Today the world of football is rallying around the small Brazilian club Atlético Chapecoense after most of its players and staff, as well as the sports journalists accompanying them, were killed when their chartered plane crashed in the Medellin region of Colombia. Chapecoense had, against all expectations, qualified for the final of the Copa Sudamericana, the South American equivalent of UEFA’s Europa League competition.
The Brazilian FA have canceled tomorrow’s cup final and all matches this weekend as a mark of respect. Other clubs have called for solidarity with Chapecoense and requested that the club be exempt from relegation for a period of 3 years as it tries to recover from the tragedy. They have also pledged to loan players to Atlético should it elect to continue to fulfill its fixtures for the rest of this season. The Colombian side Atletico National that would have been their opponents in the 1st Leg of the final have requested that Chapecoense be declared Copa Sudamericana champions.
Some Celtic fans have also asked our club to stock the jersey of Atlético Chapecoense in the Celtic shops and to donate all profits from sales back to the Brazilian club. Every act of solidarity with the club and its fans should be embraced. In an era where greed has become the definition of football, there are still some acts of human solidarity that we as fans can participate in, with or without the consent of those at the top. Our humanity will always eclipse their greed.
Every incident that results in the loss of life is a tragedy, but some tragedies hurt more when those who died carried the hopes and dreams of the people, of thousands of fans, of whole families. The Atlético Chapecoense Football Club just a few days ago celebrated one of its greatest football achievements, and today it suffers the worst episode of its entire history. TAL Fanzine extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victims and to the fans of Atlético Chapecoense.
The Zionist regime of Israel despises the ‘apartheid’ description of their cruel oppression of the Palestinians.
This is the definition of apartheid: “a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race.”
Now, I don’t believe in using words such as ‘race’ as that term implies differences in humans that don’t actually exist, apart from in the warped minds of evolution deniers.
The Nazis believed in racial purity, as did the architects of apartheid in South Africa. The Zionists obviously believe that the Palestinians are ‘culturally’ different to them, not only in terms of religion and language but also ‘race.’
There are some who still believe in the ludicrous genealogies of the Bible right back to Adam and Eve or at least back to Shem, y’know Noah’s lad who founded the ‘Shemite’ race.
Such people still use these spurious and childish arguments to justify their ‘right’ to land and natural resources and to remove others from it and place them in what amount to huge open prisons.
Like the South Africans, they believe that they are intellectually, morally and culturally superior to these lower, savage races. They dress up their barbarity in cloaks of sophistry.
They use words such as these:
“Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of American — of America’s people and of America’s presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.”
– Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the US congress in 2015
‘Promised lands?’ Who promised them to you? Your God? Oh, OK then, crack on!
‘Cherish freedom and offer hope!’ You’d have to laugh at such nauseating lies if it wasn’t for the pathetic reality of the world’s richest state giving tacit approval for its client state’s (or is the other way around) illegal and disgusting treatment of the Palestinians.
Israel needs to be treated with similar contempt shown to the South African regime in the 70s and 80s. If the waving of a Palestinian flag at a football match in Glasgow can be regarded by Uefa as an illegal act then maybe it’s UEFA that needs to examine itself, not Celtic fans.
Meanwhile, the campaign to ‘Match the fine for Palestine’ continues to build and is now standing at around £140,000 – a phenomenal sum of money raised by Celtic fans in solidarity with the Palestinian people, in aid of two very worthwhile charities working in the occupied territories. The original modest target of £15,000 set by the Green Brigade has been bettered almost ten times over! It is an unequivocal answer to the oligarchs who run the game that these football fans will not be silenced when it comes to matters of injustice, inequality, racism and apartheid.
The worldwide response to the stance that thousands of Celtic fans took in solidarity with the Palestinians during their Champions League tie with Israeli side, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, leaves no doubt that in the second decade of the 21st century internationalism remains more powerful than any number of Apache helicopter gunships, cruise missiles, and tanks when it comes to shaping the world. For the Palestinian people, living in a de facto open prison in Gaza and under the longest military occupation in modern history in the West Bank, the sight of Celtic fans flying and waving a flag that means more to them than life itself will have made their hearts soar, reminding them they do not stand alone in defiance of an oppressor dedicated to their subjugation, cultural annihilation and despair.
While no one is suggesting that a free Palestine is just around the corner, the growth in international support for this righteous objective, with the spread and growth of the international campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel, makes the status quo evermore untenable and unsustainable.
