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"The courage to forgive" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2020 10:06 p.m. PST

"Although I was born in London, my father was born in Dresden, a few years before it was reduced to rubble by allied bombers. Those allies transformed my father's Fatherland, from a monstrous tyranny into a liberal republic – but back here in Blighty, it often seems as if those last 60 years never happened.

Growing up a generation after world war two, my early school days were a kindergarten Battle of the Bulge. In the crude eugenics of my friends' comic books, my father's square-headed sausage-munchers were actually a step above slit-eyed rice-noshers, but it was the Hun, not the Japs, who were the favourite baddies in their playground wargames. I didn't complain. I didn't like shooting Krauts, but it was even less fun being shot at. When my father gave me an Action Man, I gave it away. I didn't want to play British soldiers. I didn't want to play German soldiers either.

Now my schoolfriends have grown up, those old wargames have hardened into a collective folk memory. English football fans are never happier than when they are singing the theme tune from The Dambusters. There is only one thing they would rather watch than Engerland, and that's The Great Escape. And whether you find it sad or funny, what makes this phenomenon so intriguing – and a little bit frightening – is that it's actually a couple of generations out of step…"
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Jeffers16 Apr 2020 10:42 p.m. PST

…and the good sense not to read the Guardian.

forrester17 Apr 2020 2:10 a.m. PST

Given the original writer's specific family history it is understandable that this is a subject of great sensitivity for him.
However football crowds are not representative, and have a habit of sinking to the bottom, when you look at some of the other stuff that gets chanted.
My parents were at school in WW2 and like many others I was brought up on bombs, shelters, rationing etc and of course all the films. I remember when they went to the Rhine on holiday it initially felt odd to them to be in a place that was enemy territory previously. But they still went and enjoyed it.
There are people here who hate foreigners of any description I'm afraid, and that won't change.

uglyfatbloke17 Apr 2020 5:36 a.m. PST

…and the Guardian is about the least bad of our so-called newspapers.

newarch17 Apr 2020 6:19 a.m. PST

I like the example the author gives of England fans booing the German national anthem, from Euro 96. That's nearly a quarter of a century ago. For balance English football fans save real venom for each other, especially rivalries like Manchester United-Liverpool or Newcastle-Sunderland. I think the knuckle dragging image of working class footie fans the Guardian loves to portray is a little out of date now.

deephorse17 Apr 2020 9:14 a.m. PST

I like the example the author gives of England fans booing the German national anthem, from Euro 96. That's nearly a quarter of a century ago.

You should check the date on this article. The booing comment is not so anachronistic when you see when it was published. There are too many generalisations in the piece, but it's a response to something Richard Desmond did, and not an attack upon all football fans. But you wouldn't know that to read the responses here.

newarch18 Apr 2020 1:50 a.m. PST

No the example the author uses of England fans booing is from a game he attended during Euro 96. Perhaps you should read the article more closely (tedious though it is).

In the 21st century it is very unusual to hear British crowds refer to the Second World War. They usually go route one with chants like You're s**t but you're birds are fit during the Sweden game in the last World Cup.

The firebombing of German cities was dreadful, but so was the Blitz and the late war deployment of rockets against civilian targets. The whole situation had degenerated by this point

The Guardian is a pro European, anti Brexit newspaper and they tend to print lots of articles disparaging the English for effectively voting the UK out of Europe. One of their key criticisms is of the little Englander mentality whereby we're all xenophobic and yearn for a return to the days of Empire. I use to love the Guardian but it is a dreadful rag these days.

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