Campaigns - boycott to minute's silence
Since forming, as a proactive collection of Hillsborough families, survivors and supporters in Feb 1998, the Campaign has struggled to bring Hillsborough and the continued lack of justice back into the public domain on many occassions.
Many people are aware that all clubs now observe a minutes silence on 15th April following the group's letter campaign. In this section you can read on this and other successes the group has acheived, as well as ongoing activites.
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The Hillsborough Justice Campaign
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I'm not bitter
The following is written as a personal reflection. Please don't copy, reprint or publish it in any form unless you have the specific handwritten permission of the author.
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I'm not bitter (or astringent). But I do remember. A tale in two halves.
I'm not bitter (or astringent).
I got out of the chair at the speed a slug comes out of his shell. Took two steps towards the wake up coffee I'd promised myself and the phone rang.
"Good timing" I said to my wife "saves me getting up twice".
I picked it up and pressed the on button, watched and waited for the symbol to show, then put the handset to my ear.
"Hel looooo" I warbled in a mock wide-awake manner.
" Hello...Mr B Larrrney?"* The voice asked, with the familiar roll and harsh inflection instantly recognisable as originating from Dublin or thereabouts.
"Yesss" I responded, outwardly.
'Give him a chance' I thought inwardly, spontaneously knowing it was a post teatime cold selling call.
"You've had a letter off us recently offering you a platinum mastercard", he continued
'You bastard' came to mind, (aimed at the people who had passed my number onto this man) as I recognised where this was coming from,
'You bastard' I thought again (as the inserted advert for a 4-4-F*ck Off footy mag came to mind and I remembered a previous credit card offer with a Gerald Houllier quote in "now more than ever the supporters can play their part in the team". Bill really would turn in his box if he knew) while the man went on to tell me the advantages of having a platinum mastercard.
'Keep your head' my conscience told me, 'it's not down to him'.
The man revealed his source and got to the point where he wanted to know if I had any other credit cards (I don't, and don't want ANY credit card, enough is plenty is the corner stone of our house fiscal policy)
"No I don't, mate" I said, in as soft a tone as I could muster, simultaneously exchanging knowing glances with my wife, who raised a smirk and a reassuring shake of her pretty little head.
"But before you go any further. I don't want or need a credit card and I'm sick of letters off the Club imploring me to buy this, buy that, buy the other, trying to squeeze every penny they can out of the meagre sums myself and my wife earn."
" I have a season ticket mate, and my son does too, " I continued, still contained in my tone and pitch.
"And I really don't begrudge them a single penny of what it costs me" I truthfully stated. Knowing full well my son gets to half the league games (& the occasional,last year a few, cup games) because he has an adult seat close to the pitch (means of escape uppermost in my mind when I booked the seats and the speck is much better than the dads and lads up in the gods). Also, because half bat on one alleviates some of the annual household debate; "How are we going to pay for TWO season tickets?"
"But you know what, mate. It does me in when I come across these requests for money because the same people who gave you my number, and your postal badgering department my address, can't be bothered to use the same address mailing list or the same phone contact numbers that you've got to ask me how I feel about moving the ground."
(Which, incidentally, I consider my spiritual home in the same way as Catholics consider their church or Muslims consider their mosques)
"I dearly love the lads in Red and cherish every game I see them in, but I am sick and tired of being pestered by them for money, and the more they do it the less they are going to get"
"So do me a favour, mate" I pleaded as my stomach started turning over
"Tell them to stop it, just tell them to stop it"
"Sure, sure" he replied interrupting in a softer accent, "I will, I will"
"You know what" I said, sensing his empathy,
"These people don't even have the decency to recognise the families of people killed watching the lads in Red or people whose life was threatened to a point finer than the tip of a heart surgeon's knife."
Referring obliquely to the indifference and ignorance of a one time community club turned corporate conglomerate towards the Hillsborough Justice Campaign
"Sorry, to unload on you" I continued as my eyes filled up
(Is it me or is it instinctive for all men to apologise as soon as they start to fill up?)
"Sure, sure" he intervened.
"I don't mean to get at you, it's just that I'm fed up with them."
Voice still in a subdued state, "But I still love the lads in Red."
"Sure, no worries" he said, back to his full twang.
"Why should you give your money to those who have plenty already"?
"I work for mbna" he continued " but I WILL let them know."
"Thanks for that" I said, my own tone and pitch back up to normal.
"Sorry to go on at you."
"R, no worries" he drooled, as Dubliners do.
"You take care now, good fella."
"Cheers, mate" I said, switched the phone off and put it back on its plinth.
I turned towards my wife, who had that 'shit, he's going to kick off ' look on her face.
"Had to be said" I whispered in her ear as I hugged her, "Otherwise it will just get worse."
