Polish-born soccer player Lukas Podolski (left) scored the two goals that gave Germany a 2-0 win over Poland last Sunday in the Euro 2008 tournament.
That has enraged far-right Polish politician Miroslaw Orzechowski of the League of Polish Families. He told Polish newspaper Dziennik:
If someone performs in the colors of a foreign state, there's already a desire there to renounce citizenship.
Going a step further, he also told a Polish radio station that Podolski should be stripped of his Polish citizenship and that he would take legal action if the country's president didn't follow through, according to German media reports.
Podolski emigrated from Poland when he was 2 and has Polish and German passports, so he wasn't exactly playing in the colors of a "foreign state." Moreover, he bent over backward to show respect for his country of birth by refraining from cheering exuberantly when he scored his two goals.
The entire incident is an example of the complicated transnational identities that arise in a mobile, globalized, and interconnected world. I have friends who were born to immigrant parents in one country, married someone from another country, and moved to a third country -- mother, father, and child were born on separate continents. "Where are you from?" is no longer a simple question for such people.
Perhaps that's why U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama -- born in Hawaii to an American mother and Kenyan father, and raised for a while in Indonesia -- appeals to so many worldwide. We're entering an era of people with borders.
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