12th July: A cautionary tale of the social media rumour mill

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Chris wrote a brilliant piece earlier in the week about Britishness and the many bonfires around the province that had posters of Anna Lo and Sinn Fein representatives on them ready to be burned. This form of deplorable sectarianism is not just corrosive to those who legitimately want to celebrate the 12th July but all of us who want to live in an open and diverse society.

However, not all of the muppetry that went on over this weekend did come courtesy of members of the Unionist community. Late on Friday night a rumours abounded social media that pictures of children were being burned on bonfires in Antrim, which quite quickly turned out not to be true. I was quickly reminded of the hilarious incident last St Patricks Day of certain Loyalists trolling pictures of British flags being burned claiming that it was taking place in Royal Ave, when in reality it happened in Iran and it was about five years ago.

Many people got burned on Friday night by promoting and declaring with such clarity that something had taken place which they had no proof of what so ever. It was truly a lesson for all of us, not to believe everything we read on Twitter, unless you have either a credible source or an image to back it up. What was most disturbing about the entire episode was that somebody actually thought it was a good idea to start a rumour that they had to know would eventually get back to a grieving family.

In other news, some others thought it would be a great idea to erect an Irish Tricolour with the words Tiocfaidh ár lá on an Orange Hall in Ballycastle. Once again this highlights the need to tackle demons of sectarianism that exist on my side of politics. It was truly heartening to see condemnation of this attack on Unionism from Martin McGuiness

I unreservedly condemn those responsible for the overnight attack on the Orange Hall at Coleraine Rd, Ballycastle.#SayNoToHate

 Overall, we had a peaceful weekend and that is a credit to all sides of our society who made that effort to ease tensions and celebrate an important moment in our collective history.  I hope that we learned the lessons of the ineffectiveness of violence last year and that this year some people can learn how to use social media responsibly and celebrate their culture without trampling over the rights of others as has been highlighted in Chris and this post.

Maybe next year we can find a way to fill the bars and streets of our city centres with people, walking around Belfast City Centre last night was depressing as I found no buses in service and very few people enjoying a Saturday night on a long weekend.

Anyway here’s to lessons hopefully learned and new beginnings for the years to come.

 

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  • AMS2013

    “In other news, some others thought it would be a great idea to erect an Irish Tricolour with the wordsTiocfaidh ár lá on an Orange Hall in Ballycastle/…”

    In other…other news. I read the police are investigating that attack on the Orange hall as a “hate Crime”

    One wonders whether the boys in blue will get off their backsides as fast to investigate the burning of Tricolours as Hate Crimes Also??????
    Won’t be holding my breath there.
    Also I read the peeelers arrested /charged an individual for saying “tiocfaidh ar la”
    I haven’t attended the Orange Fest Yesterday..(I was looking for a Diamond Dan Orangeman poster that I could send to the laddies to put on their bonfires(
    But I assume there was a lot of “no Surrender” Up the UDa type chants.

    Now I know the PSNI won’t bother hauling those “gentlemen” up before the courts..
    But People do have Mobile phones..If they can identify these people I strongly advise people to bring private prosections against such Offences. And Funding should be given for test cases.

    Double standards all round.
    David McCann..All you have achieved is to further highlight the disparity of treatment that exists in 17 % Ireland.
    Peelers open a file on Orange halls…Not so fussed about Other hate crimes.
    No matter how you look at it..It’s time the walls of Jericho came down on 17 % Ireland

  • I’m Trending on Twitter

    ‘Maybe next year we can find a way to fill the bars and streets of our city centres with people, walking around Belfast City Centre last night was depressing as I found no buses in service and very few people enjoying a Saturday night on a long weekend.’

    Have you ever been to town say on a Sunday night, Belfast doesn’t have a thriving night life generally. I think it’s as much economic as cultural (a divided town coming out of conflict with no history of – and therefore belief in – Belfast as a late night party hot spot). In the current economic climate people don’t have that much cash to throw around in overpriced bars. I think they might have enough for one big night out in the week and last night prob wasn’t the night they were going to plump for, perhaps tonight with a lot of people being off Monday?

  • Sergiogiorgio

    ITOT – you need to get out more mate. Belfast is buzzing on the weekends. The cathedral quarter is a great location for bars and restaurants, although I agree the prices are extortionate, most especially the drink. Our mainland friends love coming across to Belfast. Shame the place is held to ransom each year around this weekend. Everyone avoids the place like the plague. Orangefest my arse!

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m very glad the 12th went well (and it’s great to see nationalist and unionist politicians both coming straight out to condemn, or stand against, attacks on halls, violence or threats of violence etc). I hope all future 12th parades go the same way.

