladolid, Medunjanin found first team opportunities limited in Spain; nevertheless, his signature of an €800,000.00 contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv was one of last summer’s biggest transfer surprises, particularly given his prominence in the fast-rising national team of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The televised rendezvous with Grundland – a svelte blonde who, despite a sometimes urgent questioning style, appears to be honoured and surprised that Medunjanin has chosen to play in one of UEFA’s least visible leagues – is a prime slice of globalized multiplicity:
1. Language. Grundland makes her introduction and signs off in Hebrew, but the interview itself is conducted in the world’s favourite second language, English;
2. Subject matter. A profoundly local topic – Medunjanin and his thoughts on Maccabi Tel Aviv – is being discussed in a global vernacular;
3. Commerce and connections. The transaction whereby Medunjanin moved to Tel Aviv produces a richly human dialogue between two ‘others’ – a Bosnian Muslim and an Israeli Jew – that transcends narrow tribalism.