Archiv für Juni 2009

No Moment too Beautiful to Not Pull Out the Guns and Knives – New Episode: Estudiantes de la Plata

Last week it was Huracan. This week, not wanting to be any less, the barras from Estudiantes de la Plata took it once again to a new level. Read it to believe it…

On Thursday Estudiantes played against Nacional de Montevideo for the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores (equivalent in South America of the Champions League). After a very bitter negotiation between the two clubs as to how many tickets should be given to the away fans ended in failure, it was decided that the games would be played without away fans. The main reason for this was that Estudiantes asked for 12 000 tickets in Montevideo (which they even offered to pay at the, for South America, incredible price of 30 USD each…in advance!), but were finally granted only 3 000. In order to avoid dangerous situations (riots, disturbances, robberies, killings, shooutouts, you name it) trying to sell so few tickets with such a huge demand, the CoProSeDe (responsible for „safety“ in Arg. stadiums outside of Buenos Aires) even threatened to not provide police officers for the selling of the tickets.
This also had the side effect of reducing the risk of the games, as Estudiantes barras are friends with those of Penarol, who in turn are the worst enemies of Nacional.

Cup semi-final, no away fans, 40 000 people in a sold out stadium, 1-0 victory…the unsuspecting outsider believes that all goes well? Far from it!

In a new episode of inter barrabrava conflict, one faction of the Estudiantes barra decided it was time to convey a clear message to the other. As you see in the picture above…the message doesnt need much explaining!
(The reasons for this conflict are the usual, and not interesting enough for translation. They can be read in Spanish here.)

Long story short…in the stadium, during the game, not only was this gun pulled out…the intended victim was indeed shot. At least they were kind enough to shoot the guy in the leg. The highlight of the day was however delivered by the police chief in charge of the game, who declared after the game that „there were no particular incidents, and all went smoothly.“ Needless to say, nobody was arrested.

Its already over two years since the scandalous decision to forbid away fans from Argentine lower division games (all divisions expect first). This decision was a desperate attempt on behalf of the AFA and state authorities to stop the somewhat out of control weekly football violence.
Too bad for them that the first division teams do a more than good enough job of keeping the scandal quota high, and they dont even need rival fans to achieve it!

PS Slightly off-topic, but it has to happen. Please watch and compare…

-Estudiantes entering the stadium for their cup semifinal. Mediocre at best…

-Racing entering the stadium for our cup semifinal, 1997. It was an incredible moment…

Michael Jackson – Thank You for the Music

It doesnt fit the „character“ of this blog or of Fire and Flames, and such „emotional“ outbursts are unlikely to take place often, so enjoy it:

Michael Jackson may have made some very poor choices as far as his personal life is concerned, as many great artists indeed often do. However, in regard to his contributions to music and popular culture, already as part of the Jackson 5 and then principally in the mid to late 80s, he is unlikely to ever be surpassed. A pop culture icon for the ages, who through his music made the lives of millions just a little bit better.
RIP King of Pop!

Up in Flames…

If football is a weapon used for the construction and solidification of national identity in occupied territories, then this can only be interpreted as a very effective symbolic propaganda act. :-)

The most intersting question here would be, which is the real tragedy? That 200 good citizens couldnt watch „Eeeeethhhhpanya“ play, or that they were defeated 2-0 by the USA (!!??!!). Either way, entertaining…

Assorted Nr. 3: Huracan Continued, Stranded in Paris + „riots“, and another heartwarming video, this time from Iran…

*First of all, our solidarity goes out to the three Fire and Flames „workers“ who travelled to Paris for the „Barricata Festival,“ and have been stranded there for the last two days due to car problems. Our thoughts are with them! :-) At least Paris is not the worst of all possible places to be stuck, and hopefully they caught some of this „demonstration.“ on Sunday…
(and on the linked photos, please note the nice little detail of the hammer on the ground in the third picture from below).
Here is a link to a short video as well. The first person interviewed, Fred, is the former guitarrist of Brigada Flores Magon, by the way.
Pleasant as the images may be, first of all the demonstration apparently did not go so well, being dispersed in all of about 15 minutes, but mostly it marks a sad day, in that France has become yet another country outlawing masks on demonstrations. First it was Germany, Denmark then followed, Sweden a few years ago, France now, and Greece might soon follow. Clear signs that the world is becoming a shittier place.

