Up and down Norn Iron today, Orange leaders are proclaiming that their “Culture” is under attack. But is it actually a “Culture” we can afford to tolerate. Should we…liberal minded people…be working to marginalise that “Culture” rather like we did with the Ku Klux Klan in the “Old South” and the Broederband in South Africa.
This morning an Orange Band stopped at St Patricks Church for a rendition of “The Sash My Father Wore”.
We will be assured by the Orange Order and their “liberal” and “letsgetalongerist” apologists that this is an isolated incident.
But it was an isolated incident last July and it was an isolated incident last September.
Which to me looks …calculated. Enough to demonstrate that the Orange bands will do their sectarian thing. That they will not be dicatated to by the Parades Commission and they will keep their sectarianism within the limits …enough to convince the Parades Commission not to impose a more stringest restriction next time around.
Of course to an old guy like me, Orange bands playing sectarian songs outside a Catholic Church or raising the volume slightly more than necessary as they pass a Catholic area is pretty much par for the course.
And in fairness I should say that some thirty years ago, I was at a funeral in a “Protestant” village in County Tyrone when the local lodge marched in respectful silence past the “Catholic” house where the wake was taking place.
Of course to me, a nationalist and Catholic from West Belfast, I am not surprised that the Pope burns on bonfires. Nor am I surprised that Catholic statues find their way onto bonfires. Or Irish Flags. Par for the sectarian course.
But curiously the letsgetalongerists get a bit edgy about flags from Poland or Palestine ending up on an Orange bonfire.
To the letsgetalongerist, limited sectarianism is ok but xenophobia and racism are bad.
And of course the big big concern for letsgetalongerists is NOT the hatred but the enviromental damage done by bonfires.
The difference between 1963 and 2013 is that we all have cameras. Orange sectarianism can be recorded. And we all have Tinternet and the excesses can be distributed to a wider audience than across an interface.
Likewise the gallows erected withan effigy of a Catholic priest (Fr Matt Wallace) who recently committed suicide by hanging is a disgusting act.
If the English Defence League was doing this in respect of a Muslim cleric committng suicide, there would be understandable uproar.
It is pure unadulterated HATRED. It is incitement to HATRED.
Here…we call it CULTURE.
Yet the best that letsgetalongerists can come with is for this festival of Hatred to be a tourist attraction, a carnival, of all things.
Are Catholic residents not absolutely right to say that Orangemen should not parade their hatred past their homes.
It is not 1795. It is not 1849. It is not 1952. It is not 1997.
These are the same people who are kindred spirits of the Ku Klux Klan and the South African Broederbund…the very people liberals railed against until they were sent to the margins of civilised society.
It does our letsgetalongerists no favours when they talk about accomodating such disgusting people.