Recently I wrote about the orcs in the Twickenham crowd who shouted homophobic abuse at referee Nigel Owens.
As it happens they have been identified and given a two-year ban. They’ll also be paying £1,000 to the charity of Nigel’s choosing. The ref also wants to meet them and explain exactly who their behaviour was hurting:
I’d tell them to think twice about saying things, because it’s not me they’re hurting, it’s the young kid sitting in the row in front who’s maybe dealing with their own sexuality. The most difficult thing I ever had to do in my life was accepting I was gay. It’s someone sitting two seats away, going through what I went through, dealing with who they are, who are the people they’re putting in danger.
In my post about the incident I wrote:
What’s important is that the people around them should not let them get away with it through silence. Politely and firmly let them know that they are fools.
‘Politely and firmly’ can come with risks. In Germany on 15 November Tugce Albayrak, a 22-year old student, went to help two teenage women in a fast food restaurant who were being harassed by a group of men.
These stories thread together into another one, about another German woman: Angela Merkel, who just happens to be the Chancellor.
The German chancellor was deep in one of the 40 conversations she has had with the Russian president over the past year when he began to rail against the “decadence” of the West.
Nothing exemplified this “decay of values” more than the West’s promotion of gay rights, Mr Putin told her.
It was then, said sources close to Ms Merkel, that she realised Europe and America should abandon all hope of finding a common language with the Kremlin and instead should adopt a policy of Cold War-style containment.
Politely and firmly let them know that they are fools. It comes with risks, yes, but the alternative is to meekly surrender the civic space – a rugby stadium, a restaurant, a continent – to the voices of abuse and degradation.