Saturday, February 03, 2007

AFTERMATH

A country in shame and a city, namely Catania, in shock; that's Italy today. I guess everyone now knows that I am referring to last night's violence at a football match between Catania [ at home] and Palermo. Apparently it began because a coachload of Palermo fans travelling with a police escort did not arrive in time for the start of the game. The first pictures I saw on TV were of the players and referee running off the pitch because they were being badly affected by the tear gas which was being used to try to control the crowd outside. Then we were shown more and more scenes of unbelieveable violence from outside the stadium and I kept switching between Italian TV and Sky. It was the Sky pictures, I understand, which were transmitted around the world. A respected and dedicated 38-year-old policeman was killed during what looked more like scenes from Baghdad than Italy and today's Italian papers carry a picture of his shocked, grief-stricken wife. Believe me, that picture says it all.
I say "a country in shame" but of course there is always a minority who have to go out and heap insult upon grief as if there has not already been enough hurt. In at least two cities, tasteless graffiti referring to the dead policeman have been found. What is the matter with people?
Today we learn that a second policeman is off the critical list and that no one else who was injured is in a grave condition. That is something but everyone is so depressed and sad. All football matches in Italy have been indefinitely postponed and there has been a minute's silence for the policeman at all sporting events today. On Italian TV at lunchtime the possibility of an "Italy without football" was discussed and the Vatican has suggested that no competitive football be played for a year whilst real solutions are found. The Prime Minister has also spoken strongly. Personally I cannot see Italy abandoning its beloved game but it has been marred by corruption, violence and even racism for too long and needs to be sorted out.
Meanwhile a decent man is dead and two children are without a father. And for what? Certainly not for the "glory of sport".
If you did not see the Sky coverage, these Italian pictures convey some of the horror of what happened.

16 comments:

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I do hope that you are ok, after what has been a very tragic day for all in Sicily.

I have emailed you.

Ian Grey said...

I vividly remember seeing the Bradford Fire on telly back in the mid-80s. I couldn't believe that the fans in the other stands were still chanting and jeering away as the wooden stand burned.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Anne. Yes, I'm fine, thank you - it's just that there is sadness in the air today.
Ian, that was terrible, too. What happens to people when they are in a "crowd"? By the way, how do you get a link to work within a comment? I can never manage it.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Ian, that was featured on You Tube recently. Had those chanting "fans" realized the extent of the fire then things may have been different. The same could certainly be said about Heysel in 1985 and elsewhere.

I think the Italian authorities have gone over the top on this one. Tragic events yes but a country without it's national sport........

Lee said...

Beats me what the matter with people is, Welsh! I'm forever shaking my head in amazement and horror at what they're capable of doing. Just when you think you've seen and heard it all, there is always something around the corner that continues the disbelief. I never call these kind of people 'animals' because animals don't behave like these people behave. I don't know if a suitable word yet has been put together to describe them properly...the closest I can think of are perhaps, 'mongrels', 'curs'...they are complete wastes of space.

Lee said...

Btw...I hope Ian answer your question Welsh, as I can never get the link to work on my posts either. I tried once...and all I got was a blank rectangle at the top of the post...no words, nothing.

Steve G said...

I've lived in Europe for a lot of years and I still don't understand the violence that takes place over soccer. It's a small minority that causes the trouble, but you would think that it could be controlled.

CityUnslicker said...

Shame for Italy today. As you rightlt say, they need for reform of the national game has been ignored for too long. England was so similar in the 1980's.

As for a link, view this page in html and se how Ian does it.

james higham said...

It's madness which gets into them and there's no reasoning with it. Same thing in the Sudan and Iraq.

The Tin Drummer said...

Super post. Terrible pictures - I saw them on Football Focus here yesterday. Mark Lawrenson was doing some analysis and he commented on the pictures - he was at Heysel I think, 22 years ago.
It looked like English football in the 80s, and I just couldn't believe the shots of the players running off trying to soothe their eyes from the tear gas floating over the pitch.
It's good to see the authorities taking action - let's see if they've got the strength to follow it through.

Ellee said...

I thought of you when I heard about this, football seems to turn normally sane people into zombies - I know, I live with three of them.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Jeremy. I don't know... I think they have been right to suspend games till at least after today's funeral. Reactions at that event show just how sickened everyone is by what happened. There will be no football next weekend, either, according to this morning's papers.
Lee, you are right. To call these people "animals" is an insult to animals who have more sense. Glad I'm not the only one who can't make a link work in "comments".
Steve, come to think of it I've never read of any such incidents happening in the States. So what do you do right over there that we are obviously not doing in Europe?
C/U and James, you are right in the comparisons you make. I don't know how to view the page in html, c/u - but thanks.
Thanks, tin drummer. Yes, those pictures of the players running off really shocked me. I think the authorities are right to have taken the line they have, but who knows whether they'll really get to grips with the situation? The policeman's wife speaking at today's funeral certainly hopes they do. - A very courageous woman.
Yes, Ellee, but your family don't go out and murder people, do they?

Colin Campbell said...

Browsers have a function where you can view the page source. In Firefox it is in the View Menu. If you do this for this page, you will get an unitelligible page of code. Luckily, there is a find function in the Edit Menu and you just type in Bradford Fire. That will take you to the code that you need.

It is always in the form Something (whatever you want to say in Ians case Bradford Fire Not sure what blogger will make of this since it will try to turn it into a link.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Colin. I will try it.

Ballpoint Wren said...

That's too awful! How amazing that even the Vatican has weighed in.

I wonder if Italians would ever consider forbidding soccer for a whole year!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi again, Bonnie. I suppose the Vatican had to say something and I think there was sense in what they did say. But a load of frustrated young football fans hanging around with nothing to do could also lead to trouble. Some matches have been played today, in stadiums that match the Government's safety requirements; other matches will have to be played without spectators.

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