|The Famine Song - more than an "occasional disgrace".|
|17-09-08 04:18 PM|
For as long as any Celtic fan can remember, Rangers the club and Rangers supporters have continuously embarrassed both themselves, and Scotland with various displays of bigotry and racism. Much of their behaviour now provokes laughter as opposed to disgust, with many Celtic fans finding that they are more worthy of their pity than their anger. Most, if not all of their attempts at ‘slagging’ Celtic fans end up nothing short of disastrous, and trying to find the humour in their chants and displays ends up like trying to find a handsome hun, an impossible task.
Every once in a while though, the ‘occasional disgrace’ element shines through, and even those who would pity them are forced to stop in their tracks and recognise the very serious side of their behaviour. Over recent years, UEFA intervention has dictated that they must leave behind their famous songs about being ‘up to their knees’ in blood, not to mention their obsession with the Pope and the Vatican. It’s telling that in leaving these disgusting songs behind, a void was created which could only be filled with yet more songs of sheer hatred.
The problem Rangers and their supporters, as well as the rest of Scottish society, have to face up to, is that this is Rangers. When we talk of history and tradition, this is theirs. Hatred, bigotry, racism and sheer hatred of all things Irish and Catholic (and god help you if you happen to be both). That they have replaced songs of hate, with songs of hate, only goes to show that they in fact do not have any other history to celebrate, than one of hatred.
‘The Famine Song’, as it’s being called, is their latest attempt at a ’tit-for-tat wind up’ (copyright Martin Bain). A racist attack on the Irish community in Scotland , the chorus asking “Why don’t you go home?” now that “The famine is over”. There are of course various verses to the song, each more disgusting than the last.
That they have created this song, and that they sing it towards every player they deem to be Irish, or Catholic, or both, is not surprising. In fact, it’s precisely the sort of behaviour the world has come to expect from Rangers fans. The official reaction however does take things a step further, in that the club have joined the Rangers Trust in refusing to condemn the song. As opposed to warning their supporters that the song is racist, and should not be sung for that reason, they instead opted to inform their fans that “the interests of our supporters would be best served by refraining from singing the Famine Song”. Nice to see that they’re not just thinking of themselves.
Martin Bain also commented that “the absence of sanction or attention directed at any other club supports the contention that this is very much a one way street”. Mr Bain might perhaps like to read that sentence back to himself, and realise just how true it really is. It is a one way street, because there truly is not a team like the Glasgow Rangers when it comes to matters of racism, bigotry and sheer hatred. Martin Bain might also ask himself why it is that Strathclyde Police have informed him that Rangers supporters who sing this song are putting themselves “at risk of arrest”. Although no arrests have been made so far, this is as clear an indication as possible that there is an undeniable racist element to the song. Racially motivated abuse or acts of violence are a criminal offence in this country.
Compare and contrast with the songs sung by Celtic supporters. These songs are sung up and down the country every night, in bars, pubs and clubs. Bands tour the country with these songs. Walk into any branch of HMV, or log on to Amazon.co.uk, and you’ll find a long list of albums and CD’s for sale with the very same songs sung by Celtic’s supporters. I don’t recall many irish bands being arrested following a gig at the barrowlands.
This is the reality that Rangers, their supporters, and Scottish society in general seems to struggle with. Celtic and our supporters have a long, proud and legitimate history relating to Ireland. Ireland and Irish people are very much part of Celtic, and have been from the very day the club was founded. Rangers, on the other hand, have no such link, other than the sheer hatred they display towards all things Irish.
We can take comfort in the fact that the world is now, more than ever, seeing them for what they are. We must hope that Celtic Football Club are now prepared to do what they could, and should have done a long time ago, and leave the racist, bigoted half of Glasgow behind.
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