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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Not only ‘Dirty’ Leeds, but Prejudiced too?!

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On Sunday morning, as I basked in the morning sun and the shallow wellbeing that only a thumping Leeds United victory brings. I set off on my usual walk around a local reservoir with my 10 month old daughter in a rucksack style seat on my back, iPod in ear (just one so I can hear my youngster) and my wife power-walking away into the distance.

All was ‘as per usual’ until I came across a white haired man of perhaps 65 years old who was remonstrating with a motorist who, in making his way to the local yachting club had almost relieved the man of his dog. The car had come past me, much to my surprise at quite a speed for such a small track road. It seemed the old man agreed and was rather flustered by the sudden incident.

Naturally, you are sympathetic to the old bloke, and glad that, despite his reprimanding of the driver, nothing was too serious… that was, until he stood up. Lifting his head away from the driver’s window he stood, not 20 feet away from me in a bright red T-shirt, with the unmistakable white crescent moon, alongside a solitary star. The word ‘TURKIYE’ was emblazoned underneath.

Now, I’d like to point out that, in no way would I consider myself a racist, nor would I condone or accept actions or words of racial hatred from anybody in my presence but as the poor bloke looked up, presumably for sympathy or an acknowledgement that his outburst was justified from someone deemed impartial, I couldn’t look at him!

As my legs propelled me towards the scene of said ‘incident’ I suddenly became uncomfortable, knowing that I would, at some point engage in the customary greeting that is the norm if you’re walking across the Great British countryside. It wasn’t the man’s fault, I had nothing against him. He was just enjoying the weather and the scenery with his faithful friend. Chances are that he had no more of an association with the shirt he was wearing than the fact he liked the pattern, or that his wife had chosen it for him during her weekly trip to the local supermarket. Unfortunately, it provoked a reaction within me that I struggled to come to terms with for the rest of my walk. It was so irrational, and so unexpected. Thankfully my daughter is of an age that it didn’t register.

I don’t wish to go into the rights and wrongs of that faithful day in Istanbul, but I vowed then, that I would never set foot in Turkey, for no other reason than, as a Leeds fan, it just wouldn’t seem right. Since that time the government have failed to bring anybody to justice for the events that saw Kevin Speight and Christopher Loftus lose their lives. It’s just easier if I avoid that particular country.

I’m quite ashamed of how I reacted. I’m sure the man had no idea, but I knew. I knew that the mere sight of a Nation’s flag had caused me to avoid eye contact with a member of society who could, quite conceivably have fought a war to rid the world of such reactions in total strangers.

Am I alone in such irrational behaviour? I’d like to think so, but some how I doubt it…

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19 comments:

  1. i hope your alone you loser

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  2. i dont particularly want to go to turkey on holiday either.

    i dont think it makes me prejudiced, i think it s a moral thing.

    while i would expect to be put away for a long time if i killed a turkish barman for whatever reason, if i were over there and i was in trouble i'd expect some support. seems the turkish governing regime don't understand that its a two way thing.

    just my opinion.

    question though. why didn't you give him the benefit of the doubt? and ask him if he realised what sort of tragedy had gone unpunished in turkey tenyears ago?

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  3. I am the same.
    I will not visit Turkey because of the same reasons. I have never come across an awkward situation where Turkey has come up as a potential destination but I don't look forward to having to explain it to my better half.

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  4. It was nothing to do with him. The whole thing was over in a matter of seconds, It was just the initial reaction that surprised me more than anything

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  5. Was his name Bernard Matthews by any chance?

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  6. I was one of 200 leeds fans during that fateful trip, and trust me, it still haunts me to this day. Im not a rascist by any means, and i find it abhorent in others, so much so thats ive cut my association with certain people who cling to such ideas. But after the death of 2 of our fans, does 'blanking' someone in return really matter?

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  7. Fev
    i also find it distasteful that the Thomlinson family (from Leeds) decided to do their fundraiser on Janes behalf from Istanbul to Leeds :(

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  8. They have a terrible human rights record too!

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  9. Never forgive. Never forget.

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  10. who the Thomlinson family?

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  11. You are not alone. As lifelong Leeds fans both myself and my brother will never go to Turkey, its not racist, just our small protest.

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  12. I will never set foot in Turkey,and i know my entire family are the same.I hope they never get into the EU.Their football teams should have been banned from competition a long time ago.

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  13. if you look at some of the Leeds United fan pages on facebook you will see the mentality of an 'aspect' of Turkish football fans who have decided to post there (even though it is supposedly for Leeds fans only)....most of them hardly 'angry teens' and old enough to know better.... I personally had started to 'forgive' until I came upon such sickening comments and photos, It seems the Galatasaray/Leeds affair was not a one-off incident by any means.
    Also, does anybody know if this is true or not?- I vaguely remember the rumour at the time being that there was a high ranking Turkish gentleman on the UEFA board at the time (not sure about this one).......... I wonder if this effected Galatasaray's 'lack of ban'...? I think if there was some sort of punishment, either through the courts and/or through UEFA, it would be easier to forgive and forget but as it is the wounds remain open :(

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  14. Totally agree. It is very sad, but as you suggest, this is not racism, this is stand for human rights and justice. I will not go to Turkey or knowing support that country's economy until someone is brought to full justice (maybe the scum who have already been found guilty in their courts??)

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  15. ┼×enes Erzik.... UEFA vice president since 1994........... I wonder why Gala weren't banned???? hmmmmmmmmm

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  16. Totally agree I just wish Harry Kewell did! Has he just signed an extention to his contract with them?

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  17. the other thing that always haunts me is when I look at the forth coming fixture list is the Millwall game and those mindless idiots who insist on wearing galatasary shirts and doing knife gestures to the Leeds fans,just recently a ardant Millwall fan (Ian Tomlinson) died on the streets of London at the G20 riots walking from work supposedly of a heart attack but was assaulted by a policeman 20 minutes earlier, a tragic loss to his family and friends lets see what reaction millwall fans have if our own mindless leeds thugs bring that up !1

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  18. Turkey was my favourite place to visit, I had been there many times once for 3 months. Never set foot in that country since that fateful night.
    I'm about to visit Syria but am gonna get a ferry from Cyprus instead of overland. I try and avoid Turkish shops, products and anything else. What else can you do, our bloody government won't do anything... But that's the price of big civil engineering contracts!

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  19. Since that event and the disgraceful way it has been handled by their legal system. I would never ever set foot in that country. I wouldn't even buy a Turkish delight!. If they ever get their act together, punish the murderers and appologise to all Leeds fans then I may reconsider my stance.

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