If polluting the environment is bad, what about polluting young minds?

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The Ballymena Times is reporting that loyalist leaders and Unionist political representatives have met to agree a code of conduct for bonfires in the greater Ballymena area.

One Protestant clergyman in the Ballymena area, John F.A. Bond, the Dean of Connor and Rector of St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Broughshane,has written to the Grand Lodge of Ireland asking them to “issue a statement to ban all tyres and furniture that are known to emit toxic fumes at bonfires on the 11th evening of July as these are seriously injurious to the health and well-being of people”.

It is certainly a positive step if people are considering the harmful impact upon the local community of toxic fumes produced by the burning of tyres and furniture, and seeking an understanding to end this practice is entirely a productive enterprise.

But it smacks of ignoring the supremacist elephant in the room when it comes to loyalist cultural expression as associated with the 11th Night bonfire tradition and the Marching Season in general, and this can be seen in the erection of a loyalist flag inside the grounds of a Catholic church in nearby Dervock recently, not to mention the annual tensions associated with erection of loyalist flags in mixed and/or predominantly nationalist areas and contentious parade routes.

The most toxic product of the annual practice of the 11th Night bonfire is the poisoning of young minds through the burning of flags and emblems associated with ‘The Other’ communities that reside in the north of Ireland, most prominently those linked with the catholic, nationalist neighbours who share this contested land (the Irish National Flag, election posters, sporting attire associated with nationalists, effigies of Catholic clergy or banners mocking suicide victims or victims of sectarian violence all have appeared on bonfires in recent times.)

Is it not long since past the time that all Unionist political leaders- as well as others in civic unionism, clergy or otherwise- called for an outright ban on the placing of any and all items on bonfires that could send a message of hate to young minds watching the flames burn all assembled on the raging fires? Poisoning the environment is bad and wrong; poisoning young minds is even more so, not least in a society as fractured as our own.

  • tacapall

    Chris Im sure the Grand Lodge of Ireland have a 20 pence coin ready for you to call any of those who promote this neanderthal culture. Im sure you will find they dont give a …. about the environment or other peoples opinions about codes of conduct. This must be the only place in the world where polluting and destroying the environment never mind the public displays of hatred is called culture and is rewarded financially. Hopefully some day someone will bring the councils and the government to court for turning a blind eye and allowing this annual destruction to take place.

  • MYtwocents

    Either times have changed dramatically or Ballymena is a very different place to belfast, in my memories the orange had no input into Bonfires, and any attempt by them (or anyone outside the youths in charge) to interfere in the Bonfire would have been,how shall I put this, resisted.

    “what about polluting young minds?”. And seeing as how you have brought it up.
    In your view Chris,as is the classroom the best place for a raving nationallist (irish or not) ideologue to be employed.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Chris

    First of all, I’m all up for addressing this topic and squeezing the OO if need be.

    BUT can I just highlight something for future consideration?

    We must tackle this thing in a series of steps.

    If people see a big list of ‘demands’ (as it will be interpreted) behind the tyre-ban then many people will just be against any change whatsoever (well, just like they are now I suppose).

    A not inconsiderable number of unionists believe that no matter what they do ‘themuns’ won’t be happy, so, why give an inch?

    Now, this is just pragmatism vs principle.

    I know I’ve opened myself for a volley of “AG! We can’t let them dictate terms! Spew! Spew! Sort it NOW!” but I’m just trying to be practical.

    If there is any hint of ‘follow through’ with what is the weakest link in the OO’s armour then they’ll just clam up.

    Again.

    So yes, I agree with yer sentiments, but, one step at a time.

    We’re not even over the first hurdles yet.

  • redstar2011

    Tacapali,good post

    I would go further- possibly this is one of the only statelets left on this miserable planet where one side trying to lord it over the rest of the population is acceptable as the National Holiday!!!

  • MYtwocents

    “miserable planet”, try here. Samaritans Belfast 5 Wellesley Avenue Belfast Northern Ireland BT9 6DG.

  • Sp12

    A work colleague once showed me a few photos and a video of an 11th night bonfire he was at in Ballykeel, a group a local ‘community workers’, men in their 30’s and 40’s who are paid EU money to run events all wearing specially printed up, F**k MickeyBo t-shirts.

    Sure it’s a great night out for all.

  • redstar2011

    Exactly Sp12

    What other statelet would have a National Holiday where one community celebrated their hate for the other .

    And memory challenged career politicians like MMG can’t get their head round why growing numbers in the Nat community refuse to buy in to his lick spittle acceptance of this tripe

  • MYtwocents

    sure is it not great that you get a couple of days of work*, and can take yourself of to another part of this “miserable planet”,
    Try Eire, there you’ll no hear anything about how a people won the right to freedom.
    Three cheers for the Glorious Revolution.

