Photograph of the Day – Smiley sectarianism

sectarian graffiti on the side of the Short Strand bus depot

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  • alternative title ‘Pretty Ugly’

  • Neil


  • Think the smiley represents the pride and joy of Larkin and Connolly reflecting on the mutation of their ideals and principles down the ages.

  • JaneJeffers

    kah ?

  • Daithí Ó

    KAH I imagine is Kill All Huns.

    Firstly it’s dinsingenuous to have posted this here as it suggests that most sectarianism emanates from the greeen side of the divide. As far as I am aware the term “hun” when used in the northern Irish context refers to a supporter of Rangers Football Club and is used by supporters of Celtic.

    To have been more balanced perhaps this image should have been shown too:

    KAT being a much more clearly defined sectarian term and far more prevalent than KAH.

  • Daithí Ó

    Maybe this will work…


  • Daithí Ó

    But probably not 😉

  • Andy

    Daithí Ó … your concept of a hierarchy of sectaranism is interesting; KAT being ‘obviously’ much worse than KAH. This is nonsense; all sectarianism is equally bad. As regards the ‘need’ for balance, why? This is simply a picture of some grafitti in Short Strand. As we all know there are numerous examples of this neanderthal mindset across both communities.
    You seem awfully sensitive about the fact that sectarianism is just as prevalent in the nationalist community as it is elsewhere….. Might be better tidying up our own houses before shouting that ‘Themmuns’ are just as bad/worse…

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Judging by its height from ground level, colour and size of writing……it seems a particuarly childish thing to do.
    Mention of “INLA” is further proof of a juvenile mind.
    The photographer probably does not have any kids of his own. If he did…..he might understand that giving too much attention to childish behaviour is actually counter-productive.

    But “graffiti” as an art form…… portrayed by that Banks chap…..strikes me as a thin end of a wedge.
    When we glorify it such as sending our so called “community artists” to Washington to promote Norn Iron……with “nice” murials (sic) and promote graffiti as part of our Tourist Terror Trail.
    We can even buy postcards……..not just as previously in “loyalist” and “republican” bookshops…….we can even buy them in Easons and WH Smith.

    So a little scumbag does this in Short Strand……and in some quarters would be hailed as an “artist”. And given slightly too much credit.
    What next? Hilariously spraying a photographers car? Hardly.

  • Wise up Daithi
    you know as well as i do that this teenage territorial scrawl (the equivalent to a a dog pissing on a lampost) goes on on both sides and i’d suggest that your being disingenous in suggesting otherwise.
    I merely picked this photograph because of the banding of the colours. If you want balance then have a look here

    Currently on the Albertbridge road a bus stop is covered in bright yellow letters KAH, there is also a KAH on one of the walls there which to my knowledge has been there for over a year.
    If, as the saying goes , we are all products of our environments ,it’s little wonder that this goes on but i’d hazard a guess that this is done by teenagers born after the ceasefire with little or no sense amongst them merely wishing to provoke.
    Where is the leadership (on both sides before you say anything) to ensure that this is nipped in the bud and as Sinn Fein have been seen to be adept at taking down any reference to dissent to their leadership why cant the same teams of graffiti removers be put to this end.

  • I’m
    Nothing but a



  • Fitz assume nothin as i do have a son.
    See my reply above.
    The other thing of note about this is the styling of the A which is a hat tip to one of the street artsits here called Ansco (who i find particularly annoying) as all he seems to do is tag his name all over the place without any discernable art being produced.
    Oh and i’m certainly not calling the idiot responsible for this an artist.
    It’s a sectarian scrawl as far as i’m concerned.
    However i did see it in the context of the banding of the colours and took a photograph which appears once again to have been too subtle…i’m going to have to up my game to get a level of understanding around here methinks.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well Im sure you would not encourage your son to do graffiti. But photographing graffiti might be seen as an encouragement.
    The person you call “Ansco”..I note that despite your annoyance you describe him as a “street artist”. the sort that irritates us simply by doing graffiti.
    “The banding of colours” and psuedo arts commentary is really the kinda thing that the Guardian and Irish Times Arts pages revel in…..
    Still if you admire his banding of colours, why not leave your business card so that this young street artist can decorate your front door with one.
    Admittedly it would not enhance the value.
    But you would not have to walk so far to take a pic.

  • Elvis Paisley

    FJH – The photographer probably does not have any kids of his own. If he did…..he might understand that giving too much attention to childish behaviour is actually counter-productive.

    But “graffiti” as an art form…… portrayed by that Banks chap…..strikes me as a thin end of a wedge.
    When we glorify it such as sending our so called “community artists” to Washington to promote Norn Iron……with “nice” murials (sic) and promote graffiti as part of our Tourist Terror Trail.
    We can even buy postcards……..not just as previously in “loyalist” and “republican” bookshops…….we can even buy them in Easons and WH Smith.

