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Investing in sectarianism!

Ornage order

A new discourse, terminology and rhetoric has emerged in the new ‘Northern Ireland’ which is instantly recognisable in the newsbytes that are inflicted upon us on a daily basis. Powerful messages are disseminated through the media; in Government departments or political society; in the community and voluntary sector of civil society and in every facet of the narrow, political world in which public discourse in the six counties takes place. The view that the British Government were neutral brokers that supported two divided communities to come together in an ‘historic compromise’ which nourished the ‘new dispensation’ that is leading us all into a bright new future is strengthened in this narrative.

There was no support or even room for this kind of rhetoric during the conflict, despite the repeated attempts of the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) to force it upon us. Despite the fact that the conflict was raging, clear attempts were made to push the idea that there was a distinct ‘Northern Irish’ identity that was only hindered by a lack of understanding between the two communities in the Eighties under the banner of ‘Education for Mutual Undertanding’ (EMU) and the ‘Cultural Traditions Group.’ This is why the implementation of this long stated objective became a central negotiating strategy of the British Government during the talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. The peace process created the space for this new rhetoric and national and international recognition was given to the British Government as ‘neutral arbitrators’ and for thefalse approach to talking conflict between the ‘two communities’.

The power sharing executive was established with a political ‘carve up’ between Orange and Green. For the first time, political Unionism had to accept that the nationalist community existed and they had to be fairer regarding their discriminatory policies. A sectarian state replaced the Orange state with the principal of consent, which secures the constitutional status of the state, underpinning the whole agreement. Sectarianism was institutionalised as a state policy with requirements around ‘good relations’ and ‘shared society’ used skilfully by the authorities to undermine and destroy the very equality agenda enshrined in the agreement.

Not only does this approach not challenge sectarianism but it is actually dependent upon

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it. This fact was evidenced last week when it was announced that the Orange Order would receive a £4 million grant to established two ‘Interpretive centres’ in Belfast and Armagh. A museum would be built with this money with five people being employed full-time in these ‘Educational centres’ which will form a ‘transformational project’ to support ‘understanding, education, tolerance and mutual respect’ through ‘interpretation and creation of shared space’. It was stated that there would be a strong ‘cross-community’ element to this new ‘heritage’ project. Even though the majority of the funding came through Europe, the executives Social Development Department along with the Department of Environment and local Government in the south also gave match funding and credibility to this project.

I wonder how sectarianism

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can be eradicated when we give public money to support it. The Orange order bars catholics from becoming members and has functioned, from its inception, to develop a supremacist ideology within the unionist community. The native ‘croppy’ is given a threatening message – ‘to remind the natice out loud that he alone is master’ as Fanon said. The Orange Order played a central role in violent riotsand sectarian attacks against the nationalist community in every period throughout the last couple of centuries from 1813 and continuing onto 1832-1835 until it erupted again in 1843, 1857, 1864, 1872, 1884 and 1886.

The continued to create tensions and trouble throughout the twentieth century and continue to this day. A spotlight was shone on this same sectarianism recently with the disgraceful scenes outside St Patricks Church. There was never a period of reconciliation in which this sectarian conduct and heritage was re-visited. They are as intransigent, insolent and threatening as they have ever been. But, they have learnt the rhetoric of the new ‘Northern Ireland’ and they have derived economic benefits from it. This situation is even more ironic when you consider the poverty, unemployment and marginalisation suffered by ordinary people throughout the six counties. This is the legacy of the peace process of the sectarian state it produced.

Ornage order

D’fhorbair téarmaíocht, dioscúrsa agus reitric úr i dTuaisceart Éireann úr atá soaitheanta sna blúiriní nuachta a chaitear amach chugainn ar bhonn laethúil. Craobhscaoiltear teachtaireachtaí cumhachtacha sna meáin chumarsaide; i rannóga rialtais na sochaí polaitiúla; in earnáil dheonach agus pobail na sochaí shibhialta agus in achan gné den domhan cúng ina mhaireann dioscúrsa poiblí sna sé chontae. Déantar athrá gan staonadh ar fhocail, frásaí agus smaointe ‘coitianta’ áirithe ar nós, ‘dea-chaidrimh’, ‘sochaí roinnte’, ‘caidrimh pobail’ agus ‘athmhuintearas’. Daingnítear an tuairim gur bhróicéirí neodracha iad Rialtas na Breataine a thacaigh leis an ‘dá phobal’ scoilte teacht ar ‘chomhaontú stairiúil’ lena chéile a chothaigh ‘dispeansáid úr’ a stiúraigh muid i dtreo ré úr lán dócháis.

Ní raibh tacaíocht nó spás cuí ann don chineál seo reitrice i rith na coimhlinte bíodh is go ndearna Oifig Thuaisceart Éireann gach iarracht é a bhrú orainn. Ainneoin an chogaidh a bhí faoi lán seol, brúadh iarrachtaí soiléire den chéad uair sna hochtóidí ar nós an ‘Education for Mutual Understanding’ (EMU) agus an ‘Cultural Traditions Group’ a mhúnlaigh an tuairim go raibh féiniúlacht ‘northern Irish’ a bhí faoi chonstaic ag ‘easpa tuisceana’ idir an ‘dá phobal’. Seo an fáth a raibh cur i gcrích an chuspóra seo i gcroílár straitéis idirbheartaíochta Rialtas na Breataine do chainteanna Chomhaontú an Chéasta in 1998. D’oscail an próiseas síochána an spás don reitric úr agus tugadh aitheantas náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta do ‘neodracht’ na Breataine agus an cur chuige réitithe coimhlinte bréagach idir an ‘dá threibh’.

