Hillsbororough: Never Forgotten
Feature by Lewis Melisi
Updated Friday, 14th September 2012
September 12th 2012 will be forever remembered as a poignant day for many people and for many reasons.
The revelations of the Hillsborough case shocked not just a football club or city but instead an entire nation. Why, we asked, why has it taken 23 years to expose what is almost undoubtedly our nation’s biggest ever cover up? Why have previous attempts to expose these merciless lies feel upon deaf ears? Why have those that were placed in a position to protect abused the power and authority gifted to them? The disgraceful scandal that is the Hillsborough cover up has an overwhelming stench of corruption. The course of justice has been perverted with savage and barbaric lies. As a nation it is our duty to ensure that those responsible are held to account.
I myself am not a resident of Merseyside, but I am a very passionate Liverpool fan nevertheless, the result of which has meant that the Hillsborough tragedy has always been at the forefront of my thinking. As a supporter I both wanted and felt the need to educate myself on that most saddening of days for my club. I wanted to learn more on the tragic events of that fateful April afternoon in 1989 and the incidents and errors which resulted in it. As an LFC fan it’s obvious I have had far greater access to forums, news features, tweets and blogs on the disaster. Because of that extensive reading and research I have done I have always felt genuinely saddened by Hillsborough, how is it possible not to be? 96 innocent and avoidable deaths. Men, women and children of all ages simply going to watch a game of football and never returning home. Failed by those there to protect and serve them.
The revelations have shocked and caused outrage for a number of reasons. Not least because of the appalling extent of those manufactured lies created by various factions of the South Yorkshire Police in an attempt to deflect blame for the tragedy from themselves. As David Cameron noted in his speech to parliament “the families have long believed that some of the authorities attempted to create a completely unjust account of events that sought to blame the fans for what happened“, he followed with “the families were right“. The Prime Minister continued and later divulged the true measures of the corruption – “164 statements were significantly amended – and 116 explicitly removed negative comments about the policing operation – including its lack of leadership“. We later learned from his comments that “There is new evidence which shows that police officers carried out police national computer checks on those who had died in an attempt – and I quote from the report – “to impugn the reputations of the deceased” and that “The Coroner took blood alcohol levels from all of the deceased including children“. The truth was always going to be difficult to hear, but it was imperative that it was heard.
Winston Churchill once said “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on“. For 23 years the Liverpool fans were unjustly accused of causing the deaths of 96 of their own. Accusations that are hard to shift or defend when even the justice system and sections of the media are plotting against you. But defend and shift the accusations they have. The resolute and relentless efforts of the people of Liverpool, specifically the families of the 96 victims, have ensured that the truth has been told and the lies uncovered. Whilst the truth and revelations of the actual failings of April 15th 1989 may lead to new inquiries, possible criminal prosecutions, the families will never get what they want and deserve, their loved ones back. Maxim Gorky once wrote “Truth doesn’t always heal a wounded soul“. As Margaret Aspinall, a mother who lost her 18 year old son James at Hillsborough said “It doesn’t make us feel better, because we will always be the losers at Hillsborough”.
It is impossible to even begin to comprehend quite how mothers like Margaret Aspinall have felt in the 23 years leading up to September 12th 2012, desperately fighting in the face of adversity to clear the name of not just her own but for all 96 of the Hillsborough victims. It doesn’t need someone of my insignificance to tell you that Margaret Aspinall and the many like her who have fought for the truth deserve an incalculable amount of recognition. What they have achieved will change the course of British history. New inquiries and potential criminal prosecutions will surely now follow, and rightfully so. For ultimately this is a case of death by negligence and corruption reaching into the upper echelons of the British judiciary system. In no other instance would this be tolerated, and it shouldn’t be tolerated now even 23 years after the event. We as a country have an obligation to see that justice can run its course; no other outcome should be accepted.
The 96 innocents that lost their lives at Hillsborough should never be forgotten, not just in Liverpool but across the entire country. Spare a moment of thought the next time you’re at a game. The seating, the officials, the stewards, the emergency services, everything that is there for your safety, that’s what the 96 have done for us.
“You’ll never walk alone”
Justice for the 96
Don’t buy the Sun
Thank you for reading, comments welcomed at @LMelisi on twitter
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