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I hate football tribes and tribal nationalism

I hate football tribes and tribal nationalism

Last night, Cardiff was invaded by 63,500 football fans to watch the World Cup qualifier between Wales and Northern Ireland.

Living as I do very near the Millennium Stadium, on match days I have to put up with the sounds of airhorns and chants, and the smells of burgers being cooked outside my flat, stale alcohol and piss. Plus a sea of Welsh football/rugby supporters blankly waving the flag, having dragons stencilled on their face and other tribal means of showing “Yes! We’re in the same tribe!”. Ugly, and sends unwarranted shivers up my spine.

Don’t know why they bother really – I remember going to a Wales international match once, and the announcer saying “And don’t forget, the welsh word for Wales is Cymru! So sing Cymru!”. Devastating indictment of so-called patriotism/nationalism in Wales. It’s probably no more real than people dressing up as Doctor Who.

(And before everyone writes in and complains, it’s just as bad when someone parades around in an English flag, or Chinese flag. I just have a deep unease of blatant shows of nationalism / patriotism / tribalism.)

However, there were also a sea of green-coloured people from Northern Ireland. Most of them seemed fine, friendly and peaceful. (Alas none of them seemed to be cute redhaired Irish ladies with fire in their soul).

But there was a disturbing minority of chanty Irish football fans either shouting “Death to the IRA” or “We are the IRA”. Couldn’t figure that one out. Some of them were waving around a white flag with a red cross, inside of which was an icon of a red raised fist. No idea what it means or represents, but not very charming.

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