LAST Sunday I wrote that it wasn’t too long ago that Rangers’ Mark Walters was subjected to banana skins and monkey chants and wrongly included Partick Thistle fans in the list of his abusers.
Two fans, James and Liam, sent in the best emails: “Partick Thistle fans pride ourselves that the kind of behaviour you describe does not rear its ugly head at Firhill and never has in the last 40 years. Apart from the inaccuracy on linking fans on the abuse of Walters your piece was spot on.”
The second message said: “I have persisted as a fan not for the quality of the football but the fact that Thistle provides a way to be Glaswegian and a football fan without bigotry, without sectarianism and without racism.”
I repeat, I am genuinely sorry for my mistake and the dismay caused.
An individual blogged this week: “Anwar made a career out of being offended and a very lucrative one.
“He is an odious, self-aggrandising, s**t-stirrer; a PC thug who views the world through the ugly prism of racial politics.
“It matters not a jot to Anwar that Partick Thistle may be tarnished by his false allegation, because ‘racism’ is his business and business, for him, is good. Kerching!”
Another stated: “Mr Anwar is the Scottish equivalent of the ambulance chaser, always willing to take the case of some terrorist or illegal immigrant.
“I understand the legal aid available is generous in such cases?”
Meanwhile, a few weeks ago another individual wrote: “I’m not a racist… go back to your own country, along with your immigrant parents who failed to teach you respect.”
These are recurring themes which need a response. First, my mistake about Thistle did concern me, hence an immediate apology.
Second, fighting racism is not big business but I do it for free.
You do not get legal aid for campaigning for justice for a family whose son may have been murdered in a racist attack.
And if it is big money, why are “ambulance-chasing lawyers” not queueing up to fight racism?
As an Asian, it would be easier and better to bury your head in the sand because if you ever challenge racism you are accused of playing the race card or told to go home.
There really is no popularity in defending the human rights of unpopular causes.
When a police officer smashed my teeth out in 1991, he said: “This is what happens to black boys with big mouths.”
My mouth got bigger, but one thing I learned was that freedom and justice is not handed to you on a plate.
The legal system is run like a gentlemen’s colonial club — shrouded in its vanity of wigs, gowns and secrecy, relatively unchanged for more than 400 years and with one law for the rich and one law for the poor.
We have always had to fight for freedom and justice and the more of us who believe that, the more chance we have of getting justice.
Finally, for those who believe legal aid lawyers are rich fat cats whom society should do without, just imagine the alternative.
The poor not granted legal aid, meaning guilty until proven innocent. The risk of some police forcing confessions from the innocent without a lawyer present.
Judges acting as prosecutors, defence, jury and executioners — just as in Iran, Saudi Arabia or other countries some would like to send me back to.
We live in the best country in the world, but an independent defence able to speak without fear of recrimination is the key distinction between life in a free and just country or a dictatorship.
So just be careful what you wish for.