A delicious bit of irony appeared in today’s Belfast Newsletter in the form of a news release from the Orange Order, which sponsors most of the Twelfth of July “festivities” that mark 325 years of Protestant dominance over Catholics in Northern Ireland. The order encouraged its members and supporters to “enjoy the Twelfth, despite republican intolerance.”
The self-pity is positively astounding:
Our proud traditions are dear to us, and it is therefore deeply regretful that increasingly petty restrictions are being imposed on our parades by a discredited and inept Parades Commission.
Such creeping cultural suppression is aided and abetted by the deliberate intolerance of republicans.
There is an element within republicanism which acts in a sectarian way by continually attacking the cultural symbols of Protestantism – our parades, our halls, our flags and sometimes even our people. That republican sectarianism should be consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs.
Our struggle will be won by means that have been successful in defeating those who oppose us – perseverance, peaceful protest and prayer.
Meanwhile, over in Lisburn, a completely nonsectarian, perfectly tolerant Loyalist bonfire will blaze up in a few hours, crowned, as you can see below, with an grand array of Irish flags and effigies of Gerry Adams, Gerry Kelly, and Martin McGuinness.
Culture. It’s a beautiful thing.