*Two dead after Huracan game: This has by now become news pretty much all around the world. What you may not know however is that the most recent development has been a communique released by the „La Plazita“ (plus a few other sectors of the barra which are allied with them) faction of the Huracan barras. Im not going to translate it all, but brutally summarized they apologize for the violence during the game, but explain that in their opinion it was unavoidable in order to stop „La Zavaleta“ from completely taking over the terrace, with the subsequent mistreatment of „regular“ fans that this would imply.
The complete text (in spanish) here.

*Finally, here is another pleasant video involving cops, this time from Iran. Nice to see when fear changes sides! Note the nice charge at about 2:00 mins. into the video.
Here you go.

Huracan: No Moment Too Beautiful to not Pull out the Guns and Knives

Not two days after reporting on „barrabravas“ in Argentina and their internal battles, current events provide us with a fresh example, of a particularly surprising violence and virulence. Making the event even more noteworthy, is the more than unusual timing of this newest explosion of inner-barra violence. For those of you who speak Spanish, the video above provides a surprisingly accurate account of events and their background context (the rest of you can still watch, some interesting images are shown). For the rest of you, here is the strange and rather pathetic tale, of the barras of Huracan…

Huracan is a classic of Buenos Aires neighborhood teams, located in the middle class district of Parque Patricios. Historically in first division, having experienced rather hard times over the last couple of decades, and with a stadium much larger than what they need, this is a club famous for anything other than having a large support base. This year they have experienced unexpected success on the field, and are indeed only one point away from their first championship in 34 years. Yesterday, they had their final home game of the season, and all was prepared for a celebration the likes of which they have not seen in a long time, with well over 30 000 people in the stadium.

Yet, despite the relatively small size of its „hinchada“ (active fan base) and their „barra“ (organized „hooligans“), they Huracan fans have managed to divide themselves into two antagonistic factions. One the factions,“La Banda de la Plazita,“accuses the other, „La Banda de Zavaleta,“ of among other things being responsible for theft and general trouble in the Huracan popular/terrace.

(Side note: This is a not uncommon problem in the Argentine populares/terraces, in that some barras use the opportunity to steal money and goods from other unorganized fans. A phenomenon Ive witnessed with my own eyes in River as well as Independiente for example. In cases where the barra is working properly, it is often precisely they who are responsible for keeping those who go with the purpose of stealing from the regular fans away from the popular/terrace.)

This, coupled with the usual struggle for control of the money generated from control of a popular (free tickets, charging for parking outside the stadium, selling of merchandise, etc.), generated a situation which was unlikely to take long to explode…

At halftime on Sundays game, „La Banda de la Plazita“ violently expelled „La Banda de Zavaleta“ from the popular. „Zavaleta“ were quick to take their revenge, ambushing members of the rival fraction after the game. In thee nsuing fight, a member of „La Banda de la Plazita“ was shot and killed.

Not much later, as members of „La Banda de Zabaleta“ were entering the hospital where they were tending to their wounded, they were in turn attacked by members of „La Plazita.“ Long story short: several people with bullet and knife wounds, an overturned and torched taxi, and another person dead, this time from the other faction.
„Funnily“ enough, two seriously injured people fled the hospital after being attended to. Clearly, they werent in the mood to be asked uncomfortable questions by the „Policia Federal.“

Finally, in a certainly not uninteresting note, the dead person on the side of „La Banda de la Plazita“ is none other than the brother of the leader of the barra. Word „on da streets“ in Parque Patricios is that vengeance will be terrible. Certain people would do best to not show their faces in the neighborhood or in Huracan for a long, long time to come.

PS Pathetic as Huracan may be, there are two positive points worth mentioning…

*First, the blue and red flags and banners shown in this video are those of San Lorenzo, arch enemy of Huracan. The video however is of Huracans fans in their own stadium. The Huracan barras broke into some room in the clubhouse of San Lorenzo, and stole as you can see…quite a few of their banners. This incident is a source of great amusement for basically everybody in the Argentine futbol world, except San Lorenzo fans.

*Those of you who know how I broke my ankle into a thousand pieces will understand why I like this fun fact: Huracan is the only club in Argentina with a recognized Inline hockey team, which trains in Huracan and plays in the second division of the Buenos Aires league. They are not exactly great as far as playing quality is concerned, but it is the initiative and the thought which are very much worth supporting.

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