Friday, September 11, 2009

Homophobic Supporters Grafitti

By Li Novak

Belgrade, August 27 2009 ( Serbia Today) - For several weeks on some walls in Belgrade we may see the grafitti with messages of hate. They are signed by various football supporters’ groups. Messages speak against homosexual population. There are more of them every day, because of the upcoming Gay Pride parade, which will be held on 20th September. It seems that some aggressive groups are very afraid of that event, and they must express their fear by writing offensive grafitti. The question is: how to react and which person or institution is obligate to react?
Gay Lesbian Info Center (GLIC) asked from public communal service to remove the graffiti, but the service’s answer was that it is not their jurisdiction. After that, activists from GLIC have sent appeals to football clubs Red Star and Partizan. The reason to contact them are the signatures under the graffiti, that belong to these clubs supporter’s groups, for example South Gate or South Front. GLIC asked from the clubs to reprove the graffiti.
First reactions from football club’s representatives were reserved and neutral. Marko Nikolovski, the Red Star spokesperson, said: „Red Star reproves any act of hate and intolerance on every part of planet, of course in Belgrade, too.“ General secretary from football club Partizan said: „Supporter is a supporter, as long as he is on a stadium to support his club. It is not our duty to react on something that is happening outside the stadium.“
Then, organisation GLIC sent appeals to world football organisations FIFA and UEFA. It is well known that this sport’s organisations firmly convict every form of hate and discrimination.
Two weaks after accepted appeals, directors of our two bigest football clubs reacted, in a proper way. They dissociated from offensive graffiti. According to Predrag Azdejkovic, director of GLIC – that has happened after the pressure from abroad. Anyway, in this organisation is satisfied by club’s reactions. Adzejkovic would like to hear unequivocal reaction: „I think that football clubs should tell their supporters to ignore the Gay Pride. Literally to tell them: Ignore!“
But, on the supporter’s forums on the internet, situation is opposite from ignoring. On those pages, one could see the obsession by upcoming Gay Pride and read some of these messages: “Supporters of Rad, leave the kiosks and beat the fags!”, “The only day when you can stamp someone, without police interfering!” or “The only day when supporters of Red Star, Partizan, Rad and Obilic are united, against the fags!”
The situation is complicated and people who mean to attend the gay Pride are not feeling safe. The only solution to this kind of problem is clear and unequivocal reaction, from not only the clubs, but from all the other influential institutions.

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