14 September 2012

Hillsborough: A step forward

"Do I even have the right to write this blog post?  Will I be seen as being hypocritical?", I debated with myself before putting pen to paper.  Or rather finger to keyboard.  Thing is, I lost no one that spring afternoon so many years ago - not from a personal perspective anyway.  But from a brotherhood point of view, I lost many.  Ninety-six, to be exact.  And because brotherhood means a lot to me, I felt a compelling need to write this - hypocritical or not.

Two evenings ago, I stood by my laptop intently watching a video feed from London of a prominent Etonian making a House address that brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye.  Turn back time 23 years or so, and you'll find me likewise fixated on my telly witnessing live a disaster unfold in Sheffield... a tragedy which drew similar reactions out of me.  The myriad of emotions which ran through me on both occasions, however, could not have been more different.  The tears I shed most latterly were tears of joy - quite the contrary in '89.

The Prime Minister's statement in full (September 12, 2012) 

What I felt on Wednesday evening while listening to Mr Cameron's statement were happiness, relief, consolation, love, brotherhood, disgust, awe, admiration, anger, sympathy - even disbelief; all rolled into one.  This mixed bag of emotions was just too much for me.  No way was I able to hold back the tears.  Shortly after the Prime Minister's statement, I called a friend and fellow Red in Thailand to share my joy with (I had to talk to someone who'd understand).  Not surprisingly, I learnt that both his as well as his lovely wife's composure were (like mine) in tatters.  Great talking to you good folks; and thanks for returning my call, MG... Rani.

Some of the headlines in the British media the next day (September 13, 2012)

So after 23½ far-too-long years, the truth is finally out.  Lies, slanders, conspiracies, tales of gross incompetence and other shocking revelations; all the beans have now been spilled.  Not that there was ever any doubt amongst many Liverpool supporters that the Hillsborough Independent Panel would eventually find or learn of things we'd already known about (or at least suspected) all along - only this time they've been confirmed And they're official.

Truth and vindication; next, JUSTICE!

The Panel's report will no doubt have brought some degree of relief and comfort - however minute - to the families of the ninety-six.  If anything, at least there's now some closure - albeit only partially so - in their lives.  That's PROGRESS; and for this reason, I say to those involved in the "Justice" campaign (directly or otherwise) and none more so than Anne Williams and Margaret Aspinall, "boss job and thank you".  Your 23 years of persistent and tireless efforts have not been in vain, and indeed are only now coming to fruition.  You - and hence, we, your Red family - have taken a big step forward in our quest for justice.

But whilst justice is now merely a matter of course and time, make no mistake - this is just the beginning.  No doubt more lies, slanders, denials and hurt will surface over the course of the impending investigations by the Attorney-General as well as law enforcement agencies.  These may go on for months, or even years.  And then there'll no doubt be those foolish few who'll choose to remain unrepentant over their transgressions against the ninety-six, their families, the injured and the traumatised back in '89 (in fact, there's already one as I write... and he's a knighted copper, mind you); so be prepared for all these.

A vigil in memory of the 96 was held at St George’s Place in
Liverpool City Centre on the day the Hillsborough Independent Panel
released its damning report (September 12, 2012)

Whatever happens next or whatever the outcome of the fresh investigations, I'm confident my fellow Reds will remain calm and continue to display dignity in the face of adversity; just as most - if not all - of you have so valiantly done during the past 23½ years.  JUSTICE will ultimately prevail.  Of that I'm certain. 

As a final word, please forgive my boldness in sharing with you this quote: "The daft neither forgive nor forget; the na├»ve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.  Forgiving is not forgetting - it's letting go of the hurt."


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