Between the spleen and l’Ideal: sectarianism unacknowledged and unabated…

President Mary Mc Aleese once remarked: “There is a sediment of sectarianism in us all.” The former North Belfast law lecturer was speaking obviously about all of us who live in Northern Ireland. The president’s observation remained embedded in my brain and is a constant challenge.I had the sad duty some years ago to visit the home of a police officer shot dead by the IRA. A local protestant clergyman who came through the door greeted me with the salutation ” Hello Seamus.” I corrected him and pointed out that my name was not “Seamus” but “Eamonn.” Quick as a flash he replied “Same thing.”

To me this was contempt for my very existence. “What is your name Sir” I asked. “Robert” he responded. “Why would I call you William ?” I queried. He didn’t answer. The careless disregard of the clergyman for my true identity offended me. Consciously or subconsciously this man was ‘lumping’ me in with ‘ the other side.’

At no point was I ever going to physically retaliate but I was determined to settle a score. In this very minor but limited exchange between the protestant clergyman and myself that ‘sediment of sectarianism’ momentarily surfaced. That sediment of sectarianism reared it’s head.

The French poet Baudelaire engaged in a philosophical debate around the theory of ‘Spleen and Ideal’ in Fleurs du Mal. That battle between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is at the heart of our very existence. That is where the great fight starts. We have all a part to play in making sure ‘L’ideal’ wins over the ‘spleen.’ That means standing up against any and every manifestation of sectarianism.

Where is the campaign at Parliament Buildings to tackle this cancer in our society ? We all know. – It does not exist.

,

  • Only Asking

    Oh excellent point.

  • CW

    He had probably got you confused with either the former “This is your life” presenter Seamus Andrews or the famous poet Eamonn Heaney.

  • ultonian

    One of the saddest realities of Northern ireland is oour rejection of this premise – that there is sectarianism in all of us. Not only that but if we are being honest we also have an inclination to being racists, sexist etc etc.

    Where most people most of the time get it right is that we recognise it as unacceptable and don’t express it. yet the fact remains its there – all the time

    Over the years I have been really annoyed particularly by those “middle of the road nice people” in NI who profess not to have a sectarian bone in their bodies yet when they are pushed too far theyare as green or as orange adn the worse offender.

    personally I admit that can be sectarian, racist, sexist etc etc but I choose and that’s the important word choose not to be.

    Hopefully other might admit it as well and choose not to be

  • Big Bopper

    Mary Mc Aleese once remarked: “There is a sediment of sectarianism in us all.”

    Well, she should certainly know. Even if her own apology for it was half baked.

  • LURIG

    I played in a football match up at Stormont in the Civil Service summer league a few years ago. I had played quite well and was trooping off the pitch at the end. I was walking behind two Civil Service work managers who had been watching the game, one I knew and one I didn’t. They didn’t know I was behind them but I heard the fella I didn’t know say “The big lad played well” The fella I knew and thought was OK said “He did it’s just a pity he’s the other sort (Catholic), you know you can’t really trust them”. I was shocked and a bit hurt but it opened my eyes to the deep sectarian bigotry at all levels in this place. I also heard a cricket side up at Stormont bad mouthing Catholics in the bar after a game during the 1990 World Cup. Maurice Johnston had just missed a sitter for Scotland and one of the so called respectable crowd mouthed “Stupid Fenian Bastard”. The rest laughed in agreement. I accept that sectarianism exists in both communities but in my experience is very much endemic in a lot of the Unionist/Protestant community. Anti-Catholicism seems to be accepted as natural within Unionism like sight, touch, smell etc.

