Article by Robert Livingstone (Anderstown News) exposing the soft ride given to Glasgow Rangers in the corporate media by their whitewash of it's  sectarian record and the ongoing love-in of a significant element of it's support with fascism.

Straight arms, bent thinking
February 26 2007
I’ve never seen a Rangers fan make a ‘Red Hand’ salute during any of the times I’ve seen them playing live or on TV. I’ve never even seen Linfeld fans doing it, or Northern Ireland fans,and I’ve been to Windsor Park more times than I care to remember. That’s not to say it’s never happened, of course, it’s just to say that it’s not a Bluenose tradition, like ‘Can You Go a Sausage Supper, Bobby Sands’, or ‘The Billy Boys’. Which is why I had to smile when I read and heard Rangers’ fans excusing the behaviour of fans who raised straight arms during the club’s match against Hapoel in Tel Aviv. It wasn’t a Nazi salute, it was a Red Hand salute, we were told. And we were asked to believe that the Red Hand salute is a familiar sight wherever Rangers fans gather to watch their team play.

 Q. When is a nazi salute not a nazi salute?
A. When it's an expression of loyalist "tradition"

I don’t accept that for a moment because, as I’ve said, I’ve never seen it and I’ve seen Rangers fans many times. But let’s suppose for the sake of argument that it’s true, that Rangers fans make straight-arm salutes as a tribute to their Ulster comrades. Did it not occur to them that perhaps, all things considered, it would be better all round to give the ‘Red Hand’ salute a by-ball in Tel Aviv? Clearly not, and when the proverbial hit the fan as the pictures were beamed worldwide, the reaction of the fans, and their kneejerk apologists from political unionism, was to blame the controversy on anti-Protestant hysteria.

You would think that we would be unanimous in our belief that making straight-arm salutes at public events in Israel wasn’t the smartest thing to do; that those who did it were – and this is the charitable interpretation – tanked-up dimwits. But no. The True Blue reaction is to attack those complaining and to excuse those responsible.

There’s a small, self-satisfied clique within the southern political and media establishment which likes to paint nationalists and republicans as whingers and complainers, some have even labelled them MOPEs (the Most Oppressed People Ever). And from their perspective, there’s a certain truth in what they’re saying, because to their neo-unionist ears demands for equality and justice sound like nails being scraped across a blackboard.
At the risk of being guilty of the same sin, I have to say that Protestant whingeing is starting to get on my nerves a bit. The Tel Aviv incident is a vivid illustration of a continuing truth: that the PUL community (Protestant/unionist/loyalist – and that unlovely acronym is theirs, not mine) resolutely refuses to accept that it has done, or can do, anything wrong. The Troubles consisted of evil republicans targeting blameless Protestants, nothing more. Serving officers were fine men cruelly maligned by rebel agitators. This would be a great wee place to live if it wasn’t for republicans. Oh, and Rangers fans don’t have a nasty Combat 18 clique with close ties to the Chelsea Headhunters and other English fascists.

They tried the same thing on recently with the Sons of Kai thing. Even though in the 1970s the most infamous of the murderous Tartan gangs was the Rathcoole Kai (Kill All Irish), we’re expected to believe that the name of a recently-formed kick-the-Pope band in Rathcoole, Rathcoole Kai, is not a reference to the bloodthirsty savages from the loyalist estate who terrorised Catholics, but rather to Kai Johansen, who once turned out for Rangers. From a long list of hugely talented footballers who graced the Ibrox turf, Rangers legends who won the admiration of football fans throughout the world – Jim Baxter, John Greig, Davy Cooper, Michael Laudrup, the list goes on – this band picked an obscure Danish clogger whose name, coincidentally, is the same as that of a gang of serial killers from their own estate.

 Sieging in the rain (detail from main pic)

Perhaps it’s true, perhaps they did have an affinity with Kai Johansen. Perhaps he was indeed their favourite player. Perhaps they had a meeting and decided that it would be a splendid idea to name the band after him. That being the case, did anyone step forward and suggest that the juxtaposition of the words Rathcoole and Kai were likely to be misinterpreted? If they considered that and rejected it, or indeed if the thought never occurred, that’s even more worrying than the alternative explanation.

Never mind not an inch on the national question, it’s the not an inch on the truth question that unionists need urgently to address. A start would be nice. And easy, if the will was there, which is questionable. It might start something like this: “Those people in Israel who did the Red Hand salute are unthinking morons who should apologise for the offence they’ve caused.” Or “That Rathcoole band needs to wise up and acknowledge the hurt and distress they’ve caused, intentionally or unintentionally, instead of blaming everybody else.” Given their stubborn refusal to acknowledge basic truths in the Tel Aviv and Rathcoole instances, what chance the unionist community will ever confront the truth about the B Specials, the UDR or the RUC?

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