A people who find themselves living under occupation, subjected to a racist system of apartheid at the hands of a colonial power, can never be anything but politically aware. Under such conditions you don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing, and neither does it take a PhD in politics or economics to gain an understanding of the world. Thus the struggle waged by generations of Irishmen and women against British colonialism entrenched the worldview and core values that underpin Irish republicanism. A key plank of those values is the unshakeable belief that standing on the side of justice in the matter of oppression is more than a choice it’s an obligation and a duty. When it comes to the Palestinians this takes on added force when we consider the solidarity they have shown towards the Irish struggle in the past.
One of the most moving documents I have ever encountered in my political life was a letter written by Palestinian political prisoners in tribute to Bobby Sands and the other hunger strikers upon Sands’ death. The letter was smuggled out of the Nafha prison in the Negev desert, where they were incarcerated, and arrived in the Falls Road soon after.
“To the families of the martyrs oppressed by the British ruling class. To the families of Bobby Sands and his martyred comrades.
We, revolutionaries of the Palestinian people who are under the terrorist rule of Zionism, write you this letter from the desert prison of Nafha.
We extend our salutes and solidarity with you in the confrontation against the oppressive terrorist rule enforced upon the Irish people by the British ruling elite.
We salute the heroic struggle of Bobby Sands and his comrades, for they have sacrificed the most valuable possession of any human being. They gave their lives for freedom.
From here in Nafha prison, where savage snakes and desert sands penetrate our cells, from here under the yoke of Zionist occupation, we stand alongside you. From behind our cell bars, we support you, your people and your revolutionaries who have chosen to confront death.
Since the Zionist occupation, our people have been living under the worst conditions. Our militants who have chosen the road of liberty and chosen to defend our land, people and dignity, have been suffering for many years. In the prisons, we are confronting Zionist oppression and their systematic application of torture. Sunlight does not enter our cell. Basic necessities are not provided. Yet we confront the Zionist hangmen, the enemies of life.
Many of our militant comrades have been martyred under torture by the fascists allowing them to bleed to death. Others have been martyred because Israeli prison administrators do not provide needed medical care.
The noble and just hunger strike is not in vain. In our struggle against the occupation of our homeland, for freedom from the new Nazis, it stands as a clear symbol of the historical challenge against the terrorists. Our people in Palestine and in the Zionist prisons are struggling as your people are struggling against the British monopolies and we will both continue until victory.
On behalf of the prisoners of Nafha, we support your struggle and cause of freedom against English domination, against Zionism and against fascism in the world.
On Wednesday August 17, 2016, thousands of Celtic supporters answered this message of solidarity from Palestinian political prisoners in 1981 with a message of their own. They did so in the face of UEFA threats of disciplinary action against the club and a hefty fine. Celtic FC and its fans should be proud to pay any such fine, viewing it not as punishment but as an investment in their humanity. As Malcolm X said, “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.”
The world now knows that in an age of cynicism and indifference to suffering, Celtic supporters most assuredly do stand for something.
Click here to make a donation – #matchthefineforpalestine
At the Champions League match with Hapoel Beer Sheva on 17 August 2016, the Green Brigade and fans throughout Celtic Park flew the flag for Palestine. This act of solidarity has earned Celtic respect and acclaim throughout the world. It has also attracted a disciplinary charge from UEFA, which deems the Palestinian flag to be an ‘illicit banner’.
In response to this petty and politically partisan act by European football’s governing body we are determined to make a positive contribution to the game and today launch a campaign to #MatchTheFineForPalestine. We aim to raise £15,000* which will be split 50/50 between Medical Aid Palestine (MAP) and to the Lajee Centre, a Palestinian creative cultural children’s centre in the Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem.
MAP delivers health and medical care to those worst affected by conflict, occupation and displacement.
Working in partnership with local health providers and hospitals, MAP addresses a wide range of health issues and challenges faced by the Palestinian people.
With offices located in Beirut, Ramallah, Jerusalem and Gaza City, MAP responds rapidly in times of crisis, and works directly with communities on longer term health development.”
Aida is one of 19 refugee camps in the West Bank and has for 66 years played temporary home to Palestinians forcibly expelled from their homes in Hebron and Jerusalem. Its residents live in the shadow of Israel’s apartheid wall, cut off from social and economic opportunities by the wall and neighbouring illegal settlements and military checkpoints.
For the young people of Aida, the Lajee Centre offers hope and an escape from the realities of life under Israeli occupation via its art and culture programmes and sport programmes.
The camp’s only football pitch was built last year by the Lajee Centre, at the heart of Aida. The pitch is now protected by metal netting after it was damaged by tear gas canisters fired by the Israeli Defence Forces. Residents had previously played on recreation ground stolen by the wall.