  • Slieve Gullion

    LURIG, you have touched on something that goes to the heart of the question Eamonn asked at the end of his post. There are two sides to sectarianism but they are not the same so both sides reject the concept that one side is as bad as the other. At an ideological level nationalism excludes sectarianism and drives it underground in a way unionism has never done. Dislike of catholicism and its perceived political outcomes was explicit through the founding of unionist institutions, so dislike of its theology and its adherents was never far below the surface. Nationalist opposition to unionism has always been expressed in more political terminology than vice versa. To the average nationalist this looks like unionist tolerance of sectarianism, to the average unionist that view looks like rank hypocrisy. To take an extreme example, when the Provos shot UDR men in South Fermanagh they tried to explain that they were really shooting the uniform and hitting the man inside was a form of collateral damage. To the average Fermanagh Protestant the Provos were knocking off Protestants in the tradition of 1641. Few nationalists try to deny that the Provos did Kingsmills and that it was pure sectarianism, but not so many would accept that the shooting of UDR and RUC men was basically the same thing. Yet the objective fact is that they were almost all Protestants and almost all the killers were Catholics. There is a vast sectarian gulf in our perceptions of sectarianism and that is why we don’t know how to tackle it. And we really don’t. I’m not sure that we could even come up with an agreed definition. And I would love to be above all this but it so pisses me off to be described as a ROMAN catholic. I have never been in Rome and I haven’t been at mass since I was 16.

  • OC

    So, are you a Protestant Catholic, or a Catholic Catholic?

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    I accept that sectarianism exists in both communities but in my experience is very much endemic in a lot of the Unionist/Protestant community. Anti-Catholicism seems to be accepted as natural within Unionism like sight, touch, smell etc.

    Priceless, utterly priceless: more! more!

    Meanwhile, of Mallie what one can say? He’s in the home of a man done to death and his feelings were hurt? Thank f*ck he settled that score, though mushing in some Baudelaire (‘the French poet’!) may have been a shade de trop as revenge goes.

  • Aodh

    So someone’s been murdered and yer man is fixated on another guy getting his name wrong?

    If that’s the memory taken from visiting the bereaved it says a lot about the writer’s value system.

  • Trev

    Well, well a post on sectarianism and SOMEONE chimes in with it’s ‘the Protestant Disease’.

    Watch out in case the wind of hypocrisy chills you up there on the moral high ground.

    Baudelaire a French poet? I thought he was a plumber from Garvagh.

  • Ultonian

    Interesting isn’t it! Once sectarianism gets mentioned the answer frequently from nationalist/catholic/republicans is we’re not as bad as that lot and the prod/unionist etc start by trying to explain it.

    What we rarely hear is people admitting they are sectarian – especially on this site – face facts we (most of us) were brought up in a sectarian country where sectarianism is deep rooted, historical and part of our being. By the very nature of being irish/northern irish/british in ireland we have been infected with this disease.

    So start by admitting it.

    I recently heard a guy speaking about change – his view was nothing will chnage until we start admitting that the main problem is me – if i change then I’ve made the biggest change possible for me – if we all decide to change ourselves then it will make the difference – denying we have a problem is ostrich time

  • 6countyprod

    We all have our stories, I’m sure. My best friend (a Catholic) went off and joined the IRA. I had no idea he hated Protestants so much.

    I’m curious, Eamonn, if you experienced sectarianism while hanging out with the Big Man? In the 70’s and 80’s you seemed to be of the few journalists around who gave him a fair crack of the whip.

    One aspect of sectarianism on the island (almost racism) that is often glossed over is that one side helps to perpetual the problem with its segregated education system and sports body. As long as the two communities have these barriers keeping them apart, I reckon there will be always be an element of apprehension and mistrust on both sides.

  • DR

    first thing, thank-you Lurig for your wonderful example of bigotry, any faint credibilty your comments ever had are now gone forever.
    As for Eamonn’s original post, after raising the issue of the sectarianism in us all and quoting Saint Mary of Ardoyne, he hi-lights a blatant case of “even their clergy are bigots” finally he ends with the usual “its all the fault of the folks on the hill”.
    Eamonn, if you wanted to hi-light endemic sectarianism then dig within yourself and bring up those first, it would have made your posting have much more of an impact and stopped this thread turning into a “them and us” fight.

  • DR

    And yes before you ask, that “sectarian sendiment” lies in many layers in my own life, maybe as things get stirred up at times it will get swept away, but I would like to see others face up to it too.
    Lurig if you really want to distinguish between the sides, the way I would put it is whilst loyalists express ugly naked hatred of catholic, nationalist dressed their up in a skimpy “brits-out” cloak, it fools no one but themselves.

