Hibs’ massive Guy Fawkes banner promising ‘rebellion’ sponsored by Jason Azzopardi

Cheeky dig in Konrad’s backyard or just hate for Valletta?

The banner unfurled by Hibs fans on Saturday read: When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty
The banner unfurled by Hibs fans on Saturday read: When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty

A massive banner unfurled by ultras from Hibernians FC before their championship decider match against Valletta on Saturday, was in part sponsored by Nationalist MP and Paolite fan Jason Azzopardi. 

But it was the lofty quote that got observers thinking: the massive black banner read, ‘When Injustice Becomes Law, Rebellion Becomes Duty!’ 

Maltese football tends to be only loosely associated with politics and tribalistic associations, and generally shuns direct associations with parties that could alienate supporters. 

The only clue for the supporters’ choice of quote – spuriously attributed to US president Thomas Jefferson – is the sponsorship of Jason Azzopardi, who runs in the fourth electoral district where Labour minister Konrad Mizzi, of Panama Papers fame, has his constituency. 

Azzopardi is the son of former Hibs player Edward Azzopardi.

However, Facebook posts by Hibs ultras also suggest that the banner was meant to hit out at Valletta: “THE BLACK STAND... Remembering all the injustices we’ve suffered during this season! Especially when it comes to matches against Valletta,” one post read ahead of the match – a clue to the contents of the banner. 

The supporters also played excerpts from their encounters against Valletta during which they felt they had not been treated fairly in the run-up to Saturday’s match, a thrilling 2-2 result that ended in a 4-3 penalty shoot-out that gave Valletta their 25th Premier League championship.

Origins of the quote 

“When injustice is/becomes law, resistance is/becomes duty” has been credited to such famous figures as Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and Nelson Mandela, but there’s no evidence that either person ever said it.

“When injustice becomes law, opposition is a duty” was used in West Germany in 1979 and “When injustice becomes law, nonviolent resistance becomes duty!” was spoken by Petra Kelly (1947-1992), who co-founded the German Green Party in 1979, at a rally in Nuremberg in 1983.

The saying appears to have been popularized in Australia. A 1983 pamphlet, published in Sydney by Women’s Action Against Global Violence, was titled Pine Gap, the images: When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. The Green Left has used “When injustice becomes law resistance becomes duty” since at least 1992. 

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