Monday, September 12, 2005

I Knew There Was A Reason I Didn't Like Orange

A man walks past a burning vehicle

And I suppose that this is it.

It's the third straight night of rioting in Belfast, as the loyalists swerve out of control. It barely made the U.S. papers (for some obvious reasons, we are a little preoccupied at the moment), but frankly, the British press clearly doesn't care too much either.

Welcome to the fabulous world of the Irish peace process. 'Loyalist' nutjobs have attacked a police station with gasoline bombs and vehicles, and have been fighting both Belfast police and the British army in the streets. (Does it make sense to call them loyalists when they're trying to kill British troops?) Cars have been torched, property destroyed, and about fifty police officers injured at last count. Police came under live fire, in addition to attacks with blast bombs, fireworks, and Orangemen with 'ceremonial sabres and pikes'.

The cause of all this nightmare is that the Orangemen were prevented from taking the parade route they prefer, the one that runs threateningly right up to the edge of Catholic neighborhoods. When they were ordered away, through a factory grounds, all hell broke loose.

Shouldn't surprise anyone. These are the same folks who lost it in Ardoyne a few years ago when Catholic elementary-school kids had to walk past a Protestant neighborhood to get to school. There was an element in town that objected. The kids had to go to school with armed police escorting them. A blast bomb was tossed at cops escorting small children to school. It was a matter of principle.

Now, here we go again. New Orleans is under water, all the war zones are still war zones, and look who thinks they're oppressed--the guys whose parade route was altered so they couldn't menace the neighbors.

I have roots in that corner of the world, and while most of the time I limit my involvement to ceremonially cursing the IRA on St. Patrick's Day, occasionally the ugliness and the stupidity that Belfast can erupt into a moment's notice gets through to me. I'm more or less used to the idea of the large number of people in the world who hate me for being a Jew. Now and then I get to recall the folks who hate Irish Catholics--which I am by ethnicity though not faith--as well. Some people will tell you these are regular working-class people who feel threatened by perceived concessions to the 'other side'. That's also what they'll tell you about the KKK.

I knew there was a reason I didn't like orange as a political color. Just remembered what it was.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

damn wow. thanks for keeping the rest of us informed about whats going on there.