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Monday, 12 July 2010

Happy Annual Riot Day

Saints, how I hate the twelfth...

For those unfamiliar with Irish History... Just go look it up, I have no humour to recount past history this day with regards to the Orange Order marches on July 12th here in Northern Ireland.

What I will talk about is the riots you'll sure to be hearing about soon enough, wherever you are, with regards to the parades.

Where do I start? First I guess, lets start with the parading tradition here in Northern Ireland, Parades and 'Marches' are a long standing socio-political tradition here in Ireland for damn near everyone, and alot of care and effort is put into the Cumanns who do the marching tunes and melodies for the Nationalist and Republican parades and Marches, (Please Note, although all Nationalist parades are mostly attended by your average Paddy McSeamus, similarily enough ALL said parades are distinctly Militaristic in character), the same could be said for the Orange Order Marches our Unionist counterparts, with their impeccably well dressed manner displaying their medals and tokens of office and station. These parades are always a popular sight to see for tourists, be it the shamelessly political and overtly emotive and beautiful tapestries and banners carried in Nationalist parades upon spears and Halberds, or the rousing and hypnotising order of the Orange Parades.

So whats the problem? Simple, the Orange Order Parades march through predominantly Nationalist neighbourhoods and areas of Belfast. Causing a great deal of consternation all around. And no, the Nationalists dont do likewise on similarly important holidays, such as Easter or some such. This is why I hate the 12th, I don't hate it for the History, nor do I hate it for the pride that the orange order and Unionists in general display in the parade, they have the right to do so on their own holiday. What I bloody well hate is the sheer ignorant arrogence of marching through areas where they know they will cause an uproar. My apologies to unionist readers of my blog but my anger must be made known. And to those viewing history of this island from the outside wondering why riots such as these haven't happened in a long time and that nationalists are being overall rotten about this, the nationalist community has in fact been simmering over this issue for quite some time throughout the peace process. I still remember scenes from a few years back where several nationalist residents attempted to blockade their streets or otherwise tie themselves to lamp-posts in peaceful protests of the march going down their streets, (before you ask, yes, Northern Ireland is EXACTLY as tribal as I am making it sound to be, on both sides). I know full well that the Order marches down those particular streets for tradition's sake, but I also know full well that there are indeed a great many in the Unionist community who take great joy in the anger and irritation this causes their Nationalist counterparts. Because that's exactly what this miserable little statelet needs right now, isn't it?

Oh it reminds me of that time the Orange Order tried to organise a march through Dublin city one year, (on what logical grounds no-one can tell you I assure you), and the riots and anger that ensued were LEGENDARY, and did seem to provoke a surge of National pride in the south, (despite the Irish Times trying to pin the entire riots' organisation on the provisional IRA so as to make it appear that Southern Irishmen were not nearly as hot blooded as their northern counterparts, which is of course hot bull-dung, as there were more rioting in Dublin then I have ever heard about here in the North, and caught me quite by surprise) So much drama and anger raised when the March could just take the street slightly to the left of the one it goes down, and everyone can have their traditional marches with minimal consternation. I am usually never a peace activist but this nonsense has been going on long enough.


  1. Good post.

    "that time the Orange Order tried to organise a march through Dublin city one year"

    I lived around the corner from O'Connell Street at the time - you are quite right, both on the absence of grounds for the march (other than a vaguely voiced feel-good notion of 'tolerance and pluralism') and the provocation of an unspoken, usually ignored working-class national pride

    And you're also bang on about the Irish Times doing its utmost to pin the entire riots' organisation on the provisional IRA. I guess the 'enlightened' oh-so-cosmopolitan D4 opinion-formers found distasteful the idea of southerners - Dubliners, no less! - reacting as 'intemperately' as their northern countrymen.

    I guess it shouldn't have been that surprising to see them carry a soft-sell recruitment drive (oops, I mean serious, thoughtful article) for the British Army a few weeks back...

    But it does have one thing going for it, I suppose.

    It's not the Irish Independent.

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