Margin – Laaa Laaa La La La La La Laaa….
We’ve seen a couple of righteous articles on Pseud’s Corner recently following Kanoute’s t-shirt incident. And while I have replied to them in comments, I thought it might be time as some one paid to write about politics to opine on this matter in full.
So let me start with a question or three for Mr Kanoute.
Why stay silent while Israel showed months of restraint under fire from Gaza as the world’s press turned a blind eye to the deaths of innocent Jews?
Why stay silent while those Gazans overwhelmingly elected as leaders a terrorist organisation committed to the eradication of Jews in the Middle East?
Why stay silent while Fatah worked hard to re-establish trust and dialogue with Israel so as to further the aim of creating a Palestinian State, against the will and violent efforts of Hamas in Gaza?
I ask these questions because the responses are self evident.
And most important among the likely responses is that we don’t know that stayed silent at all.
Taking my first question, he might have jubilantly declared in private that the only good Jew was a dead Jew. Or he might have expressed despair at the sins of his fellow Muslims and the damage they were doing to the cause of a Palestinian state while assuring their own eternal damnation by committing murder.
What he did or didn’t declare we don’t know. He never told us. And why should he? He is not a politician or a journalist or a philosopher. Or at least not one of any public interest. He is just a private citizen. And like all private citizens we leave him to his views and make little judgement of the degree of his bias and extent of his knowledge.
But by using the publicity machine that chance has provided, he somewhat loses that right does he not?
I commented on other articles here about this matter and was quickly challenged on my views by personal investigation (for example, what did I think about Spurs fans being homophobic, and so on).
And that is just and right. I expressed a view, and in challenging me on that view my motives and by biases are fair game.
So, I want to know if Kanoute is anti-semitic. I want to know if he backs Fatah’s efforts to establish peace in the Middle East. I want to know if he supports Hamas’ shelling of innocent children.
And I want to know these things because he tried to make his politics, which might for all I know be abhorrent, my business.
But of course there is no place for such a debate on a football field. I’m not even permitted to cross the white line onto the playing surface and engage in a civil conversation with him.
So here is my prejudice.
My questions were the questions of some one who has been touched in his life time by terrorism. They were the questions of some one who has long supported peaceful efforts to gain long overdue justice for Palestinians. And they were the questions of some one who despairs at the self righteous pomp on display among those who protest against Israel but didn’t speak up two months ago while Hamas was killing Jews.
And that is what politics is about. It isn’t a field of right and wrong answers. It is a place for divergent and conflicting opinions based on variable perspectives and priorities. It is a place where views come together because different people see the world differently. Not rightly or wrongly. Just different.
But of course Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression go far beyond the Middle East.
In the House of Commons it would be perfectly legal for any member to stand up and declare that ethnic minorities need to be removed from the UK to protect the biological distinctiveness of the indigenous population.
On Speakers Corner in Hyde Park anyone can stand and argue that homosexuality is a sin and should be banned for the moral protection of our own population.
And so to Spurs.
This weekend Spurs played Portsmouth, and it is one of those rare matches where Spurs fans turn their attentions away from hating Spurs players, and towards hating an opponent.
Sol Campbell is to Spurs fans the ultimate example of everything that is wrong with modern football. He showed no loyalty to his club when he left to join their rivals. No honesty when he signed a contract with that club while telling his existing club he would never do so. And he showed no integrity when turning out in an FA Cup Semi final against the team he had already signed for, and playing a part in their success that day.
So Campbell is hated not for his alleged homosexuality, but for his football. However, that has repeatedly turned into homosexual insult, along with the general referencing of him as Judas who so far as I know was not gay either.
The club were clear that homophobic abuse would be punished, the police boosted camera numbers, and the fans responded by not singing Sol Sol wherever you may be… but instead performing the song as “Laaa Laaa La La La La La Laaa….”
And so to hypocrisy.
I fundamentally believe racist and homophobic abuse should be kept out of football. The football authorities agree.
I fundamentally believe fans of any sexuality, nationality, race or religion should be able to enjoy football without facing the sort of offence one can generally expect not to face in daily life. The football authorities agree.
And I fundamentally feel that because football thus can’t be an open policy forum, politics must be kept out of the game. The football authorities agree.
So I call now on one person who backs free expression for the campaign for a Palestinian State, to be consistent.
I call on one such person to say they would equally back a footballer displaying a swastika.
I call on one such person to say they would equally back a footballer displaying “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”
And most of all, I call on one such person to say they think that fans should be able to sing at any match they like the words “Sol, Sol, wherever you may be - Not long now till lunacy – don’t give a ^%$£ if you’re hanging from a tree – you Judas £$%^ with HIV”
Because that would be consistent.