"Glad you did" she said, "Doing my head in as well, and I'm an Evertonian"
(She's not but it raised a shared smile)
As we relaxed our grip and separated, a weird thought crossed my mind
'Wish I could take that man the match to show him what I mean'
* B Larney is not a true name but it does retain the accentual influence and protects the anonymity of the angry.
But I do remember
" And your point is?" I sense you asking.
My point is... That 4-4 F*ck Off rag, which our Finian friend referred to, carries Lying Brians (Clough) self righteous, half hearted 'apology' and was advertised on the back of the credit card offer, and it brought to mind a Pen 3 Survivor being given a years free subscription of the same rag for talking on a peaktime national radio show (a 3 way link with John Inverdale and a rep from the 'official victims families group') the day (circa 1992) S.Yorshite policemen were awarded approximately £2,600,000 damages (sic!) between them for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other ill effects of the Hillsborough atrocity on their well being.
The final piece of the interview went something like this;
John Inverdale "Why is it that you are still astringent (or some similar word I never knew of) after all this time."
Pen 3 Survivor "Well I don't really understand the words you use but if you mean why are we still so bitter then I would suggest it may be because it still hurts (it still does in 2001, over 12 years later) that no one has been brought to account for what went on."
JI. "What will alleviate your astringency (or some similar word)?"
P3S "Maybe when we see those responsible in the dock of a criminal court"
JI. "Well, thank you for that. Now the weather"
The survivor came out of the studio in a state of shock and entered the foyer area just as the 'official' victim's families group rep came out of a corridor on the other side of the foyer.
'Thought he was in London' crossed the survivor's mind. He tried to catch the rep's eye, but got blanked and watched as the rep left through a side door with a fawning reporter hanging over his shoulder.
'He's in a worse state than me' thought the survivor. The reporter came back, thanked the survivor for his contribution, gave him a form for a years free subcription to the 4- 4 F*ck Off rag and then went on his way, still in a state of shock but glad to have said what he felt many other survivors would like to have said.
As we now know, some of those responsible for the killings did eventually stand in the dock of a criminal court, after a state stitch up orchestrated by squealing Jack Straw and the slimeball Stuart Smith. The prosecutor wasn't the Crown Prosecution Service as it should be for criminal killing, but the legal leeches of the 'official' killed victims families group. The accused S.Yorshite policemen were assured, very early on in proceedings behind closed doors and cloaked in language even a philadelphia protagonist would struggle with, that despite standing in the dock accused of killing a symbolic selection of the 96 known victims they would be guaranteed a non custodial sentence (they would not go to jail) even if they were found guilty.
In the immediate run up to the trial, on the eve of the tenth (or ninth or eleventh) anniversary of the killings, two people, a Bereaved Father and a Pen 3 survivor, were summoned before the presiding judge (the Bereaved Father went, the Survivor never) at the instigation of the prosecuting cuntsel (representing the 'official' killed victims families group) for possible contempt of court. They were accused of preparing material (for use on a website) appertaining to the killings which could be prejudicial to the impending prosecution of the S.Yorshite policemen. The Judge agreed with the case put by the prosecution (the 'official' killed victims families group) and ordered that some of the material be immediately withheld from public view (not allowed to publish a website). The judge warned the consequences of being found in contempt of court for the Father & Survivor were a custodial sentence (going to jail).
The juries verdict, after the clowns and magicians had completed their tricks and illusions, on the two accused in the killings trial (or severe negligence as it was on the charge sheet)
were a) not guilty (the assistant)
and b) an inconclusive majority (the chief culprit)
They both walked free, never to stand accused of these killings again. The website was published and subsequently the host server was threatened with legal action (by the 'official' killed victims families group AGAIN). The server, couldn't cope with this legal threat and the website was forced off air. Later, it was resurrected, and aired, by Contrast.
The website opens with the voice of a Pen 3 survivor;
"we thought we were going to see a football match and we went into a killing field"
Those last two words 'killing field' were the very words that the 'official' killed victims legal leeches considered worthy of having the Pen 3 Survivor threatened with jail. A few weeks ago that same Pen 3 survivor found a photocopy of a national newspaper front page, dated Wednesday 19th April, 1989. There's a picture on it of St John Ambulancemen tending to the dying (or injured) on the Hillsborough pitch, under the picture is a sub heading saying;
'The killing field'.
If memory serves me right, (it was repeated in full on the BBC last week) Lying Brians words at the time of his book publication went something like this;
"If so many of the Liverpool supporters hadn't turned up late and without tickets nobody would have been killed."
I may be bitter (or astringent) because I remember. A man in two halves.
Don't buy the 4-4-F*ck off rag
Don't buy the S*n
Let the truth prevail
Prosecute perpetrators not victims
Justice for the 96
Support the Hillsborough Justice Campaign
Support Anne Williams