    So a little scumbag does this in Short Strand……and in some quarters would be hailed as an “artist”. And given slightly too much credit.

    what a pompous load of shite, horse.

    it’s a well observed image and a nicely executed photo thereof.

    haven’t been overly impressed with some of MP’s photos on this site, but credit due for the two most recent posted.

  • You are missing the point when i talk of the banding of colours – the Short Strand depot is painted that way.
    Encouragement no
    It was there
    I saw the colours and took a photograph of what i saw plain and simple.
    I used the term street artist hesitantly as i have only seen only one piece of his work which was done legitimately as part of an event last year in the cathedral quarter. At the time I challenged him on his incessant tagging to which he merely shrugged. The lad obviously has talent and i know that he is trying to find a legitimate way to display his work but i find the scrawling of a name of letters annoying. It’s one thing to have a motif, Banksy has his rats but scrawling a name in ad infinitum is another. He’s young so perhaps he’ll learn

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    But surely you reported this “street” artist “Ansco” to the PSNI?
    Has he not actually committed criminal damage?
    I make the point that these artists (yes including urchins with misdirected talent) and sectarian scumbags are living in a “no mans land” where a kinda double standard is shown by the artsy types who inhabit our better “Arts” pages and the Cathedral Quarter.

  • No i didn’t report him as it was part of a (you’re gonna love this fitz) council organised event …

    Isn’t that why they’re “better arts” pages then Fitz?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    So this Ansco chap is on the rates and has not done any unorganised graffiti. A model citizen.
    Great stuff. 🙁

  • Greenflag

    The term Lumpen in the above refers to old /raggedy clothes in the original german . Arsehole would be Arschloch which is a common german expletive for those who may be lacking in one or more or indeed several traits .

    If I’m not mistaken the Huguenots are no longer an extant group having long since been assimilated into the general population.
    Thus your interpretation of KAH has a certain necrophilial touch to it which could be seen as both obscene and yet somehow ironically accurate .

    It requires but little imagination to interpret your KAH translation as the brain and politically dead making overtures to the already biologically dead in an impotent example of graffittological public property defacement executed by acne faced teenagers more than a few short of the full sandwich 🙁

    Nine strokes of the cat o nine tails followed by a week long repainting project while being forced to live on bread and water -no tv -no cell phones and a concrete floor for a bed behind secure bars .

    Either that or the Colonies – oops not any more -the army or navy -And I mean British the eh Irish ones are full up

  • I like your ironic use of the frowny face fitz.
    I think theres an argument for allowing street artists to utilise empty and shuttered buildings along with designated graff areas it does add a bit of colour and keeps them from breaking the law by providing them with legitimate canvases and that is happening, well the shuttered buildings bit at least

  • joeCanuck

    You should see your doctor; you badly need a happy pill.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Indeed…if I called that frowny face my tag….the Belfast City Council would put me on the pay roll and Id get rave reviews as a “primitive” genius at a wine and cheese reception hosted by the Irish Times Arts page.
    Im not knocking it. It works for Martin Lynch.

  • Naah, too many folks already using that frowny face, you’ll have to be a bit more original than that fitz.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Never stopped Martin Lynch.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Fair point indeed, mind you Lynchski doesn’t plaster streets, homes, bus stops or kerstones with his dreary work and his labours are only offensive on account of being somewhat tiresome rather than somewhat tiresome and deeply sectarian.

  • Daithí Ó

    Moochin Plutoman

    I understand the concept of territorial pissing, it’s shit and serves no purpose. What you’ve shown is the work of some kid, it happens.

    HOWEVER, you posting that photo on a political website, emphasising sectarian graffiti in a nationalist area and saying you do so “because of the banding of the colours” is worse than disingenuous. It’s also an insult to our collective intelligence.

    A kick up the arse is due to any young idiot who writes that sort of stuff and certainly one for you too!

  • Mick Fealty


    Play the ball and not the man, or take your business elsewhere!! You’ve had a civil and intelligent reply to your first response, the least you can do is respond in kind!!

    You can take this as a straight Yellow card. Anything remotely resembling this kind of abusive response again, and it’s a Red!

  • Daithí Ó

    Ok Mick, it was meant to be tongue in cheek.

    I pointed out how ridiculous it was to post that photo and claim it was done for the colour scheme. Does that not constitute playing the ball?

  • stewart1

    The photo postings might be a little more interesting if they featured other areas, rather than a small part of East Belfast.

    Gets a bit boring after a while.

    As regards today’s photo, it seems pointless.

