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The Poppy furore is needless and childish

Some of the tasteless and downright shameful tweets, comments, texts and smoke signals I have seen in the last 48 hours over the symbolism of a simple flower has left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Let’s get this straight. There are Celtic fans who react to the symbol because of how fans of The Rangers (old and new) get behind it. Then vice versa ensues and thus we are in a vicious circle. There some of sort of innate inability from a significant number of fans of both clubs to recognise what the red poppy stands for. In the pursuit of oneupmanship on each side this has only resulted in an ever growing schism; one which has left what should be an act of remembrance lost to rhetoric. A humble period, remembering the Great Wars and the fight against Fascism, is being trumped by idiotic sledging between two sets of fans hell-bent on proving who is the most stupid.

Now, I know a lot of this stems from the way the poppy has been jumped upon by politicians, the BBC, the media and all sorts of other channels, but nonetheless, are we not better than that? I also know that the poppy has become a symbol for every skirmish started by our generally corrupt governments since the 40s.

Twitter is a-fire with Celtic fans goading The Rangers’s support over the poppy celebration being a hypocritical show of faux-loyalty on the back of last year’s non-payment of charity money and the little matter of the tax-evasion the club has been carrying out systematically over the last decade or so.

And you know what, there is some moral high-ground being sought in this battle by Celtic fans. But this is kinda being lost underneath a torrent of abuse at times. I say let The Rangers’s fans and club celebrate the poppy. It is their right and choice. None of the people running the new club right now was accountable for the misdemeanours of the past regime so they are entitled to mark the event as they see fit.

Is there a suspicion that Scotland’s newest club is doing this to galvanise its more militant support? Yes. Is there a suspicion that this support is lording it over the event in order to provoke a reaction from Celtic fans? Hell, yes.

Meanwhile, over the fence there are fans of The Rangers tweeting about ‘show the world why everyone hates tims’ and ‘taigs who oppose the poppy should remember the benefits system…’, or ‘fucking tims banning the poppy, paedo bastards.’

For me this is the saddest part. In many ways it smacks of them trying to bring us down to their level and to re-create the link that first resulted in the term O** F*** being coined. The worst part though is that we are reacting to it. If Inverness Caledonian Thistle celebrated in such a fashion would we care? I doubt it.

I am also acutely aware that for many Celtic fans the poppy symbolises the British rule and some of the crimes committed by the British Army in Ireland’s North in particular. There are a number of fans who see it as abhorrent that Celtic even has to recognise the poppy on its strip – white, red or multicolour – but there has to be an acceptance that Celtic is a club which straddles many cultures. This is a sensitive situation which puts the club in a lose-lose position should the fans choose to disrespect the minute’s silence tomorrow.

It is a person’s right to choose whether or not to wear a poppy.

Jon Snow summed it up best for me when he said, “Compelling people to wear poppies because YOU think they OUGHT to is precisely the Poppy fascism, or intolerance, that I have complained of in the past.” He was reacting to someone not being happy at the absence of a poppy on his jacket.

The bottom line is that many great Celts died serving in the wars and the club should recognise this, in its own way. If fans don’t want to be part of it they can opt-out but should do so quietly. There is no need to get involved in a bitching war with a bunch fans of a now defunct club who are seeking to grasp on to any facet of the past, especially in respect to linking to us. Indeed, there is a fine article on the official website on this matter today, read it here.

I hope the Celtic support at the stadium tomorrow cut through the crap and remember those from all over Europe, and the US, who died to protect us from Hitler and his like. If you wish to refrain from this, do it in your own way and in your own time. We have lauded all over the world this week for the Barcelona spectacle, let that be the norm.

Respect Celtic, respect the dead and respect yourself.

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10 years ago

Excellent article. I completely agree with your sentiments. You only have to take a look at the French battlefields and the countless white crosses marking tens of thousands of young men who died in both wars to see what the poppy itself symbolises. If you object, please do it quietly.

Remember, never argue with idiots because they will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience!

10 years ago
Reply to  Quinny

i have(in my adult life) and never will never will wear a red poppy,to idolise people willing to kill fellow humans issick

Lenny Bruce
10 years ago

Well said sir!

We can only lose on this and a few dozen teenagers can bring the whole support into a negative light.

Can only echo you last line

Respect Celtic, respect the dead and respect yourself.

10 years ago

WHy does this have to be done? Why cant people do it in their own time? Why is it forced on me? I would never break a minutes silence but i’m very angry to have this forced on me. The poppy is also for the so called heroes killing innocent women and children in Afghanistan as well as the ones that killed many innocent fellow citizens of mine in Ireland. No democracy in this!

