AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TIMBERS ARMY REGARDING 8/23/2019
I am a Timbers fan. And, I am an Oregonian. Ever faithful to the green and gold, even while afloat in the salty wake of failure. Failure to capture the Cascadia Cup, to gut the Seattle Flounders, scale the table, and a failure of a protest. For clarification, the "8/23 protest" was not a failure as it pertains to the purpose nor the intent. Freedom of speech is one of the last living causes worth fighting for. However, the mode, execution, and timing of the aforementioned protest form the trifecta of a truly wasted swing at making a nationally impactful statement; three-strikes, no balls. But, the obvious flaws in the plan point to a much deeper conspiracy. August 23rd’s silent demonstration was so saturated with shortcomings, so calculated and divisive in its poor timing, that its enablement can only be logically attributed to one group. An organization more despicable and disgusting than any hate group. More driven and more sociopathic than any anti-hate group – the enemy of all those that found themselves beside the pitch at Providence Park on that particular tragic Friday.
Breaking wind with the obvious: freedom of speech is not fought for with silence. The thought is even an oxymoron. When we are ordered unjustly to censor ourselves the answer is not to go quietly. Speak out! Force the oppressors, enemies of free expression, to expose themselves in the light. Rather than sulk silently at the Timbers’ (remember them?) biggest match of the year, for the glory of Cascadia and bonfire-fried fish to feed the hungry, why not let the North End be seen and heard as a united front? A simple piece of cardboard per person, in tandem with several sheets of paper, and a writing utensil could have made the statement for every interested supporter. The Iron Front, the symbol in question that has spawned all of this, was banned from being displayed on banners by the MLS. Two-sticks, single-sticks, banners and signs without sticks bearing the Iron Front symbol have been confiscated in recent times, and people have been removed from their seats in some cases. The proper retaliation is not silence. It is for everyone who supports free-speech (and chooses to participate) to display the symbol over their head on individual banners while we jump, clap, and sing for victory! If security takes your sign, pull out a piece of paper, draw another. Be prepared to be removed. Let viewers from across the country see that happen... If even 70% of the North End did it, security would be overwhelmed. Are they going to toss everyone out during ESPN’s big MLS event? For the intent of this battle, that would be the best possible outcome. No version of "They" should be permitted to obstruct our way of life. We should obstruct theirs. Force them to take action against us, creating a noticeable spectacle of themselves - oppression on video at a national scale. Imagine the kind of attention and exposure that would afford the fight for free speech? Might even get significant press outside of Portland…
Our boys needed our noise! Have we lost sight of the Timbers Army’s most essential element: the Timbers? We are loud, proud, true supporters for evermore… so that is how we should remain in the face of oppression. All the "protest" really did for the thirty-three painstaking minutes that it lingered was take the wind out of our club’s sails, use said wind to inflate the egos of the people who commanded the silence, and left the bulk of the viewers across the country to draw the conclusion that we, the TA, are soccer’s lamest fans since they weren’t clued into the purpose of this blooper-reel charade. A select few people also learned that they can control us all, just like the forces they are supposedly fighting against. Organizing a subdued sit-in that takes away the right to chant via peer pressure and dirty looks is its own form of oppression. Fighting for something means you approach it without reservations. Fear of consequences should not trump standing up for inalienable rights even if it means an escort out of the biggest Timbers match of the season. There are no safe routes through the center of freedom’s battlefield. Conversely, do you know what forcing everyone to change their priorities from the Timbers to a gutless hush-down and then ridiculing those that do not want to go along with the group for "polluting the stream" sounds like? An ideology incredibly similar to the very forces we are supposedly opposing. Anyone who wants to protest in favor of free-speech should do so loudly, with a voice that can’t be silenced by police or otherwise. Boldly fly the flag of what they say not to, organize everyone who agrees to do the same… but also chant or GTFO!
Better yet, let’s really scrap with the MLS. Rather than no tifo, make two tifos: a patsy tifo purely for approval purposes and as a means to cover up the second tifo - the real one - hidden beneath it. Upon hoist, the fake canvas is then cutaway revealing a giant Iron Front-like symbol but with three middle fingers replacing the arrows, pointing at a Sounders logo, a Vancouver logo, and the MLS logo. Huge letters next to it read: "FUCK ‘EM ALL", and the rest of the tifo is decorated with the word "fuck" in every possible language including Sanskrit and Pig Latin – a veritable Rosetta stone of "fucks"! And, when kickoff time comes, the tifo doesn’t come down. For nineteen minutes and thirty-three seconds, the Timbers Army sings every chant that contains the word "fuck" (since all of them are about Seattle) from behind the tifo curtain and ESPN’s broadcast is tainted beyond repair. You get the Iron Front symbol (with a twist) displayed, and several versions of one of the seven words you can’t say on TV broadcasted in letters three stories high! Our sacrifice would be not visually seeing part of the match and whatever repercussions the MLS forces upon us… So be it! At least the boys would have heard our noise and Seattle would have had to look at the tifo during every shot on goal. Important points would have been made loud and clear. Maybe others points, the more important kind given the setting, would not have been made… We were there for a soccer match, no?
