Nobody who has been to Auschwitz can avoid being totally overcome by the experience. I haven’t been myself, though I have heard tales from those who have. I remember my father telling me that after visiting there some years ago, not one person in his coach party spoke on the way back to the hotel. They sat through their evening meal in silence and it was only at breakfast the next day when normal conversation resumed – such was the impact of the place.
Germany and Poland are no longer enemies. Germany was compelled to respect the sovereign integrity of Poland as a precursor to unification. Yes, their fans clashed at the World Cup, but I could not honestly imagine the Polish being so immature as to recommend the banning of the German National Anthem (Das Lied der Deutschen) during an international sporting fixture. I’ve spent the last half-hour trawling Google to see if I could locate one story pertaining to any possible ban. I could not locate one.
So why then are we subjected to this non-discussion about the playing of God Save the Queen in Croke Park at the forthcoming Six Nations rugby match? Auntie Beeb has an entire article devoted to its alleged significance, and Republican Sinn Fein (the movement even more despicable than its mainstream rival) plans to demonstrate outside the ground when England meet Ireland there. Germany’s crimes against the Poles and Polish Jews outweighs any wrongdoings we committed against the Irish a billion times over. Moreover, our fights against them frequently took place in the context of their attacks and crimes against the island’s minority Protestant population down the centuries.
Britain’s irregular forces killed 14 people at Croke Park back in 1920. So flaming what? This action took place at a time when we were fighting to keep the entire island a part of the United Kingdom against an illegal guerilla army that could equal the brutality of anything meeted out by the Black and Tans. In those days the British Army really did meet violence with violence on the island of Ireland. It was a far cry from the role they adopted during mass deployment in Ulster after 1969. 1920 was 1920. This is a new century. To those Irish who bemoan the entitlement of English (and a large percentage of the Unionist population who support England) rugby fans to have GStQ played at this bastion of sport-cum-bigotry, I say ‘grow up’!