10 years ago
Reply to  john

@ john…u serious…it not about afghanistan,it about the millions on all sides who fought in ww1,and that includes irish catholics,get your facts right

10 years ago

The poppy issue is a political football, pardon the pun, and politics should be kept out of football. people have a right to choose to wear a poppy or not. yet a minutes silence is forced on football supporters and players.

solution- any fan not wanting to take part in the minute silence, should not take their seat until it is over. wait at the turnstile. go get a coffee. or take a dander round the stadium.

once the silence is over, then take ur place.

10 years ago

Well said and nicely written. I really tire of people on both sides hijacking the poppy.

10 years ago

I’ve never understood this furore. Many armies of many nationalities have committed terrible crimes; the Americans in Vietnam, the French in Africa. However sometimes, in building schools and hospitals, not to mention keeping the population in a safer environment is it inconceivable that they may do some good.
When things do go bad, and let’s be honest when it goes wrong the damage done is horrific, it is usually the result of political interference, political vacuum, a complete lack of moral leadership from superior officers. In the worst case it is of direct orders .
I prefer to spend the silence thinking of the thousands of graves of the soldiers OF EVERY NATIONALITY who lost their lives. I used to live beside a grave yard that had a semicircle of over grown graves that marked the final resting place of soldiers who died defending the then nearby airfield. I always felt moved every time I passed by them because, if I remember rightly, two or three were in their teens and the rest, bar one, were in their early twenties. Before anyone responds they were German soldiers and this is the true loss of war; generations lost before their time.
It is the promise and opportunity that each of these lives were deprived of that I remember.
What could even one of these people have achieved, what difference could they have made to others because they were not all monsters.

10 years ago
Reply to  justshatered

so you would forgive hitler and wear a swastika my guess is no so how would you expect the celtic team and fans to wear a poppy after all ye did do the same as hitler

10 years ago

I personally “WILL” choose to wear my poppy at Celtic Park tomorrow. The magic word in the above sentence is “choose”.
Those who choose not to, fair enough. It should never be forced on anyone to wear it, but just as equally, no-one should ever be persecuted for choosing to do so themselves.
I am pretty sure I will not be alone at tomorrow’s game in wearing the poppy, but, even if I am, it will be my own choice.
My family roots are in Donegal and my own father refuses to wear one, but my maternal Grandfather fought in the war and family members were lost on both sides, during the Great War and also those more recent unjustified ones.

10 years ago

Why does this have to be done just before 3 in a sporting arena. There is a nationwide one being done 4 hours earlier

John Cameron
10 years ago

As a proud Celtic surporter I served in HM Forces and was proud to do so. If you feel the Poppy is not for you avoid it. Other people want to show support for the injured servicemen. Wearing a poppy does not show support for any wars, it is for the injured men and women doing there job. Hail Hail

10 years ago

Pray. Do not display either way. That is my message.
Well expressed, B.F.
I too deplore the shameful reflections on Celtic who, as you so rightly say, are in a lose, lose situation particularly this time when we are so much in the international public eye. True supporters should have this to the fore tomorrow and show their respect for the club if nothing else.


10 years ago

This is the most disappointing article I’ve ever seen on Etims. The author displays a huge ignorance about the rationale behind some Celtic’s fans opposition to being put in this position. Does he really think that “coz Rangers like something, we hate it”. He talks about the old firm tag, yet this article associates us together. WTF has the poppy got to do with Celtic or Rangers??? He talks about being able to “opt out” – we never opted in. If I take my seat watching the club I love, this minutes silence has been forced upon me, opt out my arse.
He goes on to say that we have to accept Celtic represent many cultures, too right we do!, all the more reason not to have one culture ride roughshod over the rest. We should never have the team wear an Easter Lily or pause for a moment to remember the fallen in Ireland’s fight for freedom. Presumably the author does. I remember those who fell for Ireland in graveyards, I don’t compel people to do likewise, that would be fascism. If you know your history 😉 you’ll know WW1 had nowt to do with fighting fascism.
Lastly, I work in the US every couple of months. Every sports event has military attendance, off servicr military priority board on planes, discounts are in place in most stores for servicemen. I tell you this because this sham worship is designed to evoke all military as heroes, which feeds the pipeline of cannon fodder to die for their country. This trend is now in evidence in the UK, with military displays at a lot of sports events today.

