Honestly, the sun always shines on the Glencoe Car Park Run.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

You Dare To Call Me A Terrorist?

Well, what a week. I'm sure if you're reading this you'll know exactly what I'm talking about so I won't spend time regurgitating a blow by blow account. However, I hope you'll forgive me for attempting to take a slightly irreverent look at recent events. The reason I ask preemptive forgiveness is due to the sky-high levels of anger, resentment, mistrust and desire for a fight among individuals and factions all claiming a stake-holding in this story.

Even the high and mighty (tongue firmly in cheek) and obsessed (tongue not in cheek) Chris Graham of The Rangers Standard thought the story too good to pass without a lengthy blog.

Let me make my position clear at the onset. I am part of no faction, cabal, clique, forum, website, knitting group or provisional army. I'm a humble independent. A bit like the anti-sleaze MP Martin Bell, but without the white suit. I'm also an advocate of free speech who finds it difficult to be offended by anything anyone says...or sings. Maybe I'm just not a reasonable enough person.

A small, but vocal, group of fans are at the vanguard (Can I use that word when discussing anything related to Celtic, or has it been hijacked by the uber-Protestant tub-thumpers who have a penchant for threatening anyone, including some of their own, that don't fully subscribe to their La-la land vision of planet earth?) of all that is dominating, not only every waking hour of Celtic fans obsessed with all things Celtic, but also the consciences of leading politicians, QC's and, of course, obsessed Rangers bloggers.

Love them, loathe them or don't really care about them, you have to admit that, like Celtic in Europe this season, this small group are able to punch above their weight regarding being heard.

Disclaimer: just because I use the the phrase 'punch above their weight' doesn't mean I'm trying to attach any subliminal messages of violence to the group. Nor am I insinuating they're all wee men in need of a good feed. Just like race, religion, political beliefs or class I don't discriminate against fat, thin, tall, small or medium people, or those who prefer Coronation Street to Eastenders.

Such is the heightened anxiety among some, and the feverish appetite for digging dirt among others, it seems every word must be carefully chosen and triple checked for fear of it being used against you in evidence, whether in a court of law or the court of public opinion on social media.

And lo and behold anyone stupid enough to want to sing songs that any reasonable person may find offensive.

There's that 'reasonable person' again.

Okay, let's get it out there.

Anyone who gets offended by someone singing about their history or traditions, and wants them jailed for doing so, cannot possibly be as reasonable a person as they would have us believe. In fact, if they are intolerant of those who wish to sing such songs then it is these so-called reasonable persons who are the bigots.

Singing songs is how some people celebrate their culture. Would all the politically correct middle classes be so quick to condemn if one of the teams had an African connection and sung about slavery?

I think not.

I'm not saying all the songs are wonderful little melodies with enlightening lyrics. But it is part of the culture of a larger section of society than just those who frequent social media with their 'I'm offended at everything' philosophy.

But it's against the law I hear the panty-wetters also cry from the safe distance of their conservatories.

Do they believe revolutionaries who decide to make a stand against the state will be treated in an appropriate manner whereby the full force of the law will hit them so hard they'll be shot through the earth and reemerge in Australia?

No, wait, an enlightened nation wouldn't send criminals to the other side of the world for what is, in effect, victimless crimes. Well, not now anyway.

But still, these dastardly criminals, especially the ones who dare sing songs about terrorists fighting the evil empire, should be locked up, according to Darth Salmond and his FoCus stormtroopers.

Perhaps he has a valid point. What reasonable person wants to live in a society where sections of the community rejoice in the actions of alleged terrorists?

Some readers might be shocked at the use of the alleged in that last statement. In fact, many will be downright outraged at this humble writer taking such a liberty. Everyone knows the British government labelled the Irish Republican Army as terrorists.

But, as I'm sure many of you will say, it's not as simple as that.

Here's a link to a lengthy article about the problems of defining Terrorism.

And here's a link to an article about atrocities carried out by the British Army.

How does the song go again?

You dare to call me a terrorist while you look down your gun.

But we must follow the laws of the land in which we live is still the call from those with their eyes closed.

If everyone thought like them Britain would still own America.

Thankfully, American rebels, brave enough to stand up for what they believed, took on the might of the British Empire and won their freedom.

What's the difference between those gallant American patriots and the Irish Republican movement?

Imagine if Britain had said to America, 'Okay, you can have your independence, but we're keeping six states.'

How long would that have lasted before an American Republican Army attempted to right that wrong?

But let's not get too bogged down in history. We're here for a quick laugh at the ludicrousness of Alex 'The Fuhrer' Salmond's flagship Bill.

I can't help think it's just as well this new Offensive Behaviour Bill isn't retrospective. If it was then The Special A.K.A. could be facing life sentences for their blatantly outrageous propaganda campaign that culminated in them releasing a song calling for the immediate release of a terrorist convicted of plotting to overthrow the regime.

Warning: clicking this link will not only lead to a song about releasing a terrorist from captivity, it will also linger in your head longer than necessary and may pop out at an inopportune moment thus causing personal distress and embarrassment.

It is worth repeating that not only did this song directly challenge the British government's stance on Mr Mandela, it was also one of those tunes that, once in your head, would stay there all day and drive you nuts.

This was an example of politically motivated subliminal subversion, or words to that effect. Radio stations promoted the evil campaign by constantly playing the song.

Once-innocent, law-abiding citizens found themselves absently singing aloud whilst performing menial chores or watching landscapes drift by sitting in trains, buses and cars.

'Freeeeeeee-eeee Nelson Mandela.'

Friends and family would give these lost souls a little nudge to awaken and disturb them from their renditions, only to start doing likewise a short time later.

'Freeeeeeee-eeee Nelson Mandela.'

It finally got to the stage where millions of people around the world where being driven nuts by the horribly catchy tune loitering in their heads for days and weeks on end.

There was only one thing to do in order to save the world.

Nelson Mandela the terrorist was freed, and instantly became Nelson Mandela everyone's favourite uncle.

The world rejoiced at the sight of Nelson Mandela strolling to freedom, and breathed a sigh of relief as the song about freeing him was finally and definitively confined to the archives.

But, lest we forget, if this Offensive Behaviour Bill had been operational and global at the time, the song might never have been heard publicly, and poor Nelson Mandela would still be locked-up to this day.

In fact, if the British government of the day had their way Mr Mandela would still be locked up.

Here's a few quotes:

'This hero worship is very much misplaced'- John Carlisle MP, on the BBC screening of the Free Nelson Mandela concert in 1990

'The ANC is a typical terrorist organisation ... Anyone who thinks it is going to run the government in South Africa is living in cloud-cuckoo land' - Margaret Thatcher, 1987

'How much longer will the Prime Minister allow herself to be kicked in the face by this black terrorist?' - Terry Dicks MP, mid-1980s

'Nelson Mandela should be shot' - Teddy Taylor MP, mid-1980s

Yesterday's terrorists could be today's political and moral leaders. Because for everyone who claims so and so is a terrorist there are others who claim so and so is nothing more than a freedom fighter fighting oppression.

So, as you can see, tarring anyone with the terrorist brush is not as clear cut as some would like to believe.

If only Jerry Dammer's (founder and song writer for The Specials) muse had grabbed him earlier and taken him in a different direction then Scotland and Britain, if not the world, might be different place.

He wrote Free Nelson Mandela in 1984 after attending an anti-apartheid concert. Imagine he'd written a catchy wee number and called it Free Bobby Sands instead.

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