The money will be a much needed boost to the Lajee Centre who will be able to extend their activities to bring much needed relief via their arts, dance and football programmes. One such programme is that of youth football, with the Lajee Centre looking to organise a youth football team to take part in the Bethlehem Youth League.
There are no organised teams in Aida, with basic equipment like boots in short supply. Funds raised will provide equipment, strips and travel costs to enable the camp to enter a team in the Bethlehem Youth League.
In recognition of the show of support from Celtic fans and all those around the world Salah Ajarma, Coordinator of the Lajee Centre will name the team ‘Aida Celtic’: “It will mean so much to our young people to be part of an official team, to have boots and strips and to represent the camp wearing the colours of our friends. Aida Celtic will be a source of pride for all in Aida”
Fans hold a banner reading “We climbed the hill in our own way”
“In due course the CPS will formally consider whether any criminal charges should be brought against any individual or corporate body based upon all the available evidence.”
– Sue Hemming, head of the special crime and counter-terrorism division at England’s Crown Prosecution Service.
Margaret Aspinall of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign
It took 27 years but JUSTICE is almost done today with the jury returning a verdict of UNLAWFUL KILLING to the inquest into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at Hillsborough Stadium in 1989. The truth has been confirmed, justice must now follow. In the words of Hillsborough Justice Campaigner, Margaret Aspinall, whose 16 year old son died in the stadium, those responsible for the disaster and subsequent cover-up must be held to account.
“Thank you, thank you”
– Response from one member of the public gallery when the verdict of unlawful killing was announced.
“Justice for the 96”
– Chant repeated by relatives and friends outside the courtroom in Warrington, near Liverpool, after the verdict was announced.
“You’ll Never Walk Alone”
– Relatives and friends sing the Liverpool anthem outside the courtroom.
“I think we’ve changed a part of history now.”
– Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the disaster, outside court.
“We’ve done it”
– Trevor Hicks, the president of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, whose teenage daughters Sarah and Vicki died in the disaster.
Trevor Hicks, whose two daughters died at Hillsborough
“A landmark day for all affected by the Hillsborough tragedy. 27 years of courage, resilience and determination.”
– Words accompanying photographs of all the 96 fans on Liverpool FC’s website.
“The FA reaffirms its deep sorrow and regret that these tragic events, which occurred at one of its fixtures, led to the loss of life of 96 football supporters on 15 April 1989…Ultimately, the inquests stand as testament to the struggle undertaken by the families so the truth might be brought to light…In looking forward, it is important we never forget.”
– Statement issued by The Football Association, the English game’s national governing body.
“Fantastic to see the reaction of the families outside the court! Very emotional as well. The truth is out AT LAST. Take note all the doubters!”
– John Aldridge, a member of the Liverpool team that played Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough on the ill-fated day.
“Finally, thankfully, justice for the 96! Rest in peace.”
– Former England striker turned BBC television football presenter Gary Lineker.
“Finally and way, way, way overdue, the truth prevails and justice is served. jft96.”
– Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, using an abbreviation for the slogan “Justice for the 96”.
Banners in memory of the Hillsborough victims outside the Inquest venue
“After so many years fighting for justice I am really pleased to see the verdict today, which confirms what we have been saying for a long time.“I am especially pleased for the families of the 96 who have sought justice for so long and with such dignity, as well as for the people of Liverpool and for football fans in general.
“Hopefully this verdict today will ensure that this kind of tragedy can never happen again.”
– Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez, Liverpool’s manager from 2004 to 2010.
“Everton Football Club salutes the Hillsborough families and their total vindication as Fighters for Justice. Theirs is the greatest victory in the history of football.
“RIP, the 96. Good night, God bless. From us across the Park.”
– Statement issued by Everton, whose Goodison ground is on the other side of Stanley Park from city rivals Liverpool’s Anfield.
“This has been the greatest miscarriage of justice of our times. But, finally, it is over.”
While it is certainly the case that the truth has now been established beyond question, full justice for the 96 and their loved ones has not yet been delivered. Today’s mealy-mouthed words of of sympathy and apology from politicians, police and media is not enough. These same politicians, police and press were only too willing to muddy the waters at the time and to blacken the characters of the victims by throwing doubt on the eye-witness accounts of the supporters who were at Hillsborough 27 years ago.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s apology and words of support are too little too late. What was Cameron’s position at the time of the disaster? He was a young Tory high-flyer who had been an adviser to Margaret Thatcher’s government. We do not know David Cameron’s personal view back in 1989, but we can say with some certainty that Thatcher was not sympathetic to the plight of the fans and their families and held a political grudge against Liverpool, a city that she and her government regarded as a ‘Red stronghold’ (and we are not talking football colours here).
