“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
So said Friedrich Nietzsche, and those words are as prescient and important now as they were when he wrote them.
You see examples of what he’s talking about everywhere as people get consumed by anger over everything from Brexit to Trump in America. It is easy to get swept up in that kind of emotion, but it’s far better to take a deep breath and step back.
Do not become what you hate. Do not fall down into that black hole, not even as a very, very last resort and at the greatest end of need.
In light of that, I want to tell my fellow Troops in the Hoops that I fully understand the fury sweeping the forums and sites right now over the despicable behaviour of the Ibrox fans at the weekend just past. Their continuing focus on certain appalling events which are only peripherally related to us, and their demented campaign to smear the greatest Scottish manager of all time, and one of the finest ever, is deplorable and reeks of a deep-seated sickness.
I understand the desire to respond to that. I do. Of course I do. I feel it myself, and I’ve slated those scumbags in articles on this site and elsewhere, but I long ago realised they are beyond reach.
Liam Neeson’s Michael Collins summed it up when he confessed, at a crucial point in the story, to a colleague that he felt driven to fight the Irish War of Independence with the words, “I do hate them. I hate them for making hate necessary.”
We’re allowed that.
But I repeat, we must not, we cannot, allow ourselves to get consumed by it.
Which is what the suggestion, going around some places, that we should refuse to observe silences for future events would start the long, downward slide towards. It is a pointless, crazy, self-defeating idea, coming from a place of frustration and anger.
Part of the problem here is that some perceive the club as being too quiet on this; I wholly agree with the club’s silence on this particular matter. There are issues where they should speak out – more on that later – but confronting these people is not worthy of our time or trouble.
Let the world see them in all their depravity; that reflects on them, not us.
But the day we start stooping to their level, in shows of disrespect, however we think we can excuse it, we’re no longer a moral club with a moral purpose and we are no longer a moral support. We lose something of ourselves, something of our soul. In defending who we are we need to remember what we are, and we need to protect that above all else.
Let the haters hate. We are, and have always been, better than that.
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