So, we have had the annual Twelfth parades. Called marches here. Celebrating when a dutchman came and conquered the Irish for the British Crown. This means locally that it is a "loyalist" and a "protestant" event. There are organization and lodges all over that are into this bit of history and like celebrating it. See...N.Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom and loyal to the Crown.
So..they get pipe and drum bands together, and wear pretty sashes and carry large banners through local towns. This is all known. They do it every year. And every year there are problems. You see, there is "the other side". People...sometimes known as "republicans" or "catholics"... don't like the idea of the pretty bands marching through the towns one weekend per year. Or something.
So what's the deal?
The deal is that both sides are stubborn. Yes, sure..have the marches! They're actually nice to watch when they're all dressed up! But let's be realistic. Don't try to hold them in overly sensitive neighborhoods. Be intelligent about where you want to march, as you know there is the small minority of people who don't feel the same.
It is a tough call. Freedom of expression shouldn't be denied simply because others don't like what you have to say. But you have to be smart about where/when/how you express yourself.
It is "the other side" that causes MOST of the problems. You see, the silly few think that an acceptable response to the marches is to throw things. Dangerous things. A 4-year-old was hit in the head with a full pint-sized can of beer. Police officers were mortally wounded...one being hit in the head with a chunk of masonry. The protesters are a violent lot. Very violent. They cover their faces while they throw lit malatov cocktails. And then they get angry when the police responds with water cannons, riot gear, and as a last resort...rubber bullets.
Everyone knows what happens. And it appears to the vast majority of us on-lookers that no one is doing anything about it. But what CAN you do? Do you stop the marches? Can neither side of the screw-ball religious/political spectrum have a parade?
I don't know. But I do know that this country has laws and if you break 'em, you should be punished. Marching is NOT against the law. Throwing dangerous objects with the intent to do harm, however, is.
My draconian solution: send the "dissident" republicans south. They want so much to be a part of the Irish Republic...send 'em over. And as for those on the loyalist side who play the same game when the roles are reversed... lock 'em up. Yep, they are loyal to Queen and Country, so should be subject to local UK law. These types of people are a blight on society. And we all know what we do with blight...we eradicate it.
Will it work? Of course not. But it might let the rest of us enjoy this Province more! ;)