Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Indonesia & Justice For The 96

So today is the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster when 96 football fans went to a game and never returned.

Many fans who are old enough will remember where they were when they heard the news of what happpened at the FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Me, I was on the train home after a piss up in London. We were sat opposite a Forest fan, a rare sight down our way, and he wasn't the most communicative chap in the world. Hardly surprising given what he had witnessed but given our drunken state and 'knowledge' we nodded among ourselves and said 'fucking scousers at it again.'

It wasn't until we got home and saw the awful images from Sheffield that we realised our first impressions were way off the mark. You didn't need to be a genius or even a South Yorkshire cop or tory politician to realise what had taken place was nothing to do with hooligans.

Fences and shitty policing were par for the course in the 1980s, the first images we saw proved what we had long suspected...they were a death trap.

Been there, done that, lived to tell the tale. Luton, Southampton, Coventry, Oxford...grounds with lousy away endings and a local plod who hated your guts and made that hatred clear were par for the course.

They weren't just Liverpool fans who died on the Leppings Lane terrace. They were Arsenal fans, Rochdale fans, Walsall fans. They were football fans and they could have been us.

While football fans knew what had happened, the government lied and said it was the fault of the fans. Football fans then were the bearded mullahs of the 20th century. It's taken 25 bloody years and we are only just having inquests. Justice eh?

There is a large Liverpool following in Indonesia of course. Seduced by the glamour of Keegan and the Kop, You'll Never Walk Alone and all the other stuff, despite the lack of success, they remain a massive club.

The last few years have seen a few Indonesian football fans go to games and not come back but they remain largely forgotten.

Does anyone recall the names of the Persib fans who died after being beaten up at Bung Karno Stadium. Or the Persija fan who was set upon and beaten to death near an upmarket hotel and shopping mall? Anyone remember their names or the anniversaries of their deaths?

Is anyone here demanding justice for them and the others who die on their way to or from football in Indonesia?

On the 25th anniversary of Hillsborough, the silence is deafening over dead Indonesians. Why should that be? Why do people find it easier to remember and honour people who died in a city they couldn't find on a map before they were even born? Is an English person's life worth more than an Indonesian's life?

The West is not the best and the East is not the least.

I guess we seeing globalisation at work here. The globalisation of grief. Let's forget about the local fans who die at football and jump on board the latest trends on twitter?

English football in the 1980s in many ways is like Indonesian football today. 'Polite society' loathes it. The pitches are crap, stadiums are falling to pieces and of course there may even be the odd outbreak of violence at games here.

Following on from Bradford, Heysel and greedy club owners, Hillsborough fundamentally changed the game of football in England and how it is experienced.

Perhaps those fans here who would like to remember the 96, perhaps they can try and bring about change in the football experience in this country by working to make sure no more fans die while doing what they love. By making sure the fans who have died receive some kind of justice? Surely that would be something tangible and worthwhile? Surely that would be a good way of honouring the 96?

It's not only charity that begins at home. So does justice.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?