Saturday, 28 September 2013
Ever since the Flag protests last year there has been a concentrated effort online to continually mock Loyalists and their Culture. I can’t say this with any degree of certainty but I would surmise that most the people that are doing it are either Catholic or Republican or maybe a combination of both. It is all done in the name of a joke of course but being able to pass bitter nastiness off as a joke is something that we in Northern Ireland do particularly well.
These Catholics have short memories or maybe their memories are perfectly fine and what they are currently engaged in is in fact a form of Cultural Warfare via modern Technology. I was only a child in the early seventies when my family were being burned out of our home in Ardoyne but my mother still tells me about their experiences back then, about the daily terror of being targeted by roaming gangs of drunk Loyalists while the Police and Army stood by saying they couldn’t do anything about it.
It seems these days the proverbial boot is on the other foot and Catholics are now in a position to get themselves some payback on the Loyalist Culture which they perceive as having done so much wrong in the past. Young Catholics nowadays didn’t experience the Troubles but their parents have obviously passed their hatred onto them and the old adage of ‘them uns’ having started it and being responsible and therefore it is acceptable to mock them because they’re bad people and they deserve it!
I would urge people here to be very careful about how they approach what they see as being deserved behaviour. If retribution is acceptable then we create a world where disharmony and nastiness is second nature. This means that it is alright to behave this way because we can say that the people who we’re getting revenge upon deserve it. The difficulty with this model begins when those who are taking their revenge start assigning blame to those who apparently deserve it and they start blaming people who are innocent. I mean where exactly do we draw the line here?
People need to take a deep breath and look at how the events over the course of the troubles played out and what has happened to our struggling Cultures as a result of that. Mocking a whole Culture merely ostracises them further and causes them to get more bitter and twisted. Loyalists and Republicans both are currently very confused because they feel that they are being played by the other side, this is a result of the conflict which has not yet ended by the way.
Either side may say things like “Yes, but they’re behaving like animals and they’re ruining our economy!” but the confusion being felt is a result of the fall out from our Cultural differences and lack of emotional security in this age of deep disharmony.
If the current trend of Mocking Loyalists continues what will happen is that another Generation of young Loyalists will grow up feeling like victims and ultimately they will simply not be able to be integrated into our Society. What this does is exactly the same as what it did before. When Catholics were mocked and treated like less than human they became angry and bitter and they attacked and what we had as result was the troubles. We need to start looking at the long term implications of how victimising a whole Culture will cause serious consequences for our collective society long into the future and in 50 or 60 years time the tables will turn again and the other side will get their chance to get their revenge, again, and thus the Sociological cycle of pain and hate will continue.
Many of those doing the mocking probably don’t even associate with their Religion and Culture half as much as the previous generation did so they may not look at it the same but the result will undoubtedly be no different. Much of the hatred and anger is not even Religiously based it is based mostly on image and level of intellect. You see so many comments about how ‘Stupid’ the Loyalists are and about how they dress. Since modern technology is being used Spelling mistakes are picked up on and used as a means to show how these people are uneducated and somehow subhuman.
Making people feel bad about their image and about their intelligence will cause them to become insecure and self conscious, it’s like a form of Cultural bullying and it will only result in those people feeling worthless and create a ‘nothing to lose’ ethic within their ranks, this will mean that as they continue to protest and cause disorder in the future it will get worse and worse and then of course the goading will continue to rise and SOMEONE WILL GET KILLED AND EVERYONE WITHIN THIS CURRENT SCENARIO WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THOSE DEATHS WHEN THEY HAPPEN.
The Individual who throws one petrol bomb is not isolated and is not wholly responsible for that individual action. They are part of wider community and country and everything that happens within that community and country is playing a part in ALL the actions and words of ALL involved.
If a whole group of people feel their Culture is under threat the last thing they need is for that Culture to be attacked further. If they choose to carry out acts of violence then the law will sort that out it is not up to the rest of us to point and mock and make people feel like shit. Do not forget that while all this is going on dissident Republicanism is on the rise and just as the Loyalists feel threatened so do those Republicans. This place is bitter brew of discontent and anger and we could easily find ourselves back to how it was during the dark days of the past.
How people feel in terms of their patriotism and pride toward their Religion and National identity is none of my business and it’s nobody else's business either. The rest of us should just carry on living our lives in the best way we can and be mindful of the deep Cultural and Religious differences that have always been here and will be here long into the future. Their needs to be tolerance from those of us with sound minds and an understanding that both the Republican and Loyalist communities are suffering from a type of Cultural trauma which is a result of having had a long protracted conflict lasting hundreds of years. While the rest of us may have woken up and seen sense long ago it is not that easy for people who only know bitterness and pain.
If you choose to make inflammatory statements via social media or support these pages which are carrying out these Cultural attacks then you will be partially responsible for our conflict continuing into the next century and beyond. Violent actions and words may appear to be different but the differences therein are merely by degrees. Be mindful that you may be prone to do and say things via Social media which you could regret. People feel somehow protected by the anonymity of the internet but it is not so and your hateful opinions are not merely words on a screen they are the voice of a generation, your generation.
I am not saying that civil disorder or lawlessness is acceptable I am merely stating how the social mechanics work and History is testament. What happened in the past will repeat in the future if we continue using retribution as a means of venting our anger.
If you mock and hate people who mock and hate you are being no better than them and are merely justifying what they do by emulating it.
This is not a joke. We lost a lot of lives here to hatred and intolerance and if you choose the route of mocking peoples Cultural and Religious identities you will be partially responsible for deaths when they occur.
Take care of yourselves and one another.