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Kicking off UEFA Euro 2012
May 30, 2012 3:31 PM   Subscribe

With just over one week to the UEFA Euro 2012 kickoff, a BBC Panorama special Stadiums of Hate uncovers widespread, systemic racism and far-right violence amongst sects of Polish and Ukranian Football fans.
posted by whyareyouatriangle (42 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is my ethnically-sensitive shocked face. While I appreciate the problem, is airing this now going to make much of a difference? I'd like to think any exposes of FIFA trousering cash for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups would come out more than a week beforehand in the hopes of changing things.

Even the first 30 seconds of that (which I appreciate are designed to shock) make me claustrophobic. But don't give up on Eastern European football without reading Behind the Curtain. There's a lot of cool history there and they're not the only countries with serious racism problems. Sadly, if we all turned monochromatic overnight, the Ultras everywhere would find something else to shoot flares at Others about.

/throws banana
posted by yerfatma at 3:44 PM on May 30, 2012


Because, as everyone knows, there is no violence and racism among English football fans.

*watches video*

Holy fuck.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:45 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Shocking. Next somebody's going to say there were Nazi Death Camps in Poland.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:48 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


/catches banana and eats.

Mario Ballotelli says he will walk off the pitch if someone throws a banana at him. Or maybe kill them. Much as I have problems with MB, I agree with him on the walking off the pitch. UEFA and FIFA have shown they have no idea or morals (see FIFA bribary scandal and Sepp "racists can just shake hands and all will be well" blatter.

As someone commented on the bbc, they should have said "put your house in order and show us you deerve the presige of holding the Euros."

And yes, I do know who John Terry is, before anyone asks (and personally, much as I cannot stand the guy and want him nowhere near the England team, I don't seriously believe he is a racist. This is a guy who is mates with drogba, anelka (well, as much as anyone can be mates with anelka!) and cashley cole.
posted by marienbad at 3:54 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I expect both countries will be on very best behaviour for Euro 2012, with the police taking no nonsense from any football thugs who stray anywhere the media or tourists will be.

And after the paddies have won the championship it'll be back to business as usual and too bad for any unfortunate Indian students who want to watch matches in Kiev.
posted by jamesonandwater at 3:57 PM on May 30, 2012


Also, didn't panorama used to be an hour long? Thirty minutes doesn't seem like much time for them to report on anything.
posted by jamesonandwater at 3:58 PM on May 30, 2012


The bit with the Nazi salute in Ukraine is just... wow. I mean, wasn't their country basically torn apart by Nazis? 10,000,000 or so dead from the occupation? Jesus.

I will say that this documentary feels like propaganda. I can't quite put my finger on it, but the production feels like a bad political ad. Again, I have no idea how widespread this is or if this is a good piece of journalism, it just doesn't feel terribly... credible?
posted by lattiboy at 3:59 PM on May 30, 2012


Shocking. Next somebody's going to say there were Nazi Death Camps in Poland.

As offensive as racist violence at soccer games may be, I don't think it is in the same ballpark with the death camps so that seems a strange comparison.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:59 PM on May 30, 2012


Obviously the bits of undercover footage are quite damning, but something about it just feels.... off.
posted by lattiboy at 4:00 PM on May 30, 2012


As offensive as racist violence at soccer games may be, I don't think it is in the same ballpark with the death camps so that seems a strange comparison.

I suspect that was supposed to be "timely" "humor," per the President's gaffe this week.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:08 PM on May 30, 2012


I suspect that was supposed to be "timely" "humor," per the President's gaffe this week.

furiousxgeorge was the one who posted the deleted post about it earlier today so I assume he gets the reference.
posted by burnmp3s at 4:15 PM on May 30, 2012


Holy fuck.

Yeah. That's so far into wrong that I don't have words.

If they were zooming in on the same three events over the half hour, I'd wonder -- but every stadium has repeated incidents, and the entire terraces are taking part.
posted by eriko at 4:15 PM on May 30, 2012


Wow, 18:50. "It wasn't a Nazi salute...they were just pointing."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:19 PM on May 30, 2012


Perhaps the point was that both Poland and the Ukraine proved to be willing hosts for Nazi concentration camps.
posted by Flashman at 4:19 PM on May 30, 2012


furiousxgeorge was the one who posted the deleted post about it earlier today so I assume he gets the reference.

