Vantage point

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why I Threw Away My Ferrari Gear

I used to be an ardent Formula 1 fan. And an ardent Ferrari fan. Over the years, I lost interest in the sport. But occasionally I would still catch portions of a race on TV and in my heart, I was always cheering for a Ferrari win. On a recent trip to Europe, I bought some Ferrari gear to occasionally display my support.

This morning I threw all the Ferrari gear in trash. Because of this.

The background story in a nutshell is this. Two Italian navy sailors killed two innocent Indian fishermen in Indian waters (the Italians dispute the jurisdiction). India arrested and charged the sailors. The Italian government has been supporting these murderers. So has the Italian media. Note that they're not denying that the sailors killed those innocent fishermen. They still want the Indian government to let the sailors go. Why? The reasoning is flimsy and convoluted and in my opinion can be summarized as "Because!". The arrogance and the racist undertones in Italy's stance are obvious to me and many others. To me, the subtext is, "yes, our boys killed two guys by mistake. But they were just a couple of brown fishermen. Let our boys go! Give them back to us and we'll give them a slap on the wrist. You Indians have no right to try someone who killed your citizens". Do you think that if the fishermen had been Americans killed off the coast of America, the Italians would dare be this brazenly arrogant?

And in a sickening display of further arrogance and willful insensitivity, Ferrari decided to inject itself into the situation. The Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix is this weekend. Ferrari has announced it will carry an Italian Navy flag specifically in support of the two murderous sailors. It's not like Ferrari has been carrying the flag throughout the season. They're doing this only in India. They're not even using the pretext of just supporting the Italian navy in general. Their statements specifically mention support for the murderers. To me this is a small scale version of a British team carrying the flag of General Dyer's regiment only in India to express solidarity with his actions in Jalianwala Bag. Or some other European team supporting one of their fellow citizens who has been locked up in Goa for abusing street kids.

Ferrari is wrong for needlessly wading into this debate specifically during the Indian GP. But more importantly, they are absolutely wrong in supporting those two murderers whose crime, I repeat, is not even in doubt.

As an Indian, I find Ferrari's stance reprehensible and I cannot in good conscience support them in the slightest. So I threw away my Ferrari gear. I hope Indian fans who go watch the race on Sunday are not so slavishly beholden to the team and so morally bankrupt and insensitive as to wear caps or t-shirts supporting these proud backers of murderers.