  • JR

    I would have to agree that sectarianism is within me. I would consider myself open to everyones point of view and as a catholic nationalst some of my closest friends are protestant unionsts. I always have to make a concious effort to seperate my politiacl beliefs and general views on Northern Ireland from being clouded by sectarian bias.

    The almost total corelation between background religion and political opinion here cannot be explained in anyother way than a great deal of mistrust of the other side from early childhood. Had Jim alistar’s parents been Catholic or Martin McGuinness’s been Protestant they most certaintly wouldn’t have the outlook they have today.

    I often thought it would be a good exercise to hold a debating competition on Northern Ireland where Nationalsts had to study and argue the Unionst perspective and vice versa. How many of us could?

    I for one feel I am stuck voting for one of two parties I don’t like because of their stance on one overriding issue. Am I sectarian?

    Yes

  • Mike

    LURIG

    “I accept that sectarianism exists in both communities but in my experience is very much endemic in a lot of the Unionist/Protestant community. Anti-Catholicism seems to be accepted as natural within Unionism like sight, touch, smell etc.”

    Au contraire, I think that actually that one major manifestations of sectarianism within some in the nationalist community (and don’t get me wrong, it certainly exists on both “sides”) is the frequent assertion that themmuns, the Protestants/unionists are all/mostly irreformably evil sumpremacist bigots. Oh and intellectually inferior too.

    It happens a helluva lot on here.

  • Will

    So Protestant clergy are sectarian? Is that better or worse than the Catholic kiddy fiddlers?

  • DR

    Eamonn, just one more thing, slugger isnt like journalism, you cant just write it and let in go, you have to take the flack and defend your case on here, passing the buck to stormont aint enough.

  • Reader

    LURIG: The fella I knew and thought was OK said “He did it’s just a pity he’s the other sort (Catholic), you know you can’t really trust them”. I was shocked…
    Of course; and it’s such a stark contrast to the unlimited trust and confidence you place in the *other* sort.
    Isn’t it?

  • Niall Gormley

    A pointless slagging match ensues – as usual.

    The interesting thing is that sectarianism is indeed different for protestants and catholics. Protestants were socially better off so that protestant sectarianism has a class and social edge to it. The irony is that protestant sectarianism is at its most visceral among those protestants who were not much better off than their catholic neighbours.

    For catholics sectarianism is borne out of a sense of victimhood and is expressed politically. So catholics don’t dislike protestants but do dislike unionists. In a situation where being unionist equals being protestant, it means that catholics don’t rate unionist/protestants for whatever reason. And they are in denial about it.

    And then there’s nationalism on top of both kinds of sectarianism, Irish and British, to add in all the icon and territory issues to make the thing competitive. None of the isms here (nationalism, unionism, republicanism, loyalism) need be sectarian – but it’s hard for any of them to avoid it.

  • Panic, These Ones Likes It Up Em.

    Maybe the people of NI could do with a few more different sorts of people to like or dislike 🙂

  • Mr Brightside

    But then why should there be a campaign to root out sectarianism?

    The DUP and SF maintain their support by keeping their community in fear and mistrust of the other. Every issue in Stormont is distilled down to which side wins/loses for a given problem and so we vote for those who punch the hardest.

    It was once said that without sectarianism there would be no need for the Alliance Party. I would argue that if there was no sectarianism there would be no need for Sinn Fein or the DUP

  • i wonder

    It was once said that without sectarianism there would be no need for the Alliance Party. I would argue that if there was no sectarianism there would be no need for Sinn Fein or the DUP
    Posted by Mr Brightside on Nov 26, 2009 @ 06:55 PM

    Best post yet sums us all up were all a bunch of
    sectarian bustards an in my opinion its all the fault of chumps like Laughing (Tory) Unionist lolol. The sooner Brussels gets full control the better.Yup and then let Turkey in and all the chumps from both sides will need to get to bed early.Oh no what time do they call us to prayer 5 6 oh fek I have a headache already.