10 years ago
Reply to  LuboMagic

You make excellent points. Celtic fans reject the poppy for logical reasons not because Rangers fans like to wear them.

10 years ago

i dont want to get all meerkatty but it is seemples , have a minutes applause , those who don`t want to respect it can shout and bawl all they want , they won`t be heard , but and it`s a big but and it may surprise a few people , some celtic fans have actually lost relatives in ireland at the hands of the british army and have every right not to respect their traditions or their beliefs , it all comes down to an individuals right to be what they want to be .

John D
10 years ago

I agree with many that the silence should be observed impeccably at the game later today.
To do otherwise will simply open the Club to criticism. And there are too many outside the club who will eagerly await an opportunity to slate us. And in a manner that pretends to be about respect for the dead, when their motivation is nothing less than hatred.

Now I will observe the silence with my own interpretation-I will remember all affected by wars.
Not just the fallen soldier but also the innocent civilian. Not just of this country, but in all countries.
Wars are started through the madness or evil of a few. But those innocently affected number thousands and millions. Loss of homes, loss of limbs, and loss of life itself.
For them all I will remember. But then, that is my personal choice.

What I do not accept, is the way in which in certain spheres of life in the UK, you are enforced to subscribe to remembrance events or to wear symbols lest you be hounded. And that disappointingly includes football.
Similarly, I agree with those who say you should feel free to wear a poppy or whatever, without being accused of being less Celtic (or Irish) than your fellow fans.
Its a personal and private choice.
The same way you should be allowed to choose what, if any, faith to subscribe to. Or if you define yourself as Scottish, Irish, some combination thereof, or none of the above.
Its a personal and private choice.

But the time for that debate is not, in my humble opinion, at 3pm today.

I believe in Celtic. I believe in the love of my family and friends. And I believe passionately in the sanctity of human life.
And in exercise of my personal freedom, I will keep my mouth shut for 60 seconds tomorrow in respect for all three.

I hope we can all find our own motivation to do the same.

10 years ago

Interesting to note that many of the politicians that display the poppy like a fashion statement are those same politicians who are trying to close down the Remploy factories all over the country. Factories that were opened to help ex-servicemen get employment and to have a bit of dignity after their war service.
Lest we forget.

10 years ago

Freedom of speech is just that – its ALL allowed or its not freedom of speech. but it does nt mean what you say or believe wont have consequences or effect others

The poppy getting mixed up in as a symbol of a persons politics really confused what ,i believe, is a straight forward acknowledgement to the individual that lost their life, they may well have been lied to or manipulated to believe what they were doing was for a cause – but that s a discussion for another day.

Wear it or don’t but for just 60 secs don’t feel the need to debate it.

10 years ago

sing your hearts out today bhoys, james mcclean showed the way

10 years ago

It is very sad that there will be a minute’s silence at a Celtic match. Irish people have suffered for too long at the hands of the British army. Yes, my grandparents served in the British army. No, I am not ashamed of them but I am not proud of them either. The British army has committed atrocity after atrocity in Ireland, I choose not to wear a poppy – I wouldn’t even consider it. I haven’t supported Celtic since the day they put the bloody symbol on their shirt although I’d like to support them again because it’s supposed to be a sport. Why does the UK have to bring such a controversial idea to a football field? No other country does so. Keep politics out of sport unless it’s something like apartheid you’re protesting against. Keep poppies out of Celtic park. Respect others by not wearing this offensive symbol which congratulates those who murdered on Bloody Sunday.

Lenny Bruce
10 years ago

Minutes silence impeccably observed.

Close the book and move on.

Kevin McKenzie
10 years ago

This shouldn’t come up every year, remember those who died to give us the freedom of speech we have today, but respect those who do not wish to wear one, as the article said many Celts died, but it is not whether or not the clubs servants gave their lives it is who gave their lives for their country. It is not the soldier who is at fault but the politician/government who put them there. All dead, no matter who they are, or where they came from should be honoured and remembered in a dignified manner for giving the ultimate sacrifice…lest we forget.

jeanette doyle
10 years ago

Why not wear white poppies and have done with . Same nonsense every year .

10 years ago

Must say I totally agree with every word said. This has been my argument for many years. I have never worn a poppy and probably never will. My father always has and I don’t disrespect him for doing it. We are both Irish republicans from the North of Ireland but we can’t always agree on every point. As a charity it is an individual’s right to choose which one they want to give to, and nothing more. There are more important things in the world to be worrying about.

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