Sectarianism in Northern ireland

A video, filmed in a room bedecked with union flags and Orange Order paintings, shows a group of people singing a song about the death of Michaela McAreavey, a young Northern Irish Catholic bride who was murdered on her honeymoon.

It has been described as “vile”  “utterly abhorrent” “absolutely sick”  “beyond reprehensible” and the singers as “vermin”.

Here’s what they sang:

She went to her room to get a wee treat

Something **** strangers she did meet

They hammered & they hammered & they bate her about

John McArevey never gave her a shout.

Round &round&up&down

Through the streets of Ballygawley town”

Comment: The murder of an innocent Catholic woman becomes a source of entertainment.

Involved in broadcasting and singing, John Bell and Andrew McDade, said it was a matter of “deep shame and regret”. They described it as an “offensive, vile and wholly abhorrent chant”.

Remember:  That song had a tune and lyrics that people in the room knew well enough to sing along to.

It had most probably been sung on other occasions and places, when openly racist, sectarian or misogynistic behaviour appeared normal.

Queries: Do similar things  happen in other Orange Halls? Regularly? Is this what goes on behind those doors?

Are anti-Catholic chants used to bond men and women together in an implacable mindset?

How many of singers believe the offence was the song ?

Or was the leak the offence?  

Things that would typically have stayed within their  Orange Order walls were filmed and put out on social media.

And seen by everyone.

Wonder how Westminster Orange Lodge will react to this abuse of Her Majesty’s Catholic subjects during her Jubilee celebrations?

Michaella McAreavey was targeted because she was a Catholic. She wasn’t  a political activist or member of a paramilitary organisation. Just an innocent Catholic. The chant and the setting are associated with  violent anti-Catholic, anti-Irish hatred.

Yet nobody mentioned the S word!

Sectarianism is a sub-set of racism.

So apart from the fact that the Police Service should be investigating a hate crime, why wasn’t sectarianism mentioned as the Orange Order condemned the video and offered to investigate?

Because sectarian acts don’t exist in an all-PUL (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist) environment such as an Orange Hall.

Let’s look at sectarianism from the PUL point of view

All-PUL spaces are untainted by sectarianism  because sectarianism  operates only when CNR (Catholic, Nationalist, Republican) people are present

 Comment: According to Unionists/Loyalists, the CNR are the root cause of sectarianism. If there were no CNR people about there would be no sectarianism

Query: How  is sectarianism used in Northern Ireland?

Sectarianism is the weapon that maintains our Unionist/loyalist power in Northern Ireland

Comment: Sectarianism is a problem of Unionism/Loyalism and of Unionist privilege

But since we have the power to enact sectarianism, then it becomes a problem for the CNR community. As it has been for over 200 years.

Q:What is  sectarianism?

Our anti-Catholic, anti-nationalist, anti-Republican, anti-Irish sectarianism is central to the means for achieving our Unionist/Loyalist goals  of supremacy in power and  British identity

Sectarianism  confers structural advantage,  privilege.

It’s a belief system that perpetuates our right to  the unequal distribution of privileges, resources and power   that has kept us in the dominant position for over 100 years

It’s a set of cultural practices that are usually unmarked and unnamed

 It is a ‘standpoint,’ the place from which we look at ourselves,  others, and  society. 

Remember: The people who benefit from any ideology always deny the harm of that ideology and even its existence

Query: What annoys you about the others,  the CNR

NI would be fine if only the CNR would  vote  the “right “way for the “right” people. Take for example when Brexit was being voted for.  Few or none of us  thought about how it would effect the parity of esteem of nationalists. We ‘dismissed’ CNR feelings about the EU, their actually being European, their high regard for the openness of the Irish border. And we don’t care that a majority in NI support the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) which  we fiercely oppose.

Query: Why do you, the PUL, object to the NIP?

It sets up a trade barrier with Great Britain. It weakens our link with Britain because it’s a new form of Partition. It threatens our identity and tradition. It opens up space for Republicanism to flourish and makes it easier to call for a Border Poll. And we could lose it.

Remember: Brexit Referendum voting pattern: 56% in NI voted to Remain in the EU

Comment: By any calculation 56% is a majority. The PUL do not speak for this 56% majority.

Yet our voice predominates. Unionist/Loyalist DUP backed Brexit and as a majority in GB voted Leave – out of the EU Northern Ireland should go!And away with the NIP!

Comment: The British Government signed, sealed, ratified and delivered the NIP

We have vehemently opposed legislation for women’s reproductive choice, single-sex marriage and  an Irish  language act, rights that were all available in Britain

Comment: All of which Westminster is finally delivering

But since we are boycotting the Stormont Assembly, abortion clinics and the Irish Language Act will never be implemented

Query: What about CNR not voting for the “right” people?

 By voting for SF rather than the SDLP Northern nationalism has sacrificed our friendship, goodwill and alliances 

 If they would only have voted for the ‘right‘ party, they would have everything they want by now  . . .

Query: What’s the link between Sectarianism and  Britishness?

We’re British. We enjoy a deeply internalized, largely unconscious sense of belonging in U.K. society

 Consequently,  we can represent the whole of the people in Great Britain, preferably the English.

Comment: Irish people in NI can only represent their own sectarianised experiences. They cannot represent  the PUL in NI, or  citizens in the  ROI.But they can represent citizens  world-wide who have suffered at the hands of racists.

Britishness/Englishness is assumed as a universal reference point for NI people.NI people should want to emulate the British values and virtues in order to be accepted into Unionist culture. In offering an education space that was  explicitly British/Unionist/Loyalist we offered the ideal  way of life which we want to impose on  everyone .

Comment: NI is a closed entity with no tolerance or place for anyone who does not fit the Unionist/Loyalist concept of British. CNR are not welcome in NI society unless conforming to other people’s prejudices.

The fact the CNR need to emulate British culture,  or refuse to do so, makes them inferior, not as good as us, “disloyal” in a word. That’s what disloyal means. They are not as good as us,  inferior. And they are never trusted no matter how Unionist they say they’ve become.

 Comment: To be “not pseudo-English” is ipso facto to be inferior and marginalised.

Right. The CNR are tolerated but unless they behave (no SF first minister) we close down Stormont. As we have.We do not acknowledge nationalists’ right to have their vote recognised

Query: Why?

Because since Partition and the founding of NI, we  have developed unchallenged expectations to remain in the leadership position

Comment: since the Belfast/GF Agreement, a major problem within Unionism seems to be  the belief that Republican violence had effect but no cause and Unionist violence had cause but no effect.

2 thoughts on “Sectarianism in Northern ireland

  1. The offensive act was one thing, the context, as you point out, historical and current, is even more important. How did they even know she was Catholic? Well, she was the daughter of Mickey Harte, manager of the Tyrone Gaelic football club and, since no self-respecting Loyalist would have anything to do with a Gaelic sports, even when it has the widest amateur sports community support in Europe — well Mickey must be Catholic and then so must his daughter, right? So it’s funny she got killed on honeymoon, right? A sick and perverted residue of British colonialism that needs to be run out of Ireland, not placated.

    Liked by 1 person

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