Enough generalities - the Village area can deal sectarianism a deadly blow
It’s a long way from the Village
area of Belfast to Stormont. You
can work at an official level towards a shared – and improved – future, but you
can’t legislate for the conversion of sectarian morons like those who attacked
young James Turley the other day and left him for dead. Why did they do this?
Because he was ‘a taig’. If you’d been looking for an example of full-frontal
sectarianism, you’ve just found it. These knuckle-dragges weren’t looking
to settle some old inter-community score – they just wanted to attack/leave for
dead a taig.
I’m just off the
Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster /Raidio Uladh, where this topic was discussed. Dawn Purvis, former leader of the PUP, was keen to stress that
sectarianism runs right through all classes of our society in the north, and
she’s right. Where she’s wrong is in putting the emphasis at this moment on
desegregated housing, desegregated schools, desegregated communities. The focus now should be firmly on this primeval attack which is bad for the reputation of the decent
people of the Village area, bad for the film industry here and bad for the
reputation of the north in general.
So what to do? Two simple actions would
help considerably. First, it would
take no more than five minutes for Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, as
First and Deputy First Minister to appear before the cameras together, as they
did when PC Ronan Kerr was killed, and label these thugs and their actions in emphatic terms. Second, this attack happened in broad daylight – there
are bound to be people in the Village area who know who they were. If they
truly detest what happened, they should identify the troglodyte attackers to the PSNI, they should be arrested and they should learn that actions have consequences and that vile actions have very, very uncomfortable consequences.
learn best by example. If the top of our society – Stormont – and the
ground-level of our society - the
Village area – were to act as one in this case, make it clear that they totally disown such people
and their stupid, vicious actions, you’d be surprised how that co-ordinated
action would send ripples of approval and attitude-change throughout our society. If they don’t, then let’s hear no more
preaching from the top or pretence that sectarianism isn’t welcome and nurtured
at community level.