Ah, didn't see it before it got axed.

posted by joe lisboa at 4:22 PM on May 30, 2012


You know who could be absolute heroes in this situation? The Ukrainian and Polish national teams. Put out a statement that says "Dear countrymen, you pull racist shit, we walk off the field.". I know UEFA is too big a thing to give up for this to actually happen, but wouldn't it be wonderful if it happened.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:27 PM on May 30, 2012 [10 favorites]


Say hello to the result of the work of (including others) Radio Maryja, yes a catholic radio no less, heavily involved in xenophoic, racist and antisemitic propaganda. Reminds me of Radio Rwanda (points to Rwandan Genocide, look within the article) and the role it played in inciting hatred and violence against Tutsis. Remember the guy who killed 69 youngsters in Norway during 2011?

Common denominator? They all are pawns of something they don't even begin to understand and that's somehow explained in a very recent movie, Iron Sky" which one may dismiss as yet another stupid hollywood blockbuster movie about aliens and nazis, but actually is an interesting piece of bullshit debunking - combined with further lectures on how mass propaganda of hate works.
posted by elpapacito at 4:33 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps the point was that both Poland and the Ukraine proved to be willing hosts for Nazi concentration camps.

And now they've welcomed FIFA in. They really don't know how to be a smart host.
posted by yerfatma at 4:35 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps the point was that both Poland and the Ukraine proved to be willing hosts for Nazi concentration camps.

I'm not going to deny that anti-semitism is still very much alive in Eastern Europe, but this statement stretches the meaning of the word "willing" quite a bit.
posted by atrazine at 4:37 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait wait, I thought it was video games that caused antisocial behavior.

Surely no one would taint the noble practice of sport.
posted by poe at 4:38 PM on May 30, 2012


"And after the paddies have won the championship....
posted by jamesonandwater

hahahahahahahaha. brilliant mate, great comic timing there. And I misread your username as james on water, (as in, walks on, c.f. jesus) which would have made it somewhat eponyhysterical.
posted by marienbad at 4:56 PM on May 30, 2012


I watched the Panorama programme (declaration: half-Polish) and thought that, while it was awful and shocking, it didn't manage to stand up the central assertion that this was a universal problem, not just confined to the sort of hooligan gangs that you'd find in other European countries as well.

I can't speak for Ukraine, which I don't know at all, but on my experience I tend to go with those who know the Polish football scene such as Michał Zachodny and John Sager, who see in the BBC report a bit of condescending (dare one say, xenophobic) West v East attitudes.

There's certainly anti-semitism in Poland, alas, and violence between hooligans, but there's not, I think, a real threat of anti-semitic violence to players or fans. The shakycam footage of the Wisła supporter saying that "Cracovia is a Jewish club, founded by Jews", is reported as if a racist statement, but it's also historically true that Cracovia are associated with Kraków's lost Jewish community, and, like the "Yids" of Tottenham Hotspur, they identify with that heritage.

As it happens, one of the top Polish league players, for Wisła Kraków, the "Anti-Jew" (=anti-Cracovia) club, is Israeli international Maor Melikson, who has made the Polish "Top XI of the season" and "greatest discovery".

So, not as clear-cut I think, let's see in the next few weeks.

And, side note, I'm sad to see someone saying that Poland was a willing host for death camps.
posted by athenian at 5:08 PM on May 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hey, stranger things have happened!
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:09 PM on May 30, 2012


Cracovia is a Jewish club, founded by Jews", is reported as if a racist statement, but it's also historically true that Cracovia are associated with Kraków's lost Jewish community

And that provides a perfect cover up "no no, we're are not antisemitic, it so happens that they have an association with a lost jewish community so we honor their history, but they still are the competing team, goddamn jews!".

Similarly, the Nazi salute "no no, they're are pointing to the opponents..!" except that pointing a finger usually involves pointing a finger, not a nazi salute.

And no threat to fans? Well, oddly enough that guy of the SAME club was beaten BY members of the same club? So much for club "fraternity".

One of course wouldn't expect nazis to use exactly the same methods/symbols that were used in the past, so one may believe "why, they can't be that stupid!". Why not? The most devious ones use the cover of "localism" as an alternative for "nationalism" to cover up their intentions, but that doesn't imply all "clubs" must do exactly the same.

