No name change for the Crusaders

I went to a barbeque last Saturday night. Those in attendance were virtually all South Islanders, with a fair few from Christchurch. As there was a rugby game on the big screen (Blues v Highlanders), the conversation inevitably turned to the Crusaders, and whether or not they should change their name. To a man (or woman), the verdict was a resounding No. In fact, most of them, particularly the Cantabrians, were quite outraged at the very suggestion.

Are these part of the ‘ignorant society’ that historian Peter Lineham waxes so lyrically about?

Of course not.

When asked about the mosque massacre, again to a man, they all said much the same thing. They were horrified at what had happened, aghast that it could happen in their city, and totally supportive of the Muslim community that has suffered so very badly.

That doesn’t sound like a bunch of haters and wreckers, does it? Doesn’t sound like a bunch of white supremacists either.

The thing is, the Crusaders brand means a lot to Cantabrians. This is the city hit by two devastating earthquakes, and to them, the Crusaders are a symbol of their resilience and success. Remember that the Crusaders are the most successful Super Rugby franchise to date, and that means a lot to the locals. Forcing the Crusaders to change their name and their branding because… well, just because… is asking them to give up an important part of their identity. They will not do that without a fight.

When I told one Cantabrian that the Saracens (Muslims) actually won 2 out of 3 of the Crusades and continued to administer Jerusalem for hundreds of years thereafter, he was aghast. Like a lot of people, he knew very little about the actual history, and had assumed that the Muslims had suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of the Crusaders which, by and large, is not true at all.

A poll, taken last week, shows that 76% of New Zealanders are part of this ‘ignorant society’ because they fail to see why the Crusaders need to change their name or brand. quote.

More than 75% of New Zealanders are against the Crusaders changing their name in response to the Christchurch terrorist attacks, according to a new 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll.

So the latest poll asked eligible voters: “Following the Christchurch terrorist attack, do you think the Crusaders rugby team should change their name?” Most answered “no”, with 76% against a change.

The groups of people who were more likely to believe the Crusaders should keep the name included those living in Otago and Southland, National Party supporters and people aged 18-29. end quote.

Young people don’t support a change.That came as a surprise, as I assumed that those who wanted no change were mostly crusty old white supremacists who don’t like change. Obviously not. quote.

“So these are really striking figures and what they tell us is that a very small proportion of New Zealanders understand the deep history of conflict between Muslims and Christians that the word Crusade means,” historian Peter Lineham told 1 NEWS.

TVNZ. end quote.

I think Mr Lineham needs to revisit his history here as well. Sure, there were some terrible battles, but then again, most of it was 1,000 years ago. Warfare wasn’t nice, but overall, the Saracens did pretty well. If anything, the Crusaders came off worst.

But, as my Christchurch dwelling cuzzie said on Saturday, that is all history. Nothing to do with events today. The Muslim community in Christchurch is not asking for these changes, so he cannot see what exactly is driving the talk of change.

Then again, he wouldn’t. He is part of the ‘ignorant society’ that supports Muslims in its community and is horrified by the attacks. Just how ignorant can you get?