. . . And God Save Ireland Was Sung – An article by Drumbhoy
Original content supplied by http://drumbhoy.wordpress.com/and-god-save-ireland-was-sung/
Once again this week we see our support being attacked for political expression. The Green Brigade displayed an image of Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace and IRA hunger striker and Long Kesh OC Bobby Sands who was also elected as a Westminster MP. The words of Bik McFarlanes Terrorist or Dreamer were also displayed. Both men fought and died fighting for their respective countries against England and her oppressors. My understanding is that this display was shown to highlight the hypocrisy of people being arrested for singing about one, yet the other is celebrated and his song his now a national anthem. I wont go into the history of both men as it is all well documented in better detail than I ever could.
I have friends in section 111. Their view of Celtic is identical to mine. I have and will continue to support them and FAC against the ridiculous Offensive Behaviour Bill. The banners were apt and had the impact that was needed. For that, once again, Im proud of them. But that isnt what this blog is about.
My concern is growing daily at the utter revisionist tripe spouted by some of our own supporters and the PLC board doing everything it can to sanitise Celtic into some utopia of whiter than whiteness in the eyes of those who have despised us for over a century. The PLC released a statement saying that all political expression is not on and anyone engaging in it will be banned. Politics is the fabric of society. Everything in life is under politics and to quell political expression is fascism.
The PLC board and their cheerleaders would do well to freshen up on their history. From the very outset. Celtic FC has been steeped in Irish Republicanism. From the inaugural meetings in St. Marys when at the end of each meeting God Save Ireland was sung. A song about three members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood who were executed in Manchester in 1867, to our founding fathers inviting Michael Davitt to lay the first sod of turf at Celtic Park. Davitt himself its documented was Mahatma Ghandi’s inspiration. He was part of Irish Republican Brotherhood and a founder of Irish National Land League. He was convicted of treason and sentenced to 15 years in 1870.
So the facts are there about Celtics political credentials from its inception. Celtic were born of a political landscape of oppression and death. Not the romantic vision I think some people have of weans running around dinner tables.
Celtic FC were vehement supporters of Irish Home Rule with people like John Glass, William McKillop MP, James Grant, James Kelly to name a few. And the politics of these men were mirrored by the views of the original Celtic support. Celtic were given an Irish tricolour by IRA leader and Irish President Eamonn De Valera and it flew over Celtic Park. In 1952 Celtic were ordered to take it down as it was “offensive”. Chairman Robert Kelly did not bow to this pressure. The flag continued to fly and Celtic continued to play. In my opinion. If this challenge was today, our current incumbents at Celtic Park would have it down before you could say tiocfaidh ár lá.
The Celtic support never changed throughout the 20th century. Names of Irish Soldiers like James Connolly, Kevin Barry, Sean South, Bobby Sands, Billy Reid and many others were regularly heard sung and celebrated at Celtic Park. The Republican movement in Scotland revolved around Celtic games. Much like in Barcelona, where during Franco’s dictatorship, the Camp Nou was the only place the catalan language could be spoken in relative safety.
The PLC and their cheerleaders are hypocrits to a man and woman. They openly play The Wolfetones ‘Let The People Sing’ over the tannoy every week. A song that encourages political expression. They also play ‘The Fields of Athenrye’ , a song about a young man convicted of stealing food to feed his family and sent to Australia during an gorta mor. Even more hypocritical. They play ‘Back Home In Derry’ in the Kerrydale Suite every week. A song penned by Volunteer Bobby Sands. The man whos image they find so offensive that they will ban you for displaying his image. Absolutely ludicrous.
The Celtic support and board for that matter love to tell everyone that we’re more than a club, and they’re right. We are more than a club because of the things highlighted above and many others beside. Celebrating Irish Republicanism is nothing new at Celtic Park. It has been there longer than any of us, and I for one hope it continues. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it and if you take it away then you are taking part of Celtic away for our future generations. Im not prepared to give that up without a fight. Verbally of course.
People need to decide what they want. A generic corporate entity or Celtic FC. If all you want is football. I suggest Celtic may not be for you, because we are much more than just football. I hope the Bhoys and Ghirls in 111 stay strong in their fight against everything they are up against and as ever they have my support always.
Until The Last Rebel