Clearly, one can't derive from that that the _entire_ population of Poland or Ukraine has turned nazi, yet curiously enough that was true of the population of Germany as well - nonetheless, the nazi took power.
posted by elpapacito at 5:36 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


s reported as if a racist statement, but it's also historically true that Cracovia are associated with Kraków's lost Jewish community

So, the other teams yelling anti-Semitic slurs at each other are "associated with Krakow's lost Jewish community how?"

Or how about "Jews, Jews, Jews, all of Lodz are Jews". Never mind the banner. How is this associated with Krakow's lost Jewish community?

You know, I'd buy this if it wasn't so trivial to find more examples.

You know, I'd buy you trying to excuse this bullshit if we hadn't known about it for years.

Stop excusing Poland, and start condemning those sullying the proud name of Poland.

If Silence=Consent, then Defense=Encouragement. I didn't see a few Neo-Nazis. I saw a great number of Neo-Nazis. And, far more disgustingly, I saw a metric fuckload of other Polish people tolerating them.
posted by eriko at 5:43 PM on May 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


Somewhat related, there's a fascinating article about tech use in the Arab Spring that talks about how the Tunisia revolt was basically led by a mixture of Facebook nerds and Ultra soccer fans. The Ultras, you see, had years of experience organizing to fight battles against the police and military. All that hooliganism isn't just confined to the stadium.
posted by Nelson at 5:49 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's certainly anti-semitism in Poland, alas, and violence between hooligans, but there's not, I think, a real threat of anti-semitic violence to players or fans
posted by athenian


Dude, at the one game the reporter managed to get into the Ultra stand section in Ukraine, a group of Asian fans supporting the home team and sitting in the family section were tracked down, trapped on both aisles and beaten by hooligans supporting the same team!

I watched the whole video, and that shit is fucked. No fuckin' way regular fans should go to that.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:29 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I watched the Panorama programme (declaration: half-Polish) and thought that, while it was awful and shocking, it didn't manage to stand up the central assertion that this was a universal problem, not just confined to the sort of hooligan gangs that you'd find in other European countries as well.
I agree with this. You could quite easily create equally shocking film of Italian Ultras or British yobs or marching BNP supporters and given that context alone you'd never want to go to those places, let alone go to a football match there. Somebody could have made a film sensationalizing the danger to white tourists in South Africa to discourage people from going to the 2010 World Cup (I'm South African of German extraction BTW).
As well, there's a considerable difference in the type of crowd at an international match than that between two league teams with a well-entrenched rivalry - I do think it's unlikely that there will be a lot of seig-heiling or banana-throwing when France plays Holland, e.g.
The difference here, though, is the unwillingness of the authorities to acknowledge this ("they're, uh, they're just pointing at the opposing team" LOL) or to deal with it, which does suggest to me that it's something a bit bigger and harder to deal with on a wider level than the Ultras and racist scum in the rest of Europe.
And, well yes, I thought it was pretty well established that there was a long history of anti-Semetism in Eastern Europe that the Nazis were able to exploit.
posted by Flashman at 6:38 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm glad the BBC made this documentary, moreso in light of the somewhat negative response they got from their FIFA corruption allegations. There's no good reason to hold back on fair criticism, which this definitely is. Regardless of the commonness or the "context" of the fans' actions in that film, in England they would be looking at criminal charges, travel bans and their teams playing to empty stadiums. Maybe Poland and Ukraine will be ready in another 25 years and a lot of hard work, as that's what it's taken England to come to grips with its worries over hooliganism.
posted by Jehan at 6:47 PM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am tempted to say, if these goons want a fight, bring it on! We may not be good at much in England, but we do seem to love our fighting. The FCO should let all the hardcore nutters who are barred from travelling go to this one. Also, the Dutch and Germans have some hardcore hooligans. Maybe they could form an axis of hooliganism and take on the polish and ukranian hooligans. Some people just want a fight, the game is secondary. (Didn't a dutch guy get killed in an organised fight between amsterdam and rotterdam fans a few years ago? All organised by phone, took place away form the game.)

