The core problem?

Is sectarianism our core problem or is it a culture of violence?

I was asked this yesterday and have been thinking about it ever since. As you think about it look at a sample of recent news. In Ballymena, scene of a vicious sectarian murder, thugs fired at an ambulance in the Dunclug estate as it came to the aid of those in a house under attack. In Londonderry, three teenage girls have been ordered out of the country. In Newtownabbey, an african family considering leaving after a series of racist attacks. These attacks have persisted despite support from the local community and church to the family and the parent of one perpetrator taking their own child to the Police. The latest edition of the Shankill Mirror features a sectarian slashing on the Ardoyne Road (the prominent CCTV didn’t act as a deterrent to the attackers) and attacks on taxi firms from Protestant areas at Bawnmore. Yesterday a knife amnesty was begun.

Violent crime is growing throughout the UK and BBC magazine asks are we becoming a more confrontational society?

  • sluggette

    FD
    I was talking to some policemen earlier this year on the street, and we were chatting about this.

    I wa struck by something one of them said. Years ago, if there was a pub brawl, there was a bit of kicking and fighting, and bloody nose or rarely a broken arm

    Nowadays, they are so much more used to someone being placed on the ground and kicked senseless. I know we have seen that come to a tragic end recently, but it happens much more frequently and without the fatal result.

    I think there is a broad consensus that we are as a society becoming more vicious and violent, and using more extreme means to engage in battle.

    Of course, mix that with our schizophrenic society and it is increasingly bad news.

  • taigs

    Sectarianism and violence are intermixed; I would have imagined that to be a no brainer. Throwing pennies from “Londonderry’s” walls down on the Bogsiders below and burning out Taigs/Philippinos/Belfast Loyalist death squads hunting down a Peruvian businessman are all part of the same continuum of supremacist hatred. This can be seen in Australai where hatred again Catholics is transferred to the most recent arrivals. A no brainer.

  • red kangaroo

    Taigs “This can be seen in Australai where hatred again Catholics is transferred to the most recent arrivals.”

    Taigs what are you talking about?

  • eranu

    well taigs, atleast you havent got a totally one sided view of NI…….. its ‘unionist death squads’ by the way 🙂

    theres no restraint in violence in society these days partly because there are no rules in society any more. its seen as wrong to tell people how to behave. when a fight happens its not the marquess of queensberry rules, people behave like animals.
    part of the problem is children arent brought up properly and taught right from wrong etc. they then have their own kids which become worse than them. going on over generations the values of 100 years ago, such as decency, respect, manners, good behaviour and generally obeying the law have all disappeared. eg look at the problem families in those documentaries, shouting and swearing at eachother..
    thats only one reason for the animal like behaviour we see. it also doesnt help to see documentaries with cctv footage of fights. i think this can sometimes feed the problem. giving the impression theres trouble everywhere and showing people how to do it..
    theres also the pressure and stress of modern society. sometimes people can snap and theres a burst of rage that results in someone getting their head kicked in.

    as far as law and order goes. id like to see people locked up for very long sentences. forget about rehabilitation or punishment to try and change offenders to become law abiding citizens. just take them out of society for 10 or 20 years and give the rest of us some peace.

  • Occasional Commentator

    I used to always think that sectarianism was defined to only mean it related to religious differences. But the definitions I found recently usually are broader than that. It can apply to any disagreement over politics. Some definitions even include disagreements over interpretation of scientific results.

    This seems to mean that ‘sectarian’ sort of loses it pejorative sense – i.e. calling somebody sectarian doesn’t really mean anything particular bad. It just means ‘you belong of a group that hold a particular view’. Fighting to spread democracy for it’s own sake is also sectarian – meaning that the invasion of Iraq could be described as ‘sectarian violence’.

    I wonder if this broad definition is a result of the way that some people/groups/states apply the term ‘sectarian’ to anything they dislike. Much the same as the word ‘terrorist’, I suppose.

    Anyway, would I be right in thinking that in NI the term is always used to mean discrimination/killing/whatever a person for no reason other than their religion? If not, it just makes following NI arguments on blogs even more difficult.

  • Anonymous

    Our species is a predatory species and what primarily brings out this predation is diversity and poverty, (economic vulnerability is a great generator of racial aggression.)

    If you want to maintain a society that has the maximum potential for being harmonious, stable and undivided — work to maintain mono-ethnic societies, places where people have intermarried over the centuries, where they share a common heritage, a common set of heroes and heroines.

    If you want to create a society that is the recipe for instability, discord and division — build multi-racial/multi-ethnic/multi-religious societies.

    So, why so much group conflict in a prosperous, mono-racial, mono-religious Norhern Ireland?: centuries of abuse and atrocities against the Gaelic-Celtic people by the British.

    Ingrained racial memories of long term abuse by another race creates a near permanent source of discord, even in a society that should otherwise have a high potential for being harmonious and stable.

    A future Ireland that is a patchwork of different races, ethnic groups and religions is a nightmare waiting to happen.

  • hurdy gurdy man

    Eranu,

    ‘theres no restraint in violence in society these days…going on over generations the values of 100 years ago, such as decency, respect, manners, good behaviour and generally obeying the law have all disappeared.’

    Actually, by today’s standards, Victorian society was horrendously lawless, violent, and brutal.

  • taigs

    Melbourne, Australia: In the 50s, the question was Are you a Mason or a Taig and who do you barrack for? Good natured hatred. Check out the Orange Order’s HQ opposite the Victoria Market, the 1890s’ Orange riots in Sydney Road, the reason Australia entered the Second World War (England is at war and, as a consequence, so too is Australia). The Protestant overlords of Australia feared the arrival of Taigs and there were rivalries. These rivalries have got passeed on to later arrivals. Check out the 1950s retro furtnite; turn them upside down and they read “Made by white labour only”.

    Eranu’s little dig at me aside, it is funny/sad/ironic to see him/her/it harking back to the good old days (of Croppy lie down). Untold savageries have been commiited in Ireland/Ulster/NI/the sox counties.

    Anonymous makes some good but dangerous points. Inclusivemeness is needed but supreacism is not. Some beliefs – and Orange sashes – have to go into the garbage can of history.
    Anyway, it appears to me all this will be soon be moot. Changing demographics and house prices will demographically emasculate the Emerald Isle and give Misfitz the boring little bit of British suburbia she craves. Of course, drugs and related crime will be rampant but that is progress.