  • Mick Fealty

    Apart from the fact that it is a malign misreading of what Moochin actually said, no. But threatening to have someone’s ass kicked is.

    It is possible to be both blunt and civil. In mixed company (ie amongst people who may not share either your perspective or sense of humour), that’s best way to carry on conversations, I’ve found. Especially in disembodied cyberspace.

  • joeCanuck

    Some of your pics are drawing lots of comments. Shows what a good idea it was to have this feature and your unpaid services.
    Keep it going.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    This is indeed true. .. Lynchs biggest offence is just boring us to death.
    But there is a serious point here.
    Clearly Art should not just be left to very posh people.
    But likewise the “posh” art community has got a tendency to adopt a “primitive” as a kinda pet project. This is currently manifested in treating any teen with a spray can as some kinda “street artist”.
    This blurs the offence.
    Posh people are less likely to be the victims of a teen with a spray can than people who live in Housing Executive estates.
    We should not send mixed messages.
    Zero tolerance for so called street artists.

  • I have to agree showing these pics only encourages anti-social behaviour

  • I really can’t see how this photographic evidence of a sectarian scrawl is encouraging anti social behaviour, i posted it to generate a debate about this. If communities and their leadership allow these to stay up as territorial markers it is a self perpetuating hatred. The tit for tat nature of them is endemic.
    I deplore these scrawls and i really think that more should and could be done to eradicate them.

  • Sectarianism is pointless Stewart

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Daithi O,

    are you suggesting that the D’Hondt method should be applied to the publishing of photographs to ensure parity of the potrayal of sectarianism?

    Was the desire amongst some in the Nationalist community to KAH temporarily suspended in 1914-1918, 1939-1945 and in July 1966 – or am I misunderstsanding the term?.

  • I am coming more from the random insight rather than the political angle unfortunately they do seem to over lap but hey we do live in a strange wee place i suppose

  • Neil

    I’m hoping that belfastjj is being funny, in that you showing these pics has encouraged some of the more miserable sluggerites to engage in less than sociable behaviour in the replies sections. I could be wrong.

  • No Neil what i’m saying is – if these kids see someone taking pictures of their anti-social behaviour it will only encourage them to carry on and in this case cost translink more money !!!

  • Neil

    I apologise for misreading you. I thought you were being funny.

  • There were no kids around to see me take the photo in fact there was only buses coming into the depot for the night, as the saying goes

    *broad Belfast accent*

    ‘There wasn’t a sinner around’

  • Mark McGregor


    Give it up. Slugger’s commentariat has caught you in their headlights.

    It is clear from this photograph you are responsible for most, if not all, sectarianism, graffiti and anti-social behaviour in greater Belfast area. And again they exposed your anti-catholic prejudice.

    If you just listened a little harder you’d find out so much interesting stuff about yourself from the massed ranks in the peanut gallery.


  • Am I the only person who finds someone who tries to tell us that huns means only Rangers supporters complaining about other people insulting our intelligence funny?

  • RepublicanStones

    The colour coordination of this scrawl is rather strange. It actually blends well, which means its colour scheme is incongruous as regards grafitti, precisely because such scrawls should look out of place. One wonders if the idiot who wrote it actually sought out a marker to match the colour scheme? The smily face, which is at odds with the macabre desire of the writing reminds me of hearing an idiot once proclaim that anyone who didn’t like Beatles should be shot.

  • AT LAST!
    It’s only taken 44 comments for someone to notice the incongruity between the intend, the colour of the pen and the bands of colours.
    Well done RS

  • Danny Boy

    Wow, what a range of ways to miss the point! Good photo.

  • Snapper

    Can’t believe the vitriol this photographer has had to put up with. Assumptions on his family etc are very poor and shame on those to make such comments. As for the artistic merit of the image, people should take it or leave it. It has genereated much debate though and for that the pic was hugely successful. Well done MP.

  • Clanky

    I am astonished (although I probably shouldn’t be) at some of the responses to this. Have we really become so petty that anything which could possibly show one community in a bad light somehow has to be balanced by something showing the other community in an equally bad light? Do I really need to ask that?

    Nice photo MP, if there has to be graffiti at least it might as well be graffiti which blends in with the surroundings (although maybe for a sense of balance you should have shown that protestant graffiti can also have artistic value)

  • Kristi.nicole

    And I just thought KAH was somebody’s initials. Learn something new everyday.

  • Jay/Dee

    This thread has shown to me just how ignorant some people can be and cowardly also by using the invisibility of the computer to try and bully batter a man whos only crime is to take photographs of everyday scenes in and around our great country.

    He didnt do the bloody wriiting, and in the words of the great James Young…*Would ye’s quete fightin*

    Mooch, keep up the great work that so many others are afraid to do.