    * Thats if you work.

  • tacapall

    Indeed Redstar what other country would Trustees of a hospital allow a bonfire in hospital grounds blocking the main entrance, it beggars belief that the PSNI and Belfast City council allow this to happen every year. It would also be interesting to know who from the City hospital gives these environmental terrorists the keys to that locked compound every year and who pays for the damage caused to hospital property by this annual display of hatred.

  • Sp12

    “sure is it not great that you get a couple of days of work*, and can take yourself of to another part of this “miserable planet”,
    Try Eire, there you’ll no hear anything about how a people won the right to freedom.”

    Agreed, no longer will we be enslaved by the tyranny of basic grammar.

  • MYtwocents

    sp12, you are aware that, dyslexia in a recognized disability, youll no be gittin a Yule card from me.

  • MYtwocents

    tacapall.
    Keys?, you think kids cant climb, who pays? all us tax payers, like we are paying for lots of things, some we don’t like.
    Chris,
    who would have thought, your well thought out and even handed thread has quickly degenerate into a vehicle for non nat bashing, I guess it is the season.

  • carl marks

    “in my memories the orange had no input into Bonfires, and any attempt by them (or anyone outside the youths in charge) to interfere in the Bonfire would have been,how shall I put this, resisted.”
    You have to admit this has all the typical unionist response to any attempt to improve things.
    Firstly denial that the OO has any influence over the bonfires, does anybody else believe that OO members or their children have no influence over bonfires.
    Second is a cracker the claim that the bonfires are run by violent youths who if not allowed to damage their environment and poison the air, might hurt someone (doesn’t unionism pride itself on being the law and order community) but MTC wants us to surrender the streets to gangs of youths who he admits are thugs who will attack their own community if prevented from burning tyres and offending the other community.
    Apparently this is ok with him, he seems happy enough with it.
    And let’s finish with this,
    “What about polluting young minds?”. And seeing as how you have brought it up.
    In your view Chris, as is the classroom the best place for a raving nationallist (irish or not) ideologue to be employed.
    Attacking the person and avoiding the question is classic unionist , of course Chris gives lessons in how to stage a revolution or starts the assembly in the mornings with a reading of the 1916 proclamation and finishes the day with making the kids shout FTQ three times.
    Actually to be honest Chris is much more dangerous to people like MTC than a bus full of gunmen, he is a good teacher in a school that produces good results and an educated child turns into a educated adult and educated adults get the good jobs and end up running the country, so I can see how MTC is frightened of him.

  • daytona600NI

    Talking about flags I was in Ards on Friday and there riding high on the same lamppost was a UFF flag above the Union Flag. Now last time I looked the UFF were a banned organisation classified as a terrorist group in the Uk and even the USA. I phoned the police and informed them of this. The ARDS police station is a mere 100 yards away. I was told ‘there is nothing we can do about this. It’s now up to the roads service to remove’. He then went on to say. ‘If you had seen the man erecting the flag then you could have rung us and we would have been able to do something about it’.
    Now the question is – At what point does the erecting of that illegal flag become an offence? and of course is it not an offence then to have an illegal flag flying? Is this not the definition of insanity?
    I spoke to the Chief vexillologist of the UK (Graham Bartram) afterwards and he was infuriated about this incident. He then went on to say how he despises the idiots who blatantly abuse the Union flag ie those that drape themselves in it, and leave it to rot.
    On the way though Comber I saw that outside the Catholic Church and local primary school were Orange Order flags. Only 1 other Orange Order flag in the whole of Comber but 5 of them around the Catholic church and school.

  • MYtwocents

    carl, I am not a Unionist. also a lot of mind reading going on there, and over the internet, you must do wonders with the tea leaves.

  • carl marks

    Mtc
    To tell you the truth I don’t use tea leafs that’s so last year, I use a mystic device known as your profile, every single post take the unionist side.
    And I am a great believer that if it talks like a duck and walks like a duck then it’s a duck!
    But I make mistakes, and you could go a long way towards convincing me that you are not a unionist then all you have to do is condemn the burning of pollutants and the symbolism of other people on bonfires, state your support for the people in Ballymena (and elsewhere) trying to bring this madness under control and urge unionist politicians to support the police in dealing with these people who by your own admission will resort to violence if challenged over their lawbreaking.

  • Sp12

    “Exactly Sp12

    What other statelet would have a National Holiday where one community celebrated their hate for the other .”

    Holidays no? It’s two days. Gotta have an extra day off to deal with the hangover.
    That’ll be that Protestant work ethic.

