Apparently no strangers to racist violence at their football (soccer) stadiums, Poland and the Ukraine are the nation hosts of Euro 2012.
And while both countries deny these charges, some other governments have issued warnings to any of their citizens who are traveling to this event to be on guard for any potential situations. Good advice indeed!
Team inspired stories of drunken violence at European soccer stadiums are legend, only now violence due to racism can be added to the mix.
"Fears over Euro 2012 being overshadowed by racism returned on Friday, after UEFA confirmed that there was racist chanting at the Netherlands' public training session this week in the Polish city of Krakow...
...Co-hosts Poland and Ukraine have already been forced to reject claims that racist violence is rife at their football grounds, which has led to governments of some participating nations to warn travelling fans to be on their guard..." (Source)
And for those more traditional fans out there, here's an example of basic team-loyalty inspired violence which makes one wonder why fans would go to these events in the first place. This one occurred at a pub in Lodz, Poland:
"Around 50 hooligans attacked the fans as they drank in a pub in the central Polish city of Lodz on Thursday evening.
Local witnesses said cars pulled up next to the pub driven by masked men who attacked anyone in sight, throwing punches and kicks.
Not an isolated problem by any means!
This is not to say that other countries across Europe as well as the United States aren't dealing with these types of issues as well.
But because a more overt presence of radical groups exists in these Euro 2012 host countries and some other European countries as well, the issue there is a public one!
Last week in Hamburg, Germany 700 neo-Nazis marched on city hall with over 4,000 police on hand and with the the situation turning violent and destructive.
This is an excerpt from a recent article out of Liverpool, England regarding an open letter written by prominent European Jews warning about the resurgence of the neo-Nazi movement:
“...The neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn entered the Greek parliament this month. With its swastika-inspired emblem, Hitlerian salute, reference to Mein Kampf, antisemitic and racist ideology, Holocaust denial, violence against migrants, threats against journalists and personality cult, the party is the lineal heir of the German national-socialist party that led Europe and the world into chaos and bloodshed,» the letter begins.
It goes on to cite the rise of similar groups in Latvia, Austria and Hungary, arguing that «this revival was made possible by the systematic attack by extreme right parties against the republican ideal that recognises that everyone belongs to the same national community, together....” (Source)
And this on the rise of neo-Nazi successes at the polls across Europe:
"...At the last presidential elections in France and Greece neo-Nazi right-wing parties showed impressive parliamentary results. Europeans remember the events that occurred 80 years ago, when in the wake of the economic crisis Hitler came to power in Germany, and wonder how the neo-Nazism were able to return to the tolerant Europe.
Within several years, radical right-wing parties have made a stunning leap forward, and they can no longer be ignored in France, Finland, Hungary, Austria, and now in Greece, where at Sunday’s parliamentary elections the Nazi party “Golden Dawn” obtained seven percent of the vote, and will form its own parliamentary group with 20 seats.
“We’re coming. It’s time for the traitors to be afraid,” said after the elections party leader Nicos Mihaloliakos nicknamed “Hitler.” “Golden Dawn”, whose symbol resembles a swastika, explains that, in addition to inept corrupt politicians, Greek politics is impeded by “human scum” represented by immigrants who come into the country in large numbers...” (Source)
The Golden Dawn Party exemplifies this trend by winning close to 7% of the vote in Greece and underscoring the scope of this problem that is indeed global in nature.
This video shows the spokesman for the Greek neo-Nazi party in action on a recent talk-show and while I can't understand the dialogue, his actions speak much louder than any words ever could!
In the United States the most recent available FBI statistics for 2010 documents show close to 7,000 bias incidents for that year of which 47.3% were racially motivated and 20% religiously motivated.
This most likely is only the tip of the iceberg due to the fact that a significant number of incidents tend to go unreported. (FBI)
That while sporting events like Euro 2012 are a fantastic opportunity for fans to express love of country and love for the game of football/soccer, it also clearly highlights the existing and some would say widening cracks and faults in the fabric of our society.
These cracks, if left unchecked and unresolved, could very well put us on a path that brings us full circle back to a very dark time in human history!
If recent events like the ones described above tells us anything it's that humans have very short memories and that history, for better or for worse, does indeed have the potential to repeat itself!
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