Booing the Anthem

This is not an indictment of Canada for not agreeing with the U.S. lead war against Iraq. As a U.S. citizen who believes in the freedom of speech, I believe citizens and fans have the right to express their opinion. I also believe that the heavy French population in Montreal and Quebec has vastly different opinions from those in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver as shown by the attempts to become a separate country. However there is a time and place for everything and a hockey game is not the forum to express those opinions.

What happened at the Montreal-Islanders game Thursday night was a disgrace. Americans are putting their lives on the line trying to oust a dictator who has used weapons of mass destruction against his own people as well as neighboring countries (Iran, Kuwait). The U.S. has tried through the U.N. for over a decade to follow “diplomacy” as the French put it to get Hussein to comply. He has not mainly because countries like France and Russia have economic interests in Iraq and know France will stand up for him to protect those interests. The BS being thrown around about “blood for oil” is ridiculous. We import 50% of our oil from that region and the majority of it is from Saudi Arabia. If France were to lose hundreds of millions in trading, it would hurt their struggling economy.

The Islanders are mainly made up of non-Americans. Most notably, players like Peca, Scatchard, Wiemer, and Asham are Canadian, yet they felt embarrassed after the French Canadians booed the U.S. anthem. The Isles used that as motivation to flat out bury the Canadiens and their playoff hopes.

Canada might be free, but relies heavily on the U.S. military might of the South. The U.S. freed occupied France in WW II and helped French soldiers in Vietnam. The U.S. recognizes the Canadian help provided in other conflicts and respects Canada.

That’s not to say the U.S. doesn’t do stupid things. Islander fans booed the Canadian anthem last year, but that had more to do with the thuggery of the Maple Leafs against Peca and Jonsson than a disrespecting of Canada. Toronto fans have repaid the favor since.

However freedom is something that you have fight for sometimes. Unfortunately it seems that the French want freedom on the backs of others. It is not a coincidence that France stated it would back the U.S. if chemical weapons were used in this war. They would enjoy the spoils of freedom while not putting their own soldiers in the line of fire. France would not want to lose face, so it would go from the peace bandwagon to the winning bandwagon.

Last night was just a hockey game. It was a benefit of freedom. However to boo a U.S. based team, it’s fans and citizens is a sign of disrespect. I just hope Canada doesn’t face the terrorism we have. If you do, I hope the U.S. lets France intercede.