  • MYtwocents

    Penny for the James, will that do?.

  • Charles_Gould

    I think the environmental issue is a very important one – I think this piece downplays the importance of that.

  • carl marks

    MYtwocents (profile)

    29 June 2014 at 11:03 pm

    “Penny for the James, will that do?.”

    I think that proves my point more eloquently than I ever could!

  • carl marks

    Charles,

    Yes the environment is very important, seemingly to everyone but those who support bonfires!
    I get the feeling that many Unionists regard “the Environment” as a bit Taigy or at the least another excuse to chip away at “our culture” a few weeks ago on the Nolan show to Scientists in relevant fields warned of the serious health risks and environmental damage related to the burning of tyres, they were either ignored or dismissed by the unionists present.
    Bonfires will have to be dealt with by the unionist community and that will only happen if there is a will inside unionism we don’t see any of the unionist parties showing signs of wanting to deal with the issue.
    This sentence from the post is (as has been proved by Mtc) to only to true,
    “But it smacks of ignoring the supremacist elephant in the room when it comes to loyalist cultural expression as associated with the 11th Night bonfire tradition and the Marching Season in general,”
    This I suspect will become another one of those all too regular issues where Unionists ignore the problem until change is forced on them, then I suppose we will see the Bony builders becoming the new Fleggers!

  • Reader

    carl marks: …then I suppose we will see the Bony builders becoming the new Fleggers!
    Then after that, you’ll have to decide who’s next…

  • carl marks

    carl marks: …then I suppose we will see the Bony builders becoming the new Fleggers!
    Then after that, you’ll have to decide who’s next…
    Not quite sure what you mean, sounds like a bit of the oul” chipping away at our culture” thing that most mopes involve.
    Of course you realise that this yearly pollution fest can’t continue, that people are getting fed up with the ugly piles of material, bonfires outside their houses, the pollution, the money wasted every year repairing the damage to roads etc. not to mention the burning of other people’s symbols.
    People are getting fed up (and I don’t just mean nationalists) with the whole thing and that is nobody’s fault but the assholes who build the bonfires and the DUP/UUP/TUV who let themselves be controlled by the lowest common denominator, so don’t try to blame me because when the whole bonfire culture is stomped on it will be nobody’s fault but those who closed their eyes to the problem.

  • Reader

    carl marks: Not quite sure what you mean, sounds like a bit of the oul” chipping away at our culture” thing that most mopes involve.
    You didn’t think that mope came out of the blue, did you?
    I have little use for flags, and even less for bonfires. I’m appalled at the use of tyres on bonfires, as it is an atrocious pollutant both near and far, short and long term. I’m at least as concerned at flag burning at my lack of interest in flags would warrant. (However, many of them are made in loyalist households specially for burning, as a local fabric retailer confided). But look at Chris’s original article – basically it is serving notice that there is no end to the sequence of demands. At the mere prospect of dealing with one issue (pollution), he is putting a marker down for the next one (flags and emblems).
    How about considering that this may be a strategic error?

  • JR

    This is one particular issue where there is a strikeing difference between Unionist and Nationalist communities. A number of years back there was a major problem with tyres being burnt at Halloween in the South Armagh area. There wes also the associated problem with people dumping old furniture and rubbish at bonfire sites and antisocila behavior at bonfires. Over the last number of years there has been a major effort made to stop the burning of tyres and also to transform Haloween from a night of antisocial behavior to one with a family atmosphere. This has been extremely sucessful. I am not aware of a bonfire with tyres in our part of south armagh any more.

    In the Unionist community, with a few notable exceptions the obvious problems are met with denial and claims of victimisation.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Reader

    “he is putting a marker down for the next one (flags and emblems).
    How about considering that this may be a strategic error?”

    It is already an issue. The shops in Omagh are going nuts over flags on the A5. Republican shops such as M&S are worried that it was stop passing trade going into the town and only stopping at ASDA in Strabane.

  • carl marks

    – basically it is serving notice that there is no end to the sequence of demands. At the mere prospect of dealing with one issue (pollution), he is putting a marker down for the next one (flags and emblems).
    How about considering that this may be a strategic error?

