Hillsborough – it’s not just a word or a place but if you’ve been following Liverpool for more than a few days, you’d know that Hillsborough is synonymous with tragedy. Dig a little deeper and you’d know that Hillsborough is synonymous with not just tragedy but also lies, evil cancerous lies.
A phrase said in the same breath is ‘Don’t Buy The Sun’. Such has been the impact of that campaign that hardly any respectable household in Merseyside subscribes to that supposed newspaper. I subscribe to the campaign whole-heartedly as I’ve come to know how some petty lies can change the entire view on a tragedy. How one false headline has seen us supporters counter vile chants for the past 22 years. Such is the impact of those lies, that a lot of people still, ignorantly, believe in what was said that day, partially or totally. These are the people who need educating, irrespective of where they are from.
I play a small part in a supporters’ club in India and as a recent initiative, we give away HJC merchandize to various competition winners and others. While that plays a very small role in supporting the campaign, my personal interest is that it helps educate people about the disaster and the sad, surreal events that unfolded later. Away from UK and Europe, it is not surprising how many people are unaware of most of the details. Someone asked me about the relevance of the ‘Don’t Buy The Sun’ campaign in India when we don’t even get that publication here.
Well, it’s not about buying the newspaper (read: rag) but educating people about the tragedy and subsequent events. While a country, thousands of miles from Liverpool, might neither be eligible to sign the e-petition or boycott the publication, it is imperative that football supporters are taught about these lies.
When a person starts following football, it is unavoidable that sooner or later he would get to hear about the tragedy. He would then also get to learn about the events that unfolded and would then, unfortunately, try to form his own judgement about events of the day. The lies were so outrageous that they would find some base in that fertile mind. He would think – ‘Really? How can a newspaper print a total lie? There could have been an instance or two on which the paper based its report!’ All of these guys need educating.
When I was first introduced to the tragedy, it took me some internet research to establish what I stood for. Many years ago, the internet or twitter or other such media weren’t as prevalent as they might be today and there were few LFC fans to speak to. Despite having most of the resources, there would still be some fans who don’t really understand the magnitude of lies. Some opposition fans talk about the events with distasteful references but a lot of it is borne out of ignorance rather than malice. Teach them too.
Here are a few basic things that everyone (specially people from foreign places) needs to propagate:
1. Tell people about what happened
2. Tell people about how incompetent the police and other emergency services were and how they’ve shunned the blame for the past 2 decades
3. Tell everyone what a scum Kelvin McKenzie is and what he wrote was a Disgusting Lie!
4. Here’s an account from Tony Evans about the day, if anyone wants to know how painful it is for survivors.
5. Even though you don’t get The Sun, please don’t visit the website either.