    I doubt you’ll ever see me in the town on the 12th. I find the bands in particular, and some of those attending to spectate, ominous and threatening. The pictures I saw of Bradbury Place yesterday strewn with rubbish, and particularly, empty drink tins and bottles reaffirmed my view. I’m not interested in spending the time in the middle of a crowd of obnoxious drunks on any occasion, and especially not when the occasion is charged with political and religious tension. While I am more than happy for the Orangemen and their supporters to enjoy their day out (and I would defend their right to do so) I want nothing to do with it.

    Apparently holding this view marks me out as an anti-Protestant bigot, so I’m going to have to write a blog or something to explain myself.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sunday night is quiet because most people are going to work the next day.

    Friday and Saturday nights in the Cathedral quarter are heaving, especially at the end of the month.

    Hard as it may be to believe, the price of a pint is roughly equivalent to what it was years ago, allowing for inflation.

  • turquoise_unionist

    Not to mention the Catholic church that was vandalised a couple days ago which was quickly condemned as sectarian. Soon turned out it wasn’t a sectarian attack.

    Comrade Stalin: “Hard as it may be to believe, the price of a pint is roughly equivalent to what it was years ago, allowing for inflation.”

    Pity wages aren’t equivalent to what they used to be though!

  • Michael Henry

    Good to see Martin McGuinness showing leadership yet again and hopefully his Statement cooled a few hot -heads-

    I remember last year English tourists -( in Spain Thailand etc )- being embarrassed at watching the twelfth riots and the union jacks shown on all TV stations around the world being abused at Loyalist riots-this year all is at peace and all can enjoy their holidays without cringing watching the news abroad-

  • Comrade Stalin

    A chap on twitter called “Belfast Barmanager” did the calculation that the price of a pint is roughly in line with the increases over the years in the minimum wage.

  • turquoise_unionist

    Is this based on the £4.20 a pint most bars in Hill st. are charging now? I guess we’re probably just used to the price of supermarket beer being so low now in comparison.

  • Tugger

    Don’t go to Bradbury Place then. Go to Balmoral Avenue, anywhere on up the Lisburn Road or Malone Road where the crowd consists of families with young children and little old ladies in deckchairs eating ham sandwiches. Or try Bedford Street – the BBC seem comfortable enough to spend most of the day reporting from there.

  • Tugger

    “…the many bonfires around the province that had posters of Anna Lo and Sinn Fein representatives on them ready to be burned. This form of deplorable sectarianism…”

    Burning posters of controversial, divisive politicians and unrepentant catholic fundamentalist terrorists is not ‘sectarian’. It is a legitimate form of POLITICAL protest. Please understand what the term ‘sectarian’ means (in a Northern Ireland context) before using it in future.

  • Michael Henry

    Tugger-Burning your election opponents posters at a public event should be seen as a hate crime- if it is Sinn Fein / SDLP posters it should also be seen as sectarian- if it is Anna Lo posters then it should be seen as Racist-

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “It was truly heartening to see condemnation of this attack on Unionism from Martin McGuiness”

    David, nauseating hypocrisy comes to mind. Others are merely following the example set by Martin and his associates in the Provisional Republican Movement. His colleagues can still lose the run of themselves.

  • Mister_Joe

    What is the difference between quick censorship and cautionary removal of a blog?

  • Mister_Joe

    Scratch that.

  • Tugger

    And if the SF/SDLP posters are of a protestant candidate? (unlikely, I know) Or Anna Lo’s posters are burnt by an ethnic Chinese Loyalist??

  • mac tire

    Tugger – enough of your sectarian nonsense. Be gone!
    This absolute garbage of, your definition, “Catholic fundamentalism” and Protestant families is not going to work.
    We’ll call racism and sectarianism where it is merited. You, sir, are both.

    Just by way of how you identify who is who – who and what is Catholic and what is Protestant in your view? Do any of these false labels go to church, for example? Do you? Explain, if you are able to. Lets get into a debate about religion first and then move onto politics, if you can. I doubt it, though.

    Be aware, Tugger. Your descent into religious nonsense on here will get detailed replies. You have been warned – I hope your Hebrew and Greek are up to it.

  • babyface finlayson

    Are these events not meant to be family friendly activites, everyone welcome?
    So how would Anna Lo feel attending a bonfire to watch her own image being burned?
    Political protest should not extend to sinister shows of hatred towards individuals.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Who would waste time composing detailed replies to a recalcitrant and completely irreformable sectarian lunatic ?

  • Celtlaw

    “An important moment in our collective history” – the day that the army supported by the Pope defeated James’ forces at the Battle of the Boyne – a victory celebrated in Rome by a Te Deum. Lest we forget.