  • i wonder

    There is no third party right of appeal in the planning system in Northern Ireland yet no politician from any party wants it, even though a lot of voters have asked for it. They wont even discuss it at Storment in case they have to approve it because their is no sectarian reason not to.Ok boys keep the voters eye of the real issues back to marching and peace and fukin justice. This post should give Laughing (Tory) Unionist another fit of the slabbery cackels plus another excuse for a nasty comment.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Sectarianism in Ireland has been inevitable – because for centuries it’s what the English wanted to ensure their presense on the island by securing the loyalty of the Protestant minority. Surely even Protestants in Ulster can accept this?

    If the Protestant minority continually felt hated and under physical threat from the vast Catholic majority on the island then logically they were going to fight tooth and nail so that their ‘protector’, that being England, didn’t leave them to the mercy of the Catholic wolves in Ireland. By promoting sectarian division by giving the Protestant minority all the power in Ireland for generations the English guaranteed the Catholics would see Irish Prods as merely collaborators with the English.

    In places like Bavaria in Germany a huge population of Catholics and Protestants live together without the vile sectarianism we have experienced on this island. It was fertilised by the English and its roots are now so deep in Ulster that I doubt the 6 counties will ever be ‘normal’. Repartition might give both communities some much needed breathing space but neither side seems to want it.

    As for integrated education in NI, well if integrated education in NI is run by the board of education in Dublin then I’m sure nationalist and Republican families won’t object to it.

  • Sam Thompson

    ‘In places like Bavaria in Germany a huge population of Catholics and Protestants live together without the vile sectarianism we have experienced on this island’

    the difference is that in Bavaria, they are all Bavarian Germans, in Ireland they are not all Ulster Irish

  • Republic of Connaught

    Indeed, Sam. But maybe with integrated education run from Dublin they will all begin to see themselves as Ulster Irish?

    Or perhaps with integrated education run from Britain they will all begin to see themselves as Ulster British?

    Integrated education seems quite political, after all.

  • Dave

    Eamonn, it would be helpful to offer a working definition of sectarianism if you want to start a debate about it, never mind a political campaign to eradicate it.

    What exactly is it that you want the British parliament to eradicate? Your anecdote about the protestant clergyman indicates only that he did not show what you presumably felt was appropriate respect for your national identity.

    Are you saying that parliament should make it illegal for its citizens to have a low opinion of other nations or that it should be illegal to express such an opinion? Or is that you wish parliament to fund a campaign to socially engineer what opinions its citizens should have rather than devise laws to that effect?

    I would respectfully submit that the protestant clergyman is fully entitled to hold whatever opinion he wishes, and that the state has no business engaging in any form of opinion control, social engineering, or such indoctrination.

    Perhaps the protestant clergyman believed that you were disloyal to his state, assuming that is disensation of a nation to be loyal to its own state, and were not therefore worthy of his respect? If so, then you will have a hard job persuading British parliament that it should spend British taxpayers’ money in order to promote tolerance of disloyalty to the British state.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Where is Eamonn BTW?
    Mick can you tell him “respected journalist” that he is you dont just stick a half baked statement on slugger and disappear, he started a discussion, and I was hoping he would play some part in it.

  • OC

    “As for integrated education in NI, well if integrated education in NI is run by the board of education in Dublin then I’m sure nationalist and Republican families won’t object to it.”

    Perhaps if Dublin paid for it?

  • Republic of Connaught

    OC,

    No doubt if there was a few hundred rowdy Antrim and Armagh people outside Leinster House the government would soon agree to foot the bill.

  • Democratic

    “As for integrated education in NI, well if integrated education in NI is run by the board of education in Dublin then I’m sure nationalist and Republican families won’t object to it.”

    Why should Dublin have primary control to run it exactly?…..

    “Integrated education seems quite political, after all.”

    Only on the basis that it would be a very positive and much needed step in social cohesion in NI…..although I would guess there would be some intent on making the political aspect more than it was intended to be by wanting to make sure their version of history was favoured over the “other side” – I presume that is what the “must be run by Dublin” comment alludes to….

  • Mike

    As for Eamonn’s story…

    “I had the sad duty some years ago to visit the home of a police officer shot dead by the IRA. A local protestant clergyman who came through the door greeted me with the salutation ” Hello Seamus.” I corrected him and pointed out that my name was not “Seamus” but “Eamonn.” Quick as a flash he replied “Same thing.”

