THE tendency to associate political preference with religious faith is not only misrepresenting a significant proportion of Northern Ireland, but trivialising cultural labels.
The general consensus being that Catholicism equals nationalism and Protestant equates to unionism not only trivialises the issue of political preference, but ignores the other faiths that are prevalent in today’s Northern Ireland. We are past that.
The flag issue that was initially marketed as unionists regaining their culture ended the moment the first petrol bomb was thrown.
The scenes that followed transcended any attempt at peaceful protesting. Instead there has been little more than intimidation, street violence and thuggery.
With the approximate figure of £7 million in policing costs and local city centre traders losing out on much-needed business during an already tough economic period, the protesters are slowly but surely destroying the very city they are claiming to be fighting for.
Many of the scenes shown during news coverage of the ‘protests’ show teenagers with their faces covered. The age of these people would lead one to imagine they have little knowledge why they are on the streets, never mind the political ramifications of their actions.
As for the future, Northern Ireland seems to be fragile; the divisions are clear for all to see.
However, we can start by acknowledging the fact that religion and political preference are separate and it is only through increased secularisation and progressive politics that we can strive to move on as a country.
Jason Murdock (writer for Atheism: Northern Ireland)