Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : AFL Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

 

Mick Malthouse

Declares war on terrorism

Melbourne Herald Sun 2005

Australia doesn't have a tradition of sporting heroes nailing their colours to the political mast. There were no such heroes leading the march in Australia against cricket and rugby union tours of apartheid afflicted South Africa in the 1960s. Even after the federal government boycotted cricket tours there was any number of cricketers, including former captain Kim Hughes, who were prepared to join rebel tours. And had it not been for the defiance of Nicky Winmar in raising his jumper and pointing to his black skin a decade ago at Victoria Park, who knows how much longer racist abuse would have been tolerated on the football field. History shows that it was blacks such as Winmar and Michael Long, not 'white fella' members of the Hall of Fame, who brought an end to the scourge of racial abuse.

So, how surprising it was to hear Collingwood coach, Mick Malthouse, declare his support for the 'war on terrorism' before last Saturday night's match at the Gabba. To some, Malthouse's call for sympathy for the 'nameless Iraqis killed on a daily basis' was code for opposition to the invasion of Iraq. Unfortunately, Malthouse's sympathies didn't extend to the more than one hundred thousand, ordinary Iraqi men and women and children killed by missiles and starvation or shot dead at checkpoints. The only dead Iraqis who rated in Malthouse's tribute were those who had 'their throats cut'. There was only one enemy, barbaric Muslim insurgents, who refuse to accept the American occupation.

If Mick Malthouse and the Collingwood Football Club want to use a major televised football game to implicitly support the US invasion of Iraq and the rapidly unravelling 'war on terror' they should be prepared for the questions. To assume that the millions of Australians who opposed the invasion of Iraq will fall in behind them is at best naïve. The naivety didn't end there. Malthouse said the V-shape configuration adopted by the players during their 60-second tribute was based on British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill's famous victory sign. Churchill, he said, was the 'greatest statesman to serve England'. Mick might like to ponder Churchill's vainglorious masterminding of the Gallipoli campaign that sent thousands of young Australians to their death on the beaches of Turkey in 1915.

He might also like to think about the status Churchill has among people of Irish descent. In 1920 he famously declared that his government would 'unleash a terrible war' on the Irish if they did not accept a truce. The truce brought an end to the Anglo-Irish War, but it was followed by a savage civil war, the creation of Northern Ireland and eighty years of turmoil and death in that province. In the 1970s and 80s it brought IRA terrorism to the English mainland. Churchill is no hero of mine. So, what would Mick have done if someone of my politics happened to be playing with Collingwood? And what if Irish born Brownlow Medallist, Jim Stynes, whose relatives fought against Churchill's army in England, or a young Muslim who didn't support the invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan, had been in the team?

As well-meaning as Mick Malthouse's words might sound, they bring no comfort to those who oppose the Bush-Blair approach to ridding the world of terror. Treating terrorism as an act of evil, as if it has no connection with than injustice of Palestine or Iraq won't make the world a safer place. Nor will catch-cries such as 'we've got to hit it (terrorism) on the head'. It's a long way from the pre-match oration to the world of international terror. And it's plain wrong to think a burst of stiff, upper lip Churchillian spirit is all that's needed to end this scourge. Has the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan made it a safer world? Are our children now free to visit the old dart or New York or Bali without fear of ending up mangled by a terrorist bomb?

If only the Collingwood and Brisbane Football Clubs had expressed their sympathy for those innocent Iraqis, not just those killed by anti-US insurgents, who died as result of the invasion. If only a big strong footballer would call on the Americans to end the carnage on the West Bank and bring economic relief to Iraq. If only Channel Ten had informed us that the one minute silence was in defence of the invasion of Iraq. If only we had the courage to say justice is the pre-requisite of peace.

Published in the Melbourne Herald Sun 2005

 

Hi Phil,

I read the article in the Herald Sun yesterday in regards to the Mick
Malthouse 1 minute silence before the Brisbane game.

I think it was the start of the 2002 season and young Bulldog Robert Murphy had written on his arm, in full view, NO WAR when sitting for the team photo. Now he isn't exactly a big man, but I do recall that he may have been reprimanded for having that written on his arm. So a footballer did try to make his voice and opinion heard, however, to no avail.


I really enjoyed the article.

Regards, Feisty Tiger


 

 

 


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