    To me this was contempt for my very existence. “What is your name Sir” I asked. “Robert” he responded. “Why would I call you William ?” I queried. He didn’t answer. The careless disregard of the clergyman for my true identity offended me. Consciously or subconsciously this man was ‘lumping’ me in with ’ the other side.’

    At no point was I ever going to physically retaliate but I was determined to settle a score. ”

    A few points occur to me here amout Eamonn’s story:

    – the clergyman probably simply got confused as to who Eamonn was or what his name was. He was performing the pretty harrowing duty of providing pastoral care to a family whose loved one had just been murdered by terrorists. So he had what I would see as more important things on his mind than protecting the ego of an oh-so-precious journalist.

    – Plenty of us have said “same thing” as a way of trying to laugh off our embarrassment at using the wrong word. “Pass the beer”. “You mean wine?”. “Ah, haha, erm, same thing”. Might say a bit about Eamonn’s own “sediment” that he was prepared to think the worst of a Protestant clergyman.

    – “At no point was I ever going to physically retaliate” – what in the name of good God/Allah/Krishna??? Why on earth would you even think of physcial “retaliation” against someone for getting your name wrong??

    – “…but I was determined to settle a score.” Forgive me for being crude and somewhat personal here, but you come across as a bit of a prick here. This clergyman was visiting the home and family of one of his “flock” who had been murdered, and all you could think of was “settling a score” with him because he got your name wrong? Lordy, I’m glad I don’t know you personally.

    “The careless disregard of the clergyman for my true identity offended me”

    Callous disregard?? You were at the home of a murder victim, and you decided to pursue your own silly little “score” with the family’s clergyman for getting your name wrong – and HE is the one with the “callous disregard”?

  • Ultonain

    Amazing there are still those who seek to apportion blame for creating sectarianism to the other side. Normally nat/repub trying to blame the English.

    Some out there should read Occasions of sin by Diarmaid Ferriter where again the English were blamed for prositution, homosexuality, STDs and general lax morals

    It was once thought that saying that catholic priests abused children was sectarian rubbish or that the garda protected the catholic church was just unionist mischief making

    Today the – it thier fault analysis of ireland has been exposed as self delusion.

    Blaming others for your own Sectarianism is like blaming black for you being racist. we are what we are and unless we deal within in ourselves then nothing will change

  • snail in a bottle

    Eamonn

    “That sediment of sectarianism reared it’s head.”

    You call yourself a journalist and write English like that?

    http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/i.html

  • 6countyprod

    Hey, s in a b, great Grammar Guide. Thanks!

  • kensei

    Mike

    Any one can mess up a name. the subsequent action was sectarian. It was also extremely discourteous, aside form anythign else. Context matters, and in this case “Same thing is not appropriate”.

    It amazes me that people will defend the indefensible. That’d be some sediment too.

  • Skintown Lad

    LURIG

    I helped run a scheme for kids once in a fairly rural and traditionally Nationalist/Republican part of Northern Ireland, to help keep them occupied (no pun intended!) over the summer months. I got on well with them and they were a friendly group. Towards the end of the summer I got chatting to a boy of about 10. I told him I was from the town (about 17 miles away) and asked him if he had been there much. He very casually replied “nah, it’s a shitty town, we don’t to go there – too many proddies”.

    It is common place for people recounting these sorts of tales to say how shocked they were but I wasn’t. I knew the history of the village where the boy lived. He didn’t just come up with this sort of sectarianism on his own at his age, he most likely absorbed it from older people around him, by a process commonly referred to as culture. I would actually have been surprised had he spoken well of protestants, which some may interpret as my own sectarian prejudice of others’ sectarianism, but was on that occasion borne out by my experience. In that case the sediment of sectarianism that existed in the people and would usually have remained concealed, was leaked through the mouth of a young boy.

  • scofflaw

    The only thing that will stop sectarianism will be for a united Ireland with the consent of the people. Even then it would take at least 3 generations to fully dissipate. Other than than, I feel it’s here to stay on some levels. Sad but true.

