Press beat column: invincible war invalids.

In the Invictus Games, disabled soldiers compete in sports. It’s nothing more than war continuation by other means.

There is a lot of buzz about the Invictus Games, including Meghan, Duchess of Sussex Photo: dpa

What the Invictus Games stand for? Let’s hear the Armed Forces themselves say it: "Will, courage, faith, strength." "Invictus," after all, is the Latin word for "undefeated." And for whom is the spectacle taking place in Sydney right now? "For our wounded warriors." That sounds a hell of a lot like Ernst Junger 2.0.

In order to get the world’s public suddenly interested in the bravery and skills of soldiers injured in war, everything in PR is being mustered to turn this unimportant sports festival into a mega-event: What dress is Duchess Meghan wearing? Wasn’t that marriage proposal at the award ceremony heartrending? And of course: "Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (60) cuddles heartily with mascot ‘Cobber’ at the Invictus Games" (image).

None of that happens at the Paralympics. The Invictus Games have been taking place since 2014. But never before have they been so hyped up as an event. Reason enough for the FDP to take up this cause in a completely national-liberal way: In order to "help these servicemen and women in the best possible way," it says in a motion, Germany should soon host the games.

Interestingly, no one asks the question why war-disabled competitions are the "best possible" help for people who have been physically or psychologically harmed during war missions. Die Zeit quotes a Bundeswehr sports therapist who says that the aim is to "lead the patients back to normal life". Back to Kunduz? Or where is the normal life of war soldiers?

200-meter sprint at the Invictus Games in Sydney Photo: ap

Not in civilian life, at any rate, because no one has the idea that war-disabled people, who now like to be called "veterans", should compete in Paralympic competitions in general disabled sports.

"Heroism of the undefeated"

After all, it’s all about the mission. Where the responsible minister, von der Leyen, only whispers "moving, motivating, inspiring," an experienced warlord like Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expresses himself somewhat more clearly: "To show the whole world the heroism of the undefeated Ukrainians," that is the purpose of the Games.

That is why soldiers who have not been injured meet their victims there, civilians who have been the target of a bombardment, for example. What is usually sold as the meaning of sport, that being there is everything, has been forgotten in less time than it takes a sprinter with prostheses to run 100 meters.

Lifting, even when lying down: Weightlifters at the Invictus Games in Sydney Photo: ap

That is why only athletes from NATO countries and countries cooperating with this military pact are represented and no athletes from, as one might say, hostile countries. Where "invictus", undefeated, is written on it, it is not about victims.

And people who have been injured in traffic or in a terrorist attack are of course not remembered. Oh, and people who have physical limitations since birth or due to illness, certainly not. Civilian pack, pah.

This text comes from the taz am wochenende. Always from Saturday on the kiosk, in the eKiosk or immediately in the practical weekend subscription. And on Facebook and Twitter.

The propaganda hubbub that Bild and the Bundeswehr make about their casualty games says a lot about the current state of the world. This is not new; the entire sport for the disabled is inconceivable without the First World War. It was only afterwards that crutches and prostheses were mass-produced, with which it was also possible to do sport. Exactly one hundred years after the end of the First World War, the continuation of life after steel storms is again glorified. This time, the continuation of the war comes across very neoliberally, as a challenge to our warriors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *