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Freedom and balls

Even as I type this at 10.45am on Friday 9th January, the apparent final end to the pursuit of the Jihadists who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre is playing out in the north-east suburbs of Paris in France.

These are very difficult times for amateur bloggers such as myself the world over. Right now I am filled with a sense of inadequacy and irrelevance whilst real, professional, journalists and reporters have been working around the clock to cover a developing news story in which their own kind have been slaughtered for such meaningless and warped reasons.

In particular today I wish to pay tribute to British journalist David Aaronovitch who wrote a column entitled Our Cowardice Helped To Allow This Attack in The Times newspaper yesterday (Thursday 8th January 2015, page 27).

It was respectful, restrained, direct and hard-hitting all at the same time. It had me transfixed within two paragraphs. Its intensity was unremitting, right to the end. I’m not saying it was a perfect, nor that some of Aaronvitch’s themes or conclusions couldn’t be discussed, disagreed with and/or challenged, but it was such an excellent piece of work that, after reading it, I couldn’t help but sit back – certainly not in jealousy or envy at something that I couldn’t possibly have written – but simply in admiration.

I would love to have provided a ‘link’ here to the website of The Times for the benefit of any Rust readers who have not already seen it, but I’m afraid that Mr Murdoch requires a payment or subscription to read his newspapers, which an expense that I decline to incur.

In finishing, I wish to draw a small and tenuous connection between the Charlie Hebdo outrage and the case of convicted rapist footballer Ched Evans, whose much-publicised and supposedly imminent signing by Oldham Athletic was officially called off yesterday.

One of the themes in Mr Aaronovitch’s article was that – in a sense, all concerns and circumstances taken into account – every ‘Free World’ newspaper and publication which has ever refrained from publishing cartoons, articles and editorials criticising any religion (or indeed the warped fanatical factions that exist within any religions) for fear of retaliatory threat or attack has actually served Western democracy and its freedoms badly.

Different subject and very different situations, but – as I understand it – one of the contributory reasons for the Oldham Athletic board’s change of mind was that one or more of its directors, and also club staff and perhaps members of their families may have received threats of violence or even death; apparently one director’s daughter was even – get this – threatened with rape if the Ched Evans signing went ahead.

It seems to me that the world of football – from its administrators and players’ union representatives right through to its clubs, employees and fans – is another that could also benefit from a backbone transplant in the face of irrational and prejudiced thuggish threats.




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About Gerald Ingolby

Formerly a consumer journalist on radio and television, in 2002 Gerald published a thriller novel featuring a campaigning editor who was wrongly accused and jailed for fraud. He now runs a website devoted to consumer news. More Posts