A small group of mostly young local Croat fascist sympathisers acted like tools on the way to the Australian Open on Monday. They got rightly slammed in the press for their dickhead behaviour. But Linda Paric, spokesperson of sorts for the Australia Croatia Community Services committee, thinks they're being hard done by. Of course, the local press isn't always the most culturally sensitive institution in the land. But when the offending party drapes itself in Croatian insignias and performs obvious Nazi salutes... I'm not sure how you can defend that in the way that she does. But Linda has a stab at it anyway. And of course, the reason I mention Linda Paricand this incident is because she's found a link to... South Melbourne Hellas. Zeus bless her.
A couple of years ago soccer fans caused serious damage to shops and public infrastructure after their team, South Melbourne, lost a game. No, they were not Croatian because if they had been all the headlines would have identified them as such. They remained identified as soccer fans.
Now I don't know what games or groups she's talking about. Maybe the Hellas Fan Club? But as a collective and mostly even as individuals, they haven't been to South games for a fair while now, since mid 2007, and there were no reports of South fans running amok in the streets as South fans. Is she referring to the South - Preston idiocy of 2005? No running down the streets in that one. Is she referring to the water polo and/or tennis incidents of a couple of years or so back? If she is, that's not soccer and therefore nothing to do with us. Or is she referring to the late NSL era stupidty that was the smashing of several Clarendon Street shopfronts, which the now semi-apocryphal stories say were actually Melbourne Knights fans running from the police?
I don't think she actually knows which game she's talking about. Instead of trying to play the boys will be boys angle, or the you're making people hate Croatians angle, maybe she should have just said, these are a minority of thugs that don't represent the broader Australian Croatian community. But then you'd get other types of phone calls, and it might make you look within yourself, and ask the question, where did these people come from? For the sake of balance, I think the following passage quoted from the Geelong Advertiser (a much better article than some of the nonsense being peddled) by Paul Saric is far erudite and encouraging, and it's a message not just limited to Croatian youths
"My message to them would be to be proud of what you are, be proud of your heritage and yourself and family but by expressing yourself like that doesn't mean you're a bigger Croatian," Mr Saric said.