    Allow me to translate that from Loyalspeak,
    If they stop us burning tyres then next thing is we won’t be allowed to burn there emblems and before you know it we won’t be allowed to fly KKK or BNP flags and then they will want us to show respect to Taigs and those coloured folk. Now if that happens then it’s all over for our culture.
    Isn’t that what you’re saying, do you believe that burning other peoples flags and emblems is ok or using your own flegs and emblems as sectarian and racist markers is ok.
    Reader I don’t think you have caught on yet, the times are changing and if Unionists are going to have to realise that the yearly Bigotfest will have to change As well because it’s not only nationalists who are pissed off with off with the whole thing a lot of people in the unionist community (Lundy’s no doubt) are pissed off as well with the bully boys.
    So the deal (amazed that I have to point out such a obvious fact) is that unionists can either change voluntarily (this is called politics) and negotiate a deal that will suit it a lot better than the one that will be forced on it if goes down the the head in the sand/no surrender route.

  • Reader

    carl marks: Isn’t that what you’re saying, do you believe that burning other peoples flags and emblems is ok or using your own flegs and emblems as sectarian and racist markers is ok.
    No, it’s not what I’m saying. It’s hard to see how you got to that conclusion by reading what I actually wrote.
    My point is that the likes of Chris’s article is making people who care about flags into allies of people who want to burn tyres. I think the current term is “intersectionality”. It would make more strategic sense to deal with the issues separately. There can’t be all that many people who *really* like clouds of black smoke and respiratory ailments.
    I note you have a touch of fleggery yourself, since you seem to regard nationalist and republican symbols as positive and to be protected; and to regard unionist and loyalist symbols as “sectarian and racist”. How about a bit of ‘neutrality or equality’ (as the mantra runs)?

  • carl marks

    If you think tackling the misuse of flag and emblems is a step to far, then you are in favour of the misuse of flags and emblems,
    As for forcing a alliance between those building tyre filled bonfires and those who care about (misuse) flegs and emblems then I have some news for you, there already is a alliance between the two, as a matter of fact I would bet the house that those building bonfires are the same people who stick flags on lampposts but you already know that, I am interested in why you think it is nessacary to pretend there are two separate groups ,fleggers and burners.
    Now this,
    “I note you have a touch of fleggery yourself, since you seem to regard nationalist and republican symbols as positive and to be protected; and to regard unionist and loyalist symbols as “sectarian and racist”. How about a bit of ‘neutrality or equality’ (as the mantra runs)?”
    Please tell me where you got this idea from, show me the posts were I have called for nationalist and republican symbols to be “protected” really reader first mopery then (very inaccurate) whataboutry, classic unionist tactics first whinge about how they are all out to get you then a bit of an unfounded personal attack on the person debating with you.

  • carl marks

    Nearly forget this
    “And to regard unionist and loyalist symbols as “sectarian and racist”.”
    So the UFF/UDA/UVF/KKK/BNP flags are not sectarian and racist and all those union flags turning to rags on lampposts are not sectarian territory markers?
    I’m sorry Reader if that is the line your pushing then my friend you are most certainly part of the problem.

  • Reader

    carl marks: If you think tackling the misuse of flag and emblems is a step to far, then you are in favour of the misuse of flags and emblems
    I think it’s poor strategy to combine it with other issues.
    carl marks: I am interested in why you think it is nessacary to pretend there are two separate groups ,fleggers and burners.
    And all members of the unionist borg are complicit…
    It ought to be *easy* to end tyre burning on bonfires. No-one imagines it’s culture. It’s just a bad practice.
    carl marks: Please tell me where you got this idea from, show me the posts were I have called for nationalist and republican symbols to be “protected”
    I was under the impression you thought they shouldn’t be burned. Correct me if I was wrong.

  • MYtwocents

    regards loyalist symbols, the kkk flag is not a loyalist symbol.

  • between the bridges

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/debateni/blogs/eleventh-night-bonfires-how-centuriesold-tradition-is-very-slowly-evolving-30399598.html

    As a lad i would have collected for both the 11th and Halloween, there was no adult involvement in either, other than those trying to dump something!

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I’m getting tired of reading these references relating to Loyalism and the KKK – there is no link except a rogue flag in East Belfast.

    BTB,

    There are a number of bonfires that are unsightly. I spotted two on the Shore road which are just awash with waste and one of these had at least 200 tyres ready to be built onto them. We need to act in a more environmentally friendly and socially responsible way ensuring the areas in question do not become degenerate.

  • carl marks

    Reader

    carl marks: Please tell me where you got this idea from, show me the posts were I have called for nationalist and republican symbols to be “protected”
    I was under the impression you thought they shouldn’t be burned. Correct me if I was wrong.
    No you’re not wrong, but then again I don’t think any flag should be burned; it’s interesting that you think that special protection for a Irish flag is not seeing it being burned true loyalspeak.
    For the record as an Irish man I respect the tricolour (believe it or not I have sympathy with the view that changing the Irish national flag to something with less history is worth considering) and seeing it used as a territorial marker or method of intimidation makes me angry.
    As pointed out to you before Flags and emblems are already a issue.
    The Unionist borg bit, really Reader as you seriously trying to claim that the same people building boneys are not the same people sticking up flags! Go onto the loyalist websites and it’s all about flags, bonfires and Twaddell .
    Please Reader this “we all look the same to you” argument you put forward every time someone points out links inside unionism is a load of crap, you don’t all look the same to us, that’s how we know it’s the same people doing different things!

