Unlocking the Past

As mentioned previously here, Sunday Sequence is a show well worth the listen. It’s also worth following William Crawley’s blog for a little more insight into some of the discussions. The discussion on today’s show on the value, importance and recording of history was stimulating and absorbing. At times, the discussions here on Slugger might lead an outsider to believe we are far form any kind of resolution of our difficulties, and there are times that description seems accurate. On the other hand, that belies the mountains of work being done to create bridges, foster understanding and create a community of common understanding and mutual respect.

The key to our past and our future is our history. We may not always like what we see when we look back, but to go forward we need to learn from those experiences. I noted with great interest one of the banners held by the Concerned Women of East Belfast at last night’s Somme Parade. It said ‘These aren’t sectarian flags, learn our history’. There is obviously a message there for all of us.

  • terry tadpole

    These aren’t sectarian flags, learn our history. Probably really means learn OUR history.

    When GCSE study materials which dared to mention the gerrymandering in Derry in the 60s were introduced to one local state grammar in Enniskillen there was uproar from the parents and the book was pulled.

    I have become very depressed about the state of play here recently.

    I have come to the point of believing that there WONT be any settlement and that friends who have recently emigrated have done the right thing.

    I am living in a 76% Nationalist town which is as I type bedecked from top to bottom with Union Jacks, Government of Northern Ireland flags, flags emblazoned – Ulster Scots. And a large banner remembering the fallen of the 36th at the Somme – with “For God And Ulster” featuring prominently. No mention of anyone else – and the For God And Ulster bit is NOT lost on the people having to walk underneath it.

    I have one question to the Unionists on here – why?. Why the need for all of this. Why the need for a flag on every lamp post. Why not a banner reading ” remembering the brave fallen of the Somme – of all backgrounds”. Are you guys so culturally confused or unsure that you need all this? I remember seeing once Ulster Independence flags flying beside Union Jacks, I mean for gods sake.

    Why must you shove your culture down the throats of others who either dont want it or dont understand it. Have you any idea what good feeling would be generated if towns like mine were not treated like this year in year out, and if local Orange lodges tried to broaden what the 12th is.

    Of course it seems like this wont happen because the actual point of all of this marching and flag waving is just to let the Fenians know who is boss and that even as a minority the good old boys will do as they please.

    It seems the local organisers either have no clue or no regard for how the majority of people in the area feel.

    And then they wonder why nationalists have a problem.

    When is this yearly stupidity going to end. We need some time out.

    No one wants to take your rights away. No one wants to take away or downplay your history or heritage, but how about a little respect for your fellow citizens?.

    Is it really too much to ask?.

    History, we dont bloody need any more history.

    How about teaching protestant kids that within a generation of the glorious revolution most of their ancestors couldnt even marry legally. And their catholic neighbours had virtually no rights at all.

    When we get around to actually teaching some truth to the coming generations maybe we wont have this pretend history wank party that we have to endure TO OUR MUTUAL LOSS every year.

    I give up.

  • victor

    the suggestion that the somme celebrations are not sectarian is insulting in its diliberate ignorance.

    a british army that died for king and country for a reason that (the few who remember will realise) is a horrific crime.

    The idea that because catholics where cut down in thier thousands makes it less sectarian is nothing short of ridiculous.

  • Miss Fitz
    In the discussion post Geese, ganders and Orange fest the discussion about The Department of Social Development has just announced a major funding inititiave for Orange Fest you had written…

    “an event that has little chance of becoming a shared identity occasion”

    “I support any initiative that promotes Belfast and makes an attempt at cleaning up the act on and around the 12th of July.”

    it’s good to see you’re getting there. I’m waiting to see you waving a flag up the Lisburn Road on the 12th 😉

    and… I’m still waiting for an answer to the question I posted then.

  • missfitz

    Dont have time to go back and look at the question you posed, but make no mistake I am sincere in what I say. I have been to hundreds of Orange parades, and I think that this is what gives me the insight and understanding of them that I might be developing.

    I was just saying to a colleague today, that my academic interest and research into the OO and parading causes confusion among people who think that if you’re from ‘one side’ you can only have a narrow set of interests, opinions or views. I’d like to think that we can break through this some day. I support the ‘One Small Step’ campaign, and would always encourage all of us to take a wee step in the other direction.

    One of the points I made on Sunday Sequence was that my Southern education never gave me a full understanding of issues beyond and outside the nationalist agenda being taught at that time. Returning to learn history as a mature student has been the most absorbing experience and enlightenment of my life

  • Miss Fitz, Thanks for the reply. I was begining to think you worked in a call centre and you were putting me on hold. I’d like to see the media (including bloggers) supporting a ‘One Small Step’ campaign, even here on Slugger.The topics on the right hand side of the page here start with Conflict, the posts with the most comments are normally one side against another.Personally I find that on here because of the style and content of the posts I’d either find the posts/discussions very funny or some would get me started to get worked up – a bit.

    Sometimes I post on my blog without really thinking what way it could influence readers. Maybe I’ll take my ‘One Small Step’ by thinking how it could influence readers.I look forward to seeing if any small steps are taken here on Slugger.