Sunday, April 30, 2006

Polish extreme sports comes of age

It's Sunday morning deep in the English countryside and I'm sitting out on the veranda surrounded by all number of chattering avian buddies. The air is cool, the trees are blossoming and the sound of traffic wonderfully faint. The daily brutality of Warsaw life feels like a hangover that has slipped gracefully away...
But not for long.

I sit back with the newspaper - today its The Sunday Times. I fish it open - the usual predigested salivations: another sex scandal in the government... yada yada... a prison management scandal in the government... la la la... some great cartoons - Labour ministers all with their trousers down. Ahh bless this land. I turn the page:


This clear-cut reportage by fellow Varsovian Bob Graham describes the plans of Polish hooligan groups to organize "pre-arranged fights" with English (because they "are the best of the worst") fans travelling to Germany for the World Cup and with the native Germans themselves.

Detailing the motivation for organising these international World Cup 'battles' - a former trainee priest and a father of a one year-old are quoted by Mr Graham as saying: "We will come together for our national cause... We think only of beating the 'hools' from Germany first - because we hate them".

As bold EU citizens their plan is apparently to slip across border into Germany to "organise fights away from stadiums where they will not be monitored by CCTV" (unlike here). Inspector Matwiej of Warsaw police comments that the ringleaders "are clever" and points to a so-very-surprising lack of political will in dealing with the problem: "At the moment there is nothing we can do. [?] This is not for the police, it is a matter for the government and a matter for justice".

I don't fancy his hopes much, do you? Poland's governing 'Law and Justice' party is currently continuing to try to form a coalition with the very right-wing parties and politicians that Mr Graham singles out as the chief cause for the sharp increase in Polish football hooliganism:

"The rise in football violence follows a wave of extreme right-wing and vehemently anti-Semitic political discourse in the former communist country [Poland]" where politicians "openly praise fascist Italy and Nazi Germany".

Hmm... the all-too familiar calling card and headline-grabber for Poland these days. (Prospective tourists reading this - have no fear unless you're black, brown or gay (or German it seems...)

News to me was that: "Hard-core fascist and anti-semitic publications are sold on newsstands". If this is the case can anyone recommend me one? I love a good blood-boiler. Tony Blair and John Prescott just don't seem to do it for me anymore.

Personally I say construct purpose-built 'hunting grounds' for all the hools. Let them kill and maim each other. And turn it into a televised reality show! Refuse them state medical care unless they pay for it. Everyone's happy and more relaxed. It could become a kind of therapy for for all the inter-country tension we have at the moment. Warsaw Legia vs. Tehran Malavan anyone?
Even Osama himself would tune in for that...

[UPDATE: The entire Sunday Times Polski hools article is now available here]


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