  • Suoer

    I’d say I’m not sectarian, because I don’t have a problem with Catholics, an English or German or Swiss Catholic or even an Irish Catholic per se. What I have a problem with are Irish nationalists who believe they have a divine right to dominate the whole island and portray it as a single nation politically and culturally, and that unionists do not have the same rights of self determination and national identity that Irish nationalists exercised in 1921. It viscerally annoys me when they ignore the dual nationality nature of the island or seek to say that unionists are not British. I can tolerate them saying they’re not British easily but not them saying I’m not British.

    I will admit that I find being around such people unpleasant and I don’t have as much tolerance of it as I should, in the way that I more easily tolerate people who disagree with me on economic politics for example, but I don’t think that sectarian is the right word to describe that. Whatever level of hatred I feel when I see GAA or St Paddy’s day with tricolours aloft is not something I would have in the slightest when dealing with, say, a Catholic Spanish immigrant.

    It’s not even that such people not infrequently had a minority who felt it was justified to murder, though obviously that has been a major aggravaing circumstance, or even fear of a united Ireland per se, but that my consent was not required, effectively making their position akin to that of a rapist in my eyes.

  • Dave

    That was a sharp analysis, Mike.

    What Eamonn is actually doing here is attempting to conflate different types of sectarianism in order to promote a political agenda.

    Sectarianism usually refers to dissention between different denominations within the same religious faith, e.g. between Orthodox and Reform within Judaism in Israel, Sunni and Shia within Islam in Iraq, and, of course, between Catholics and Protestants within Christianity in Northern Ireland. The dissention usually transgresses the intellectual level of disagreement to involve some violation of some civil, political or human right.

    If there is no violation of rights, then there is no sectarianism involved. In Eamonn’s example, he is assuming that there is an inherent right not to be offended, and that the clergyman violated this right. It is, presumably, this imaginary right not to be offended that Eamon would like the British parliament to make into an actual legal right.

    The Shinners usually point out that their murder campaign against Protestants wasn’t sectarian because it was aimed at a political group (who happened to be mostly Protestant) rather than a religious group. Now, of course, the definition of sectarianism within Northern Ireland has been updated de jure to include political groups rather than excluding them. This update invalidates the Shinner’s disclaimer that their campaign was not sectarian.

    In reality, it always de facto included them since it was pointed out that there was a type of institutionalised sectarianism from the state that was aimed at excluding political and religious groups from power within the state. The ‘taig’ who was not wanted about the place was both nationalist and Catholic, so there always had this overlap between religious and political sectarianism within Northern Ireland.

    But is there any legal basis for ‘political’ sectarianism within a state? No, and there never can be such a basis. It can never be claimed that a state cannot legally discriminate against those who are disloyal to it. In making such a claim, the claimant is demanding that the state promote treason against itself, when the state can do no such thing. It has a duty to do the opposite. Indeed, it’s preference and proper function is to ‘hang’ those who are engaged in treason against it.

    The trick in this is to present any promotion of advantage of one national group within Northern Ireland over the other nation into an act of ‘sectarianism.’ In this way, the nation that argues for a nation-state is not presented as asserting an inalienable right but rather as engaging in an act of ‘sectarianism’ wherein it seeks an unfair advantage over the other nation. Nationalism is now cutely redefined within Northern Ireland as ‘sectarianism.’

    This is simply propaganda aimed at reinforcing the constitutional status of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. It is useful that this pro-British state propaganda is presented as an assertion of nationalism (e.g. by someone making an absurd complaint about an ethnic name) rather than a reaffirmation of the formal rejection of national rights that occurred when they signed up to the GFA. It is also self-contradicting, since the British state remains intact with one nation (the British nation) having a legitimised and consolidated right to national self-determination (and hence a ‘sectarian’ advantage over the other nation) and the other nation having renounced its former right and now affirming that ‘sectarianism’ against itself.

  • kensei

    Yes Dave, if you make up your own defintion of something, you can prove anything!

    Try looking up, you know dicitonaries and stuff.

  • Dave

    Like wikipedia? I think some Shinner’s handler wrote that definition. I prefer actual definition rather that expediently created variety.

