February 14, 2014

When are we going to have a sensible debate about the conduct of parades? Ctd

Loyalism's exemption from the rough and tumble of public discourse and from serious and sustained criticism is not because its claims are stronger, but because its radical fringe is more violent. Against a history of menace, threats and intimidation, who or what agency would stand alone?

As I have explored in my series, 'Political correctness is the worst kind of censorship,' I have attempted to show that we are incapable of confronting even the most chronic and grievous problems, lest we unsettle and cause offence. For as Jenni Russell (@Jennirsl) said in The Sunday Times:
"Because it challenges a liberal tenet: that exploring the cultural differences between groups amounts to racism."
As Kenan Malik (@KenanMalik) has said here, and I here and here, this amounts to the failure of liberals to stand up for their liberalism. This is the use of pluralism against that very principle. As Malik said:
"[This is] A failure on the part of liberals for their inability to stand by their principles and fight movements, which are sectarian, homophobic and racist. This “liberal formula” is an illiberal bar on free expression. This “liberal formula” is not a recipe for pluralism or multiculturalism. To the contrary, this formula is the exploitation of pluralism for use against this very concept. This is a victory for bigotry, the anti-plural and anti-multicultural."
This is intolerable. We have anger and complaint, yet we can say nothing. We have principles, traditions and a proud heritage. It has come to the point where we must confront those who have for too long had an unchecked license and warrant to do as they wish. We need to let reason enter the debate. It is time that bands and the Orange Order took the time to suffer themselves to examine their own conduct. It will take bravery and tough words that will be unpopular. As Alex Kane said:
"We need to move beyond the argument that the OO should walk particular routes just because they are ‘traditional’."
Fintan O'Toole chastised those Protestants for not defending their traditions from those who abuse and soil it. He said:
"The respect for different traditions enshrined in the Belfast Agreement will only mean something when those who profess to belong to those traditions are willing to defend them, not just against external enemies, but against those within their own ranks who parade a grotesque parody of culture and call it a culture festival." 
I will not bequeath violence and a broken society to posterity. Unionist non-compromise and maximalist demands are unsupportable. I will oppose this belligerence and stand up for pluralism, tolerance, peace and stability. The summer violence has been going on for 100s of years. As was noted on Slugger O'Toole, a footnote in an online copy of George Benn’s History of Belfast (1823) said:
"It may not be unnecessary to observe, that on the 12th of July 1813, a very unfortunate party riot took place here, in which two persons were shot by the Orangemen in North Street, and some others wounded on both sides. The criminals were tried, and punished by imprisonment at the ensuing assizes. Previous to this affair the return of this anniversary had always been marked by very serious disturbances, but no great disorder has since occurred."
In Religion, Politics and Violence in 19th-Century Belfast by Catherine Hirst, she reports 1813 as the first year in which riots were documented in Belfast.

My earlier post in the series can be seen here. In that post I noted that the first "Orange riot" on record in America was in 1824, in Abingdon, New York. The 'Orange Riots' of 1870 and 1871 in New York here were infamous. After this, the Congregationalist minister Merrill Richardson from the pulpit of his Madison Avenue church said that the time had come to take back the city, for if "the higher classes will not govern, the lower classes will."
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