I try hard to keep the articles I write to matters concerning the club I hold dear. I have no great interest in any other club and find in Celtic’s history all the inspiration I need to write. There have been triumphs, disasters, brilliance and occasional calamity but always it is a story which fascinates me. I tend not to mention Rangers much in my writings for as you all know other Celtic writers follow their fortunes with a mixture of caustic wit and wry humour. Today however I’ll break my unwritten rule of not mentioning the club from Ibrox however you perceive them. Some things need to be said…
Some of our Italian friends, sick of corruption and the self-serving elite who seem to run the country to benefit only themselves, demonstrated on the streets a few years ago. Their cry was a simple one and summed up in one word: Basta! This word means simply ‘enough!’ It is a cry of frustration and anger and a sign that many Italians are heartily sick of corruption in their country.
I raise this word not in the context of financial corruption but in the context of the deep moral corruption which affects a minority in our society. I saw a video online of beer bloated faces in Berlin yesterday grinning as they chanted about child abuse. Let’s not beat about the bush, this reprehensible and debased behaviour is not carried out by social progressives out to save children from abuse it is merely a vehicle they use to further their hatred of Celtic FC and their followers. In the past few years we have witnessed the sight of grown men chanting things such as ‘Who shagged all the Boys’ and ‘The Bears are having a Party, the Tims are shagging weans.’ At the Hogmanay Derby match the Celtic supporters chants of ‘Celtic, Celtic’ were echoed back by thousands of voices chanting ‘Paedos, Paedos.’ What the hell is wrong with so many people that they cannot see how demeaning it is to the victims of abuse it is to use a 50 year old case to point score against a rival football team? Statistics would suggest that at least some of the victims of this type of crime will be standing beside them in the stands as they chant these songs. This isn’t banter, this isn’t a laugh, this is people descending from the gutter into the sewer and every decent supporter in the country should condemn it for the guttersnipe trash it is.
The knee jerk reaction from the brain donors who engage in this filth is to engage in ‘whataboutery’ or rabbit on about offensive Rebel songs or other such items which rip their knitting. Get it clear in your minds, two wrongs never make a right. Others are so steeped in their hate that they no longer care how they are perceived and such people may be beyond reason. I actually had one commenting on my Blogs that I was a ‘Vile sectarian bigot’ for daring to comment on the bigoted songbook aired at a SPFL game. The person involved called himself ‘Captain Black’ which anyone with a PC could soon ascertain was one of the code-words used by a Loyalist Paramilitary group in the troubles to claim ‘responsibility’ for various brutal crimes. That is the level of debate some wish to have: Our side good – your side bad. It’s pathetic and useless debating such people. One cannot reason with unreasonable people.
Too many people see the world in simplistic black and white terms. Child abuse affects all groups, all cultures, all denominations and is one of the scourges of the modern world. It is not and should never be seen as something to be chanted about at a sporting fixture, nor is answering it in kind worth demeaning yourself with. I once heard someone say, ‘For every Torbet there will be a Kincora.’ There is hard truth in that as that is the nature of this insidious problem. It is in all our interests and in the interests of our children to work together to stamp it out.
The idea that a criticism of some in a group is not criticism of all is lost on some. There are many Rangers fans who despise the bigotry and the child abuse fixation of some of their fellow fans, just as there is a broad spectrum of people following Celtic who have different views of a variety of issues. Nor is this battle between different clubs as every club will have its share of fools and knaves. This is about all the decent people who love football and care about their clubs saying, ‘Enough!’ It’s about Hearts fans educating the idiot dressed as Jimmy Saville and wearing a Celtic shirt. It’s about Aberdeen fans telling the fool with the offensive banner that he represents no one but himself. It’s about the silent majority of decent Rangers fans finally growing a pair and claiming back their club from the Neanderthal element who repeatedly drag it through the shit. It’s about Celtic supporters self-policing and being continually self-critical about banners, songs and effigies. It is very easy to become that which we claim to despise.
Football is a passionate, tribal game which raises emotions to levels we don’t normally see in our sedate lives. But some things are too much; some things go too far and attempting to use child abuse to point score is simply beyond the pale. Some idiots may be too lost in their hatred to care but we owe it to the rising generation of young Scots who love football to say: Basta! That’s enough.
I hope we do and I hope we walk that road together as fans of the greatest sport there is and as decent human beings.