Thursday, 12 July 2012
What century is this, guys?
I've just come off the Nolan Show, where I was urged to get down to Belfast City Hall area and join in the Orange festivities, come together and all that. Since I'm in Sligo, I'd find that a bit difficult. Why am I in Sligo? Because it's the Twelfth, stoopid, and most non-Orangemen and women who can manage get the hell out of our little northeastern jurisdiction. Not because they're misguided, but because they know that at core, the Orange Order (i) is anti-Catholic; (ii) is triumphalist. Old Stephen was talking in terms of just enjoying the burgers and chips and ice-cream and all that. But you can only do that if you ignore why the Twelfth exists and who are at the heart of its celebration.
And it's not just the Twelfth. Two, three thousand marches a year! Ninety-nine per cent of which are accepted without demur by the nationalist population. The disputed ones like the Ardoyne? Sit down, guys, with the residents, would you? No preconditions, no preset mind-set. And come to an agreement with your neighbours. And when you've done that, have a long, hard look at the organisation that's doing the celebrating and ask yourself: would we tolerate this if it were Catholics/Nationalists who were holding 2,000 parades each year celebrating victory over us? Or if the GAA said no Protestants, nobody married to a Protestant, no one who's been to a Protestant service may play Gaelic games?
Dear Mother of God - this is the twenty-first century. And we have this antediluvian attitude that declares Orangemen are the ones who are being hard done by. Jesus wept.
On a more cheery note (I think), it's my birthday today. Thanks to all who were kind enough to take the time to wish me the best. May your day be free of the sound of the flute.