Yesterday’s 12th parades provided the usual mixture of personalities. And encouragingly the overall character of the day was rather open and family orientated. But, forgetting the Ardoyne chaos, the customary hotspots hosted their annual drink charged revelry: with its participants scattering their detritus, philistinism and brash carry on for everyone else to see, put up with and later to pick up.
As my illustrated comment alludes to I want to home in on these more bibulous individuals of the day who carry the torch for a questionable heritage that has long been a feature of the 12th day celebrations. A topic I earlier touched on with this cartoon below:
I think that they call it culture, and I genuinely believe they think it is. But what is it they’re celebrating? If you ask them, the likely response would be that they’re marking with great enthusiasm the Williamite victory of July 12 1690 over the Jacobites at the Battle of the Boyne. Or am I being rather generous in that analysis? Quite possibly.
In the greatest of respect to these people I struggle to equate the spilling of foul language, alcohol and verbal carnage onto the streets of Belfast as celebrating the victory of King Billy. A Dutch man born in The Hague and imbued with an informed and open mind, tolerance, ambition and discipline: the most superior and commendable habits of character.
Yet those who celebrate him fail to emulate him. But rather in a warped exhibition of paying homage they conduct themselves in a manner opposite to all that William III stood for.
Instead of living for alcohol and revelry they could do worse than study, emulate and pass on the qualities of their fabled leader: break the cycle of poverty of mind and finances and embed outward looking habits of character that would help these people to contribute meaningfully to civic society and critically, the labour market.
But in the mean time, with hard hitting images singed onto my mind from July 12th of 2012 I had to put into illustrated form my conception of what King Billy should look like in order for him to equate with the behaviour of his champions.
The King Billy of July 12 1690 roused his troops by calling: “laat ambitie brand uw verstand (let ambition fire thy mind).” But it seems that across the centuries that that battle cry has been lost in translation with the call, “let drink fire thy mind,” appearing a lot more congruent with today’s behaviour…