Which brings us to the very heart of this matter. As an optimist and a 107ist, I am glad evidence that alludes to the truth has surfaced like an expired, aquatic craniate. Given the obvious flaws in the "protest" plan, examining what was sacrificed verses what was achieved by silencing the Timbers Army, not to mention the eager willingness of our arch rivals (who described their feelings towards us in an interview the day before as "hatred") to sit in muted solidarity – clearly, something smells fishy. Only the most heinous group of "human beings" ever to organize would sink so low. Now, the ESPN connection may throw you off, but I assure you, despite the description, I am not referring to the folks at Disney. I wish it was that simple. That ESPN’s ratings suffered so deeply by the silence of the Timbers Army that Mickey Mouse, sitting sinisterly behind his desk, cigar in hand, watched Fernandez put the equalizer in and then made a call. Buzzing in the ear of the furthest removed sideline referee, the evil rodent’s nasally voice came through: "You know what must be done (ha-ha)." If only it were that simple...
Truth be told, a group far more despicable than even Disney was behind this guise of a protest that sabotaged the North End: the Seattle Sounders. Shocking perhaps, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. A source inside the TA that wishes to remain anonymous has confirmed the potential that the Army has been compromised by a covert Flounders operative. Using the TA’s obsession with political attention as a weapon against us, this individual convinced the officers of the Timbers Army that silence was the solution. Playing with perfection to the narcissistic notion that ESPN’s ratings would plummet if the North End wasn’t singing, the slimy fish figured out how to make the loudest supporters in MLS obsolete. Of course the Seattle supporters were willing to join us in our silence. They saw an opportunity to shut us up for almost half of the match, and they took it!
Even the length of time, thirty-three minutes and thirty-three seconds (33:33) to reference 1933, the year the Iron Front was banned by the Nazis, illustrates the sloppy handy work of those without hands; finned fiends. No Timbers supporter in their right mind would think such a protest should linger any longer than nineteen minutes and thirty-three seconds (19:33), if even that. Only a splinter cell from the bowels of the Puget Sound would have thought to extend it out for such an illogical length of time during the Cascadia Cup.
Such an infiltration only occurs when a group forgets its origins and loses sight of what it was meant to stand for. Fascism is an ethos of evil. It should not be imposed or tolerated. But, the obsession with anti-fascism at Providence Park is eroding our ANTI-FISHISM! Unjust hatred should not be permitted, but some hatred is healthy for our community. For example: the hate of those Zulily-crusted, mucus-green, gill-breathers! That’s a platform of hate worth standing on… then stomping on… to a pulp, before turning what’s left into slurry. Rest assured, there will be consequences now that the Flounders’ operatives have been identified, but the fact is, we let them dupe us this time and the Cascadia Cup was stolen from us. But, if we return our focus to the Timbers, while still letting our voices be heard in the name of freedom, those fish won’t make it far up the stream. We’ll still be able to turn the table and gut ‘em properly once more before the season ends.
It is with such a sentiment in mind that I call for the Timbers Army to reunite as soccer supporters, reevaluate its agenda for the rest of the stretch run, and redirect its power to clash with all of our common enemies: oppression, the Seattle Sounders, and most importantly, that canker sore that bleeds and oozes on the south side of our stadium known colloquially as: "the MAC". The time for niceties has clearly passed! We’ve tolerated their exercise-bike culture long enough! Remove the Multnomah Athletic Club today for it is time to make way for the Timbers Army’s next evolution - the birth of the South End. A place where nothing can stop our noise, and if anyone tries to silence us, we’re prepared to sing louder and hold our middle fingers higher. A place where the passionate cries of small children can be heard bellowing out stanzas of Cascadian poetry: "Fuck Seattle! Gut those Fish!" A place where no one who believes in their voice or their freedom can be silenced, and where the priority at Timbers’ matches infinitely remains to be the Timbers. Build a bonfire. Buy a bulldozer. RCTID.
South End Rising