    Just to add:

    “But is there any legal basis for ‘political’ sectarianism within a state? No, and there never can be such a basis. It can never be claimed that a state cannot legally discriminate against those who are disloyal to it. In making such a claim, the claimant is demanding that the state promote treason against itself, when the state can do no such thing. It has a duty to do the opposite. Indeed, its preference and proper function is to ‘hang’ those who are engaged in treason against it.”

    That, of course, is why the nationalists had to fully endorse the constitutional status of Northern Ireland in the GFA. The state cannot promote tolerance of disloyaty to it. It demands that all its political groups are loyal to it. Those that are not loyal to the British state are of course excluded from Stormont.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Why is everyone attacking Eamonn?

    The clergyman basically told him to his face that he was irish/catholic and thats all he needed to know. Anyway decent person, in any situation, would have said “oh okay” at the least. Not a completely disrepectul and contemptous “Same thing”

    It’s like calling a black lady you met Lakisha, and when she tells you her name is Lawanda, you say “same thing.” You are telling her to her face you don’t care about her as a person and that she is black and thats all you need/have to know.

    That being said, sectarianism is obviously within everyone to some degree. When emotional situations occur, like the hunger strike, people’s root identities come out.

  • kensei

    Dave

    Like wikipedia? I think some Shinner’s handler wrote that definition. I prefer actual definition rather that expediently created variety.

    Wiki isn’t a dictionary, Dave. I prefer actual defintions to. Oxford:

    sectarian

    • adjective 1 concerning or deriving from a sect or sects. 2 carried out on the grounds of membership of a sect or other group: sectarian killings.

    • noun a member or follower of a sect.

    Webster’s

    Main Entry: 1sec·tar·i·an
    Pronunciation: \sek-ˈter-ē-ən\
    Function: adjective
    Date: 1649

    1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of a sect or sectarian
    2 : limited in character or scope : parochial

    Main Entry: 2sectarian
    Function: noun
    Date: 1819

    1 : an adherent of a sect
    2 : a narrow or bigoted person

    Only in your head has it anything to do with “rights”

  • Brit

    I dont know about a universal definition but in NI “sectarianism” basically means a form of ethnic prejudice against the other (Catholic Irish, “Ulster” Protestant). As such it draws on, and is reinforced by, both religious and political factors.

    However it is the ethnic prejudice which is the true evil. Having a problem with someone because of a political difference or a theological dispute is reasonable or at least more reasonable than hating them because they were born into a Catholic or Prod family.

    I think the easy dismissal, or at least blame shifting, by Nationalists and Republicans by the tired old arguments – it was British/English divide and rule, or that it is a function of partition, or a core feature of the Protestant Unionist identity is very weak. It is intellectual cowardice, in failing to acknowledge the problem. It is smug self-satisfaction in blaming others. It is ahistorical as there have been strong opponents of sectarianism in the NI Unionist collectivity and the British government, at least in modern times, has had no logical reason for trying to foister sectarianism.

  • Skintown lad

    Sean, do you seriously believe this “English in Ireland” rubbish or do you just use phrases like this to wind Unionists up? You seem to condense hundreds of years of history as if it happended over the course of a couple of weeks and pin the blame on the current generation. I don’t think you could be accused of sectarianism against Irish Brits, but only because you don’t seem to believe they actually exist.

  • Dave

    Kensei, what do legal definitions are not the same thing as dictionary definitions. I think you might find that English law, for example, defines murder a tad differently than the Oxford dictionary. Likewise, definitions are acquired from the context in which they are used. As for my definition, I suggest you acquaint yourself with how the Scottish assembly defines it. I ‘stole’ it from that quarter. 😉

  • Dave

    “Kensei, what do legal definitions are not the same thing as dictionary definitions.”

  • Fabianus

    Hey, here’s a novel idea. Why not discourage membership of the sects as a means to end sectarianism?

    No more chapel, no more church. Not many differences then to squabble over, aside from the political ones of course.

    I mean, you don’t have to be an Einstein to see that religion/s lie/s at the heart of so much shite in Northern Ireland. So don’t baptise your newborn. If they need an invisible friend they’ll invent one of their own anyway. And chances are their invisible friend will be more benign than the one your parents indoctrinated YOU with.