Kinda Hamburger-ish.
posted by marienbad at 6:49 PM on May 30, 2012


Human beings are both individual and social creatures. The tendency to crave a sense of community is natural. This is why we have Tribalism. We have people we feel affinity for; we have family, friends, cousins, coworkers, religions and nations.

Racism is the ugly side of Tribalism. I'm not saying that it is embedded in our nature, but just that it exists. Like the Class System.
posted by ovvl at 7:42 PM on May 30, 2012


Human beings are both individual and social creatures. The tendency to crave a sense of community is natural. This is why we have Tribalism. We have people we feel affinity for; we have family, friends, cousins, coworkers, religions and nations.

Racism is the ugly side of Tribalism. I'm not saying that it is embedded in our nature, but just that it exists. Like the Class System.


See the problem with statements like these is that they are general to the point of meaningless. We're not going to deal with this problem by taking a metaphysical top down, oh me oh my aren't we all sinners type of approach.

When you approach an issue like that -- an issue that has very clear factors, histories and contexts -- you do it a disservice by divorcing it from reality and thus triviliazing it.
posted by You Guys Like 2 Party? at 8:05 PM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Racism is the ugly side of Tribalism. I'm not saying that it is embedded in our nature, but just that it exists. Like the Class System.

I'm not really sure what your point is here. That racism exists? That class exists? Well, yeah, I mean that's pretty obvious isn't it? So does sexism, homophobia, etc.. This kind of hand-wavy "oh well look people are complicated so these things happen" seems like a pretty shallow response.
posted by modernnomad at 8:28 PM on May 30, 2012


I lost some respect for the BBC after seeing the maps they used in this. Screenshot. They confuse Austria with the Czech Republic and Yugoslavia has not been a country since 1992.

If they can't get those simple facts right, how can I trust the rest of it?
posted by cmonkey at 9:20 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


They really WERE pointing!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:26 PM on May 30, 2012


I am tempted to say, if these goons want a fight, bring it on! We may not be good at much in England, but we do seem to love our fighting. The FCO should let all the hardcore nutters who are barred from travelling go to this one. Also, the Dutch and Germans have some hardcore hooligans. Maybe they could form an axis of hooliganism and take on the polish and ukranian hooligans. Some people just want a fight, the game is secondary.

We need to send Danny Dire back to sort them out.

(Didn't a dutch guy get killed in an organised fight between amsterdam and rotterdam fans a few years ago? All organised by phone, took place away form the game.)

Yep, an Ajax fan got stabbed to death after the two hooligan firms met in a meadow near Beverwijk. It's been a while though. Hooliganism is still a problem, but nowhere near the levels of the eighties or nineties.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:36 AM on May 31, 2012


I am tempted to say, if these goons want a fight, bring it on!

What's Arsenal got to do with it?
posted by Kiwi at 3:31 AM on May 31, 2012


Racism is the ugly side of Tribalism. I'm not saying that it is embedded in our nature, but just that it exists. Like the Class System.

...

See the problem with statements like these is that they are general to the point of meaningless. We're not going to deal with this problem by taking a metaphysical top down, oh me oh my aren't we all sinners type of approach.

When you approach an issue like that -- an issue that has very clear factors, histories and contexts -- you do it a disservice by divorcing it from reality and thus triviliazing it.


By saying that Racism exists, do I: "do it a disservice by divorcing it from reality and thus triviliazing it"?

But there is one fact that no one can deny: that saying nothing is easier.
posted by ovvl at 9:14 PM on May 31, 2012


Re: comments upthread. I'm not trying to excuse what was, and I do think that Poland's reputation is sullied by this sort of racism and hate, as every country's is. However, I'm pretty sure that the Nazi salutes being called "pointing" and the Indian supporters being beaten up were in Ukraine. I know nothing about Ukraine, never been there, and I said up front I'm talking about the situation in Poland.
posted by athenian at 4:00 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dutch players subjected to racist abuse during a training session in Krakow. I should imagine a fair number of local racists have taken the controversy overseas as a gauntlet thrown down and are going to be making even more of an effort to be heard acting the twat than they might have before.
posted by Abiezer at 5:04 PM on June 7, 2012


All I know is that no one should throw a banana at Balotelli so that he doesn't get jailed for murder. The EPL needs him.
posted by RedShrek at 6:13 AM on June 8, 2012




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