We know that one of Cameron’s key political allies and a personal friend since his days at Eton and Oxford had little in the way of sympathy for the Hillsborough families and a low regard for the city of Liverpoool and its inhabitants in general. The London Mayor and Tory MP, Boris Johnson is the favourite to succeed Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party, it was his apparent lack of empathy that struck home when, a full 15 years after the disaster, he described the people of Liverpool as having ‘a predeliction for welfarism’ and ‘wallowing in their victim status’. He also repeated the outrageous lies of the South Yorkshire Police and The Sun newspaper that the fans were drunken hooligans who had contributed to the cause of the disaster.
It took Boris Johnson a full eight years to apologise for those words which were published in the Spectator as part of a piece on the kidnapping and murder of Liverpool man Ken Bigley by Al Qaeda in Iraq. Even then the apology was half-hearted and qualified by Johnson who lodged the unlikely defence that, ‘a big boy did it and ran away’. In 2012, in evidence to the Hillsborough Independent Panel, Johnson disowned the article, citing it’s real author as the right-wing journalist, Simon Heffer. However, Johnson was happy in 2004, as editor of The Spectator, to commission the piece from Heffer, which he then put his own name to. He is as responsible as editor and attributed journalist for that piece of writing as the person he commissioned to author it on his behalf.
As Margaret Aspinall of the HJC commented after Johnson’s apology in 2012: “What he has got to understand is that we were speaking the truth for 23 years and apologies have only started to come today from them because of yesterday. It’s too little, too late. It’s fine to apologise afterwards. They just don’t want their names in any more sleaze. No, his apology doesn’t mean a thing to me.”[
One of the key campaigners for truth and justice, Mrs Aspinall has said today that now we know the truth, the people responsible have to be held to account. That includes the police, politicians and press that contributed to and repeated the lies about Hillsborough and its victims for the last 27 years.
The Proclamation – declared on this day 100 years ago by Padraic Pearse on the steps of the GPO, Dublin, 24th April, 1916 – was the fuse that ignited the Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland
POBLACHT NA hÉIREANN
THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE IRISH REPUBLIC TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND
IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.
Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.
We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.
The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.
Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.
We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.
Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government:
THOMAS J. CLARKE
SEAN Mac DIARMADA THOMAS MacDONAGH
P. H. PEARSE EAMONN CEANNT
JAMES CONNOLLY JOSEPH PLUNKETT
It’s not simply because Sevco beat us in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup yesterday that Ronnie Deila should be shown the door at Celtic, it is the general decline of the team on the pitch that he should be held responsible for… But he’s not the only one.
The PLC board that appointed Deila is also culpable for the decline. Nowhere more so is this fall from grace apparent than in our performances in Europe in the last couple of seasons. Ronnie has presided over one of our most embarrassing periods in European competitions, that is the real indicator of his lack of ability and in the board’s failure to properly invest and build for the future.
For the last 4 years The Celtic PLC board has been treading water waiting for the team that now calls itself ‘the rangers’ getting to the top flight of Scottish football in order that those myopic pygmies who run our club can reignite their ‘Old Firm’ nonsense and lead the fans a merry dance to the usual sectarian undertones. Instead of investing for a future in Europe, we prepared for a future with Sevco… Celtic is a world ‘brand’ led by a parochially minded board of directors.
When an ordinary Scottish Championship team like Sevco can pass the ball around our players as if they were Barcelona – as they did in the first half yesterday – you know that the writing is on the wall for the manager and his coaching team. That was a pisspoor performance from a pisspoor Celtic side, which is led by a pisspoor coach.
There are some very good players in the current Celtic squad that are undervalued by the manager and underutilised as a result. I am convinced that a better coach would have achieved better results with different tactics and deployment of good players currently languishing in the development squad, on the bench or sitting in the stand. And there are players favoured by Deila who have failed miserably on the pitch this season, but have incredibly kept their place in spite of loss of form.
As one wit commented on the TAL facebook page, Ronnie may even be bringing us to the brink in league terms as well, ‘He could be in danger of losing a one-horse race!’ That really would be an ignominious ‘treble’ for the manager to achieve and is not a prospect that the Celtic support is prepared to contemplate over the remaining matches of the season. Ronnie should go and go now, no hanging around until the end of the season in the hope that scraping the league title will win him any respite with the fans. Take ‘gardening leave’ and make way as soon as possible please.