  • carl marks

    MYtwocents (profile)

    2 July 2014 at 4:28 pm

    regards loyalist symbols, the kkk flag is not a loyalist symbol.

    Then way did loyalists go to all the trouble to get one and stick it on a lamppost?

  • MYtwocents

    Carl
    You call them loyalist, based on what?. where you there, do you know the person, have they explained there actions and thinking to you?.
    If not then your basing your slanted comment on your slanted mindset.

  • carl marks

    Ah unionism where denial is not just a river in Africa.
    A flag put up on a lamppost on a road with varied loyalist flags along the road was of course put up by alliance/shinner types to embarrass the good loyalist people,
    Wise up, it was loyalists, there are serious racist undertones inside loyalism/unionism and denying it makes you look silly, and the KKK and BNP fit well with loyalists as they don’t like difference and have little or no respect for those who are different.
    Indeed the posts on this thread shows how far apologist’s for loyalism’s illegal and distasteful activities will go to excuse, minimalize or blame someone in attempts to explain them.
    Good night boys.

  • MYtwocents

    Carl
    So your basing your assertion on where the flag was,brilliant. so you will have no problem in me or anyone else, asserting that any mural, any piece of graffiti or any flag, placed in any area we deem to be irish nat, is reflective of the whole irish nat community.
    wise up Carl, you and some of the other irish nats on this site, sound more like intolerant bigots, than the racists do.

  • carl marks

    Mtc
    Really try thinking this out, sticking flags on lampposts is wrong ,burning pollutants is wrong, flags representing racist or paramilitary groups are wrong, building bonfires were the people who live there don’t want them is wrong, burning other peoples symbols is wrong.
    Now try whataboutry, denial, or excusing it all you want, get righteous or indignant all you want it won’t make these right.
    People are fed up with the whole thing (both Nationalists and many unionists) and it going to stop, now loyalism can either face up to that coming change and help form its shape, or pretend it a great big plot by themmuns until the rest of us make you change and back to my first point about the Boney builders becoming the new fleggers (same people different mope).
    I for example have no problem completely condemning the mural of masked gunman being painted in west Belfast if a thread is opened on slugger then you will see that many Nationalists have no problem condemning it without any whataboutry, which is the difference between nationalists and unionists we do not close ranks round the assholes.
    Now come on admit it even you know it wasn’t anybody but a loyalist who put up the KKK flag and the UDA/UFF/UDA/BNP flags were put up by loyalists as well as are the tyres on the bonfires.

  • Reader

    carl marks: The Unionist borg bit, really Reader as you seriously trying to claim that the same people building boneys are not the same people sticking up flags! Go onto the loyalist websites and it’s all about flags, bonfires and Twaddell.
    Read up the thread – indeed the first three paragraphs of Chris’s blog and the Ballymena Times article are all about people who deplore the tyre burning but don’t seem to have a problem with the bonfires themselves. It would be worthwhile to support these people rather than to undermine them.
    Unless the tyre burning isn’t a serious concern to you after all.

  • Reader

    carl marks: No you’re not wrong, but then again I don’t think any flag should be burned; it’s interesting that you think that special protection for a Irish flag is not seeing it being burned true loyalspeak.
    Do you think there should be a law about burning (some) flags? There was talk of such a thing in the USA during the Bush era, if I recall correctly.

  • carl marks

    It might be an idea to make the disrespecting of others people’s symbols against the law, but I can see freedom of speech issues there.
    Would it not be better if a code of practice was introduced that was enforced by shareholders.
    Nationalists have no love for the 11th night boneys but could live with them if they didn’t have our symbols on them or offensive banners, cutting out the tyres and other pollutants would suit everybody and flags of loyalist terror groups and other unsavoury organisations should go.
    Now read that list and in all honesty tell me that anything on it isn’t a reasonable request.
    I would make the same demands for any republican or nationalist event.
    I not to fond of the whole 11/12th thing but believe that unionists have the right to celebrate their culture, it is in the manner that it is celebrated that angers me (and many others) and all I’m asking for is manners, show respect for others. Sort the thing out together or wait till every gets pissed off with the bad manners and decide solve the issue without you.
    Is that wrong!

  • carl marks