Talkback featured its annual July 11th discussion on bonfires, including this one in Ballycraigy, Antrim. To the left of the bonfire is a bouncy castle, as well as face painters, much to the delight of the many children gathered at the site. The message here, however, is clear. The prominent siting of the ‘Kill All Taigs’ tricolour is a frightening reminder of what this day is all about for many nationalists: a ritual baptism of a tribal hatred of catholics. That may seem- or indeed be- unfair to many raised in the unionist tradition, but nevertheless it remains the over-riding perception of nationalists to the Orange celebrations that are now upon us.
For my benefit, I would invite personal experiences and perceptions- particularly from unionists- of the 11th Night and the Twelfth, and particularly what changes would be necessary- or even desirable- to alter perceptions of the meaning of the celebrations or to transform it into an occasion in which the political baggage can be left behind (if those are in themselves goals worth striving for.)I would like to urge posters to avoid the temptation to engage in ‘whataboutery’ in their contributions and instead treat each post on its merits as the genuine thoughts and sentiments of each respective contributor.