Thursday, 10 January 2013

Peace & Riot.

The Troubles in Northern Ireland began shortly after I was born. Then, not long after I left, the Good Friday Agreement was signed, the Provisional IRA ceased to exist and peace was finally declared in Northern Ireland. Since I've returned there has been rioting almost every night on the streets of Belfast. I can't help but begin to take it personally.

There are only two things that I genuinely hate about Northern Ireland. One is the overuse of the word "wee". Not every single thing in the entire world is wee. At Tesco, the woman at the till said "Would you like a wee bag? Do you have a wee reward card? You get money off your two wee bags of rice". Look, it's just not charming when it's constant. It makes my blood boil. I just wanted to scream at her "THIS BAG IS NOT WEE. IT'S THE SAME SIZE AS ALL THE OTHER BAGS HERE. MY REWARD CARD ISN'T WEE. IT'S THE SAME SIZE AS ALL THE OTHER REWARD CARDS. I'LL SHOW YOU WHAT'S WEE". and then I'd just stare at her while pissing my pants. "GO ON. WHAT'S THAT?", I would shout. "WHAT DO YOU CALL THAT? WHAT IS IT? NO. NOT PISS. IT'S WEE. GO ON. SAY WEE PROPERLY FOR ONCE IN YOUR FUCKING LIFE. WEE. WEE. WEE!" Then I'd smugly walk out of the shop and all the way home knowing that I'd shown her. The second thing I hate about Northern Ireland is patriotism.

Patriotism is never attractive and all countries suffer from patriotic idiots. England has arseholes that watch the flotilla and wave flags with a Korean mobile phone companies logo on the back and say things like "We do this better than anywhere else in the world" forgetting completely that nowhere else would do it because it's tedious. America's peak of patriotism is the phrase "Support Our Troops", a phrase that clearly means all American soldiers except the ones who lost the Vietnam war. In Northern Ireland there are a select group of patriots who show the extent of their national pride by throwing bricks and shouting "cunt" at police.

And it is a select group. Not that many at all. But it's just enough to scare people from going to Belfast and to put fear into the exact same communities they claim to represent. The Union flag is now only being flown on select days at Belfast City Hall. It used to be permanent. This move has angered many Loyalists who show their anger by saying things like "I wish that wasn't the case" or updating their Facebook status to a sad face emoticon. You have every right to want a flag to fly if that's really what you want. What you have no right to do is lose your shit and start hurting people. Sadly, this small group of clearly insane bastards think that this is the only way to show their loyalty to a flag. But don't worry, everyone, because I have come up with a solution.

Let the Union flag fly permanently at City Hall.

It's just a flag. Who gives a shit about it? It can't hurt you in anyway and that flag is flapping around this country so much anyway, would anyone notice another one? I've just got more important things to think about than a flag. I have some sort of life to lead. If a flag is a problem then just let it flap around. I can understand that some people might be offended by a Union flag permanently flying at City Hall but I have a solution for them too: don't worry about it. It's just a flag. A load of cry-babies can't live without their safety flag so just give to them and shut them up. There's no way AT ALL it will make a single iota of a difference to my life. Flag away.

I'm not one to give in to the demands of anyone who uses violence, of course. All I know is that no one gave a fuck about that flag flying majestically and proudly above City Hall until they found out it was being removed. So put it back. Then we'll see if this was all about national pride or, as most suspect, idiots who just want to destroy. Either way, it's bad really. If anyone says that they "love" a flag then they really need to take a long hard look at themselves. A flag isn't a person. It's a cold, meaningless tag, just like any other logo. Why would anyone want to be British or Irish over being themselves? You didn't choose where you were born so why the automatic pride in it? And if you are stupid enough to think that displaying a flag shows your devotion and pride in your country over actually doing something to contribute to your country then you're pretty much the reason why the country's shit. It's just a flag. No matter how high you wave it your country owes you nothing and your elected representatives will always hate you. And that's the worst part of it. Always violent idiots showing their pride in their country and never once considering that their country is ashamed of them. Poor people getting wrapped up in their support of the rich.

I look forward to being pointed out how wrong I am. I may well be.

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Anonymous said...

It's seldom that I would agree with a personal opinion of another man, since opinions can be so divided. however i find myself nodding in agreement with 90% of what you said. like you i'm a infuriated that these people are getting on their high horses over a flag! as an Irishman born in London living in Dublin myself i still find both sides of the troubles utterly pointless in 2013. they are as you say idiots, complete fucking idiots on either side willing to start over nothing. i'm just glad i read your blog and found someone with a similar opinion to mine. i got absolutely slated on Facebook last night for putting a status up about the whole thing. i merely said that i don't think the union flag protesters should protest in Dublin as the Republic of Ireland is a separate entity from the united kingdom and that any acts of violence carried out in Dublin would utterly baffle me .... oh boy did i get told! apparently i'm not allowed comment because i'm english born ... i think i'm having an identity crisis !! haha, thanks again for such a good read, I felt the passion in your rant. Also your right being true to yourself is far more important than be loyal to a flag, country, ideology, set of beliefs, and traditions because without people we would have none of these things.

p.s I think the northern Irish flag should fly instead :P

Paulo Ferreira said...

I agree. Let the flag fly permanently. But add another pole... and on the days that the Union Jack was not supposed to be there, just put the Republic one, side by side!

Anonymous said...

Hey, how about flying the flag of Europe instead? We can all agree on that right? *puts on hard hat and runs away*

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing a campaign to have a Tayto Crisps flag flying on city hall - that should surely unite the nation!

Paulo Ferreira said...

Tayto flag? For sure knowing the people and "tradition", a splinter group or two would emerge immediately requesting equal representation for walkers and seabrook. The mccoys faction is notoriously vicious so I've heard...

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