Wednesday the 13th of June 35,000 white handkerchiefs will be handed out nearby the football stadium of Kharkov in the spirit of ‘Goodbye Racism’. With the handkerchiefs tens of thousands of football fans will wave goodbye to racism during the game Netherlands – Germany. This idea was brought into existence because of the excessive hooligan violence, racism and homophobia in Poland and Ukraine demonstrated in BBC’s ‘Stadium of Hate’.
Goodbye Racism is an initiative of Dutch entrepreneurs Duncan Stutterheim (party organiser id&t) and Jurriaan Bakker (creative agency blend bureaux) in collaboration with Victoria Koblenko (Dutch actress of Ukrainian origin) and Dutch football connoisseur Barbara Barends.
This initiative came into being because of the documentary ‘Stadiums of Hate’ which was broadcasted by the BBC recently. Reporter Chris Rogers travelled to the two countries that are hosting the UEFA cup this year, and what he encountered was shocking: Polish and Ukrainian supporters wearing T-shirts with anti-Semitic slogans who use excessive violence, scoff at football players of colour, beat up supporters of Asian or Indian descent (even though they are supporting the same team) and do the Nazi salute. The police are just observing and feel no need to interfere.
Furthermore they do not intervene when the extreme homophobia leads to aggression: in May the attempt at the first ever Gay Pride in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, was literally beat down by five hundred to a thousand extreme right wing football hooligans armed with whips and cans of tear gas. The location of the Pride itself was kept a secret, but was probably leaked by the police itself. Within the next two weeks, the government of Ukraine is voting on a law, which is supposed to forbid ‘propaganda’ for homosexuality. This will make it impossible to come out, give AIDS education or even talk about the subject because it will be punishable.
In Poland the extreme right-wing party NOP has brought the campaign Zadak Pedalowania (Faggots Forbidden) into life, which was quickly adapted by the Polish football supporters.
Despite these incidents we do not want to point an accusing finger at these countries in specific. Other countries like The Netherlands, France, Italy and so on are also no stranger to racism and homophobia, on and off the field. With this act we want to give off a positive signal. Racism and homophobia in the Ukrainian of Polish society cannot just disappear. But the UEFA cup is a nice stage to symbolically wave racism goodbye.
It would be nice if other big sports events this summer also pick up the act. The symbolic of the white handkerchiefs fits the peaceful character and the fun, which are connected to these events. Hopefully the rivalry between Germany and The Netherlands will also become more casual, and it will become clear that in other places in the world tolerance is developed a lot further. This is also possible in countries like Poland and Ukraine, where not everyone is a racist or a homophobe.
On the day of the game:
A group of about twenty young women from Ukraine will hand out the white handkerchiefs. At the same time everyone will receive a flyer which will read the goal of the act in four different languages. During the game Netherlands – Germany the Dutch and German fans will wave the handkerchiefs for five minutes, directly after the last national anthem has played. When you do not have a white handkerchief, no problem! Get up and take your white bra, your sock, your pillowcase, your role of toilet paper: anything white and fluttering.
This idea was developed in just several days, with the help of entrepreneur Duncan Stutterheim who took on a lot of the costs, and with the support of Boris Becker, Ronald de Boer, Eljero Elia, Aron Winter, Jack van Gelder, Humberto Tan, Rob Witschge, Regi Blinker, Hugo Borst, Carlos Hasselbaink, Raoul Heertje, Peter Heerschop, Erwin Olaf, John Ewbank, Barbara Barend, Frits Barend, Ruud de Wild, Dennis van der Geest, Stanley Menzo, Victoria Koblenko, Najib Amhali, Winston Bogarde, Wessel van Diepen, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Marcel Wanders, Brahim Fouradi, Urby Emanuelson, Matthias Vriens – McGrath & Donovan Vriens – McGrath, Robert Doornbos, Joost van Bellen, Jan Kooijman, John van Lottum, Danny Muller, Jan Mulder, Kluun, Lonneke Engel, Daphne Bunskoekm, Birgit Schuurman, Katja Schuurman and..you?
For more information please contact BLEND\BUREAUX via +31(0)20 -751 27 30.