TV campaign against bigotry…

THE One Small Step campaign steps up a gear with the launch of an advertising campaign aimed at breaking down racist and sectarian attitudes in Northern Ireland. Featuring the voice of Belfast-born actor Kenneth Branagh, the TV campaign will run throughout February.

One Small Step chairman Trevor Ringland said: “The One Small Step campaign believes that Northern Ireland’s future must be a shared one and that the only way to achieve this is if we all try to overcome the many barriers, large and small, that divide us.

“This ad is about saying to people that they have their own individual part to play in securing a better, shared future and must consciously start taking small steps to break down the barriers of misunderstanding, hatred and distrust that hold Northern Ireland back.

“The ad shows ordinary, every day people from Northern Ireland confronted by a barrier of words including sectarian and racist taunts and words such as fear, division and violence. The people are depicted stepping through the barrier and emerging to realise the significance and benefit of what they have done.

“The One Small Step Campaign believes that only the collective will of the people can secure lasting peace and a truly stable society and we hope that in the coming months and beyond, individuals and organisations will consciously do what they can do to take Northern Ireland a step forward.

“We hope that people will decide what small steps are appropriate for them and take action. For example, someone who has rarely interacted with members of “the other community” could do something as small as reading a little bit about another tradition or reading a newspaper from “the other side”. This would be a significant step relevant to them individually.

“Someone else may decide that they are in a position to go a bit further and could perhaps go to a religious service of another tradition to broaden their knowledge, or engage in some kind of community relations work. Everyone can and should do something which will make a difference in the context of a collective effort.

“We have overcome many barriers in Northern Ireland but there are still many in front of us and we need to work together to ensure that we deal with them effectively.”

  • IJP

    Congratulations to OSS.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Fair play OSS, it can do no harm.

    Would you agree IJP that one of the biggest problems we have here is that hardly anyone actually recognises their own bigotry? I mean, how many people do you know who would actually admit to being a bigot?

    (I suppose it’s a bit like alcoholism – admitting it is half the battle.)

    That’s why I hate all this “both sides” bullshit. “Both sides” effectively implies that mutual loathing cancels itself out, and that while it is an unedifying phenomenon, there is no urgency in doing anything about it.

    Which leads people to argue that, while they “have nothing against” X or Y, they support Harryville or Holy Cross or Carnmoney Cemetery.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    (I’m aware that all the examples I have given are from “one side”. I’m not trying to make a point here but I honestly cannot think of a corresponding incident where: Catholics picketed Protestants at church; threw blast bombs and bags of urine at 5-year-old Protestant schoolgirls; or threatened to shoot dead a Minister for leading a Protestant congregation as they prayed for over their families’ graves. Sorry, I have inadvertantly made a point.)

  • IJP

    Would you agree IJP that one of the biggest problems we have here is that hardly anyone actually recognises their own bigotry? I mean, how many people do you know who would actually admit to being a bigot?

    Actually I do know a few (it’s not unusual for certain sections of the Protestant population to admit it, I find), but nevertheless I take your point entirely.

    It’s always ‘themmuns’, and by ‘themmuns’ I don’t necessarily mean the ‘other side’, but perhaps different groups on our own ‘side’. I know many North Down Prods who think only ‘Loyalists’ are responsible for anti-Catholic bigotry, for example.

    The real risk, even with OSS, is to move away from reality. There is such a thing as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, not just ‘politically correct’ and ‘politically incorrect’. Hence my support for your point about ‘both sides’ BS!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    IJP.

    Yep. The overwelming majority of the population here languishes in a mental prison. But as anyone who ever tried flogging copies of the Socialist Worker outside Tesco on a Saturday morning knows, people don’t like being told they are prisoners.

  • slug9987

    “one of the biggest problems we have here is that hardly anyone actually recognises their own bigotry”

    The Harryville example, although cited here as a case of bigotry, was also an example of counter-bigotry, where people of one side, including the town’s mayor, stood up for those from the other side in their own town.

  • cg

    Fair play to OSS

    I have had some contact with some of the nuns that are involved…weird?

  • David Vance

    Sorry but based on this press release, it’s infantile rubbish. Why not all hold hands and sing “Imagine”? Yeuch. One small brain, more like.

  • Davros

    Be thankful for small mercies David – while it’s bad enough to have Branagh, it could have been that smug caricature of the professional ulsterman , James N.

  • David Vance

    Oh I dunno – Branagh is not even remotely amusing – James N. can raise the odd chuckle. Maybe Brian Kennedy could have been recruited to warble some simple-minded rubbish to go with the inane message of One Small Brain?

  • Davros

    James N brings out the worst in me. And I’m not a Brian K fan. Whining nasal voice and clichéd material. Yuk.