All this over a flag?

Wow, Northern Ireland. Wow.
I think it’s time someone told the nation to “calm their bap“, and “haul on“.
(For those of you not ‘in the know’, that’s some Northern Irish slang for “calm down” and “hold on”.)

Things have got a little crazy as of late and I have a few words to say on the matter.

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I’m not sure if the news has left Northern Ireland so, for those of you who don’t know, here’s a break down of the problems:

  1. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (I figure someone is bound to read this who doesn’t know that already).
  2. There’s a lot of people who think it shouldn’t be, and a lot who feel very strongly about the fact that it is (I suggest you type ‘The Troubles’ into Wikipedia to understand this a bit better).
  3. Last week Belfast City Council voted that the Union Flag (that big blue, red, and white one) should no longer be flown at City Hall 365 days a year, but rather on 17 specially designated days.
  4. This angered quite a few people who really like the whole union thing.
  5. The Alliance Party, who are basically a very middle-ground kind of party, are the ones who were mostly in support of the change to only flying the flag on 17 days of the year.
  6. Since the public got hold of this information there have loyalist (those loyal to the union) protests all across the country, the first one at Belfast City Hall on Monday night, where people tried to break down the doors during a council meeting, injuring police officers and members of the press.
  7. Now, members of the Alliance party have been threatened out of their homes, with certain MPs receiving death threats, and constituency offices in Belfast and Carrickfergus have been set on fire.

The saddest part is that I’m not surprised by these attacks. It’s pretty easy to anger a lot of people in Northern Ireland when it comes to politics, but this doesn’t mean that I support this. Oh, dear goodness, I think this behaviour is atrocious.

You’d think that after The Troubles people would have learnt their lesson, that violence isn’t the answer. But the problem here is tradition, people believing that violence IS the only way, when all it does is make this country look like a bunch of savages. There’s still people who believe that Northern Ireland is a war zone. The sad thing is that everyone’s always going to have an opinion, and that a lot of those people want to stay in the dark ages. Fair enough, you like the union, I like the economy that we have because of the union, but that doesn’t mean I’m about to go out and protest because the union flag isn’t being flown on Belfast City Hall 365 days a year.

A lot of people blame the divide in Northern Ireland on religion, when it is 100% down to politics. The people protesting don’t call themselves Protestants and Catholics because they love Jesus, they call themselves that because it’s how they were brought up, and because that’s the side that the political party they support is on. But, then again, religion is nothing to do with having a relationship with God. Religion is strict, with lots of rules and orders to follow, a relationship with God is having  a best friend who makes you want to be a better person because He loves you so much and that love makes you want to love others. So I guess it is religion, but a lot of people mistake the two for one another.

I wish I could believe that Northern Ireland would be different one day, that eventually situations like this will barely get any attention, and I know that God can change this country, but I’m not sure if I’ll see it in my life time.


One thought on “All this over a flag?

  1. Pingback: Northern Ireland, December 2012 – January 2013: The Low Down. | Following the Northern Star

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