Bunaíodh feidhmeannas roinnte cumhachta le ‘carve-up’ polaitiúil idir Oráiste agus Glas. Bheadh ar aontachtachas polaitiúil aithint gurbh ann don phobal náisiúnach den chéad uair agus a bheith beagán níos cothroime leis an chur chuige idirdhéalaitheach s’acu. Ghlac stáitín seicteach áit an tseanstáit oráistigh le prionsabail na comhthola ag cinntiú stádas bunreachtúil an stáitín, mar bhunchloch an chomhaontaithe. Rinneadh an seicteachas a institiúidiú mar pholasaí stáit agus bréag-riachtanais ‘dea-chaidrimh’ agus ‘sochaí roinnte’ in úsáid go sciliúil ag na húdaráis chun an clár comhionannais sa chomhaontú céanna a mhaolú agus a chur ó mhaith.

Ní amháin nach gcuireann an cur chuige seo dúshlán roimh an seicteachas agus tá sé beo air. Bhí an fhíric seo le sonrú go soiléir an tseachtain seo caite nuair a fógraíodh go raibh 4 milliún punt le bronnadh ar an Ord Oraisteach chun dhá ‘ionad léirithe’ a thógáil i mBéal Feirste agus Co. Ard Mhacha. Tógfar iarsmalann leis an airgead seo agus fostófar cúigear ar bhonn lánaimseartha sna lárionaid ‘oideachasúla’ a bheas mar chuid den ‘transformational project’ chun ‘understanding, education, tolerance and mutual respect’ a chothú tríd ‘interpretation and creation of shared space’. Deirtear go mbeidh gné láidir ‘tras-phobail’ ag an tionscadal ‘oidhreachta’ úr. Bíodh is go dtáinig mórchuid an mhaoinithe ón Eoraip, thug Roinn Forbartha Sóisialta an fheidhmeannais agus agus an Roinn Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil sa Saorstát maoiniú agus creidiúint mheaitseála don togra seo.

Ní fios cén dóigh gur féidir linn an seicteachas a shárú nuair a thugtar airgead poiblí lena chothú. Cuireann an tOrd Oraisteach cosc ar bhallraíocht do Chaitlicigh agus d’fheidhmigh siad ón chéad lá ariamh chun meon uaisleachta a chothú sa phobal Aontachtach. Tugtar teachtaireacht bhagrach don ‘croppy’- ‘to remind the native out loud that he alone is master’ mar a deir Fanon. Bhí baint lárnach ag na hoird dhílseacha le círéibeacha foréigneacha agus ionsaithe seicteacha in éadan an phobail náisiúnaigh ar bhonn tréimhsiúil leis na céadta bliain ag tosnú in 1813 agus ag leanúint idir 1832-35 agus gur phléasc sé arís in 1843, 1857, 1864, 1872, 1884 agus 1886.

Lean siad orthu ag cothú teannais agus trioblóide ar feadh an fhichiú haois agus chomh fada leis an lá inniu. Síníodh an spotsholas ar an seicteachas céanna le déanaí leis na heachtraí náireacha ag Eaglais Naomh Pádraig. Ní raibh aon tréimhse athmhuintearais ann inár rinneadh athmhachnamh ar an oidhreacht agus ar an chur chuige seichteach seo. Tá siad chomh dígeanta, sotalach, agus bagrach is a bhí ariamh. Ach d’fhoghlaim siad reitric thuaisceart Éireann úr agus bhain siad tairbhí rachmasacha aisti. B’íorónach gur seo mar atá agus bochtanas, dífhostaíocht agus imeallú ag dul i dtreis don chosmhuintir ar fud na sé chontae. Seo oidhreacht an phróiseas síochána agus an stáitín sheictigh a shíolraigh as.

D’fhorbair téarmaíocht, dioscúrsa agus reitric úr i dTuaisceart Éireann úr atá soaitheanta sna blúiriní nuachta a chaitear amach chugainn ar bhonn laethúil. Craobhscaoiltear teachtaireachtaí cumhachtacha sna meáin chumarsaide; i rannóga rialtais na sochaí polaitiúla; in earnáil dheonach agus pobail na sochaí shibhialta agus in achan gné den domhan cúng ina mhaireann dioscúrsa poiblí sna sé chontae. Déantar athrá gan staonadh ar fhocail, frásaí agus smaointe ‘coitianta’ áirithe ar nós, ‘dea-chaidrimh’, ‘sochaí roinnte’, ‘caidrimh pobail’ agus ‘athmhuintearas’. Daingnítear an tuairim gur bhróicéirí neodracha iad Rialtas na Breataine a thacaigh leis an ‘dá phobal’ scoilte teacht ar ‘chomhaontú stairiúil’ lena chéile a chothaigh ‘dispeansáid úr’ a stiúraigh muid i dtreo ré úr lán dócháis.

Ní raibh tacaíocht nó spás cuí ann don chineál seo reitrice i rith na coimhlinte bíodh is go ndearna Oifig Thuaisceart Éireann gach iarracht é a bhrú orainn. Ainneoin an chogaidh a bhí faoi lán seol, brúadh iarrachtaí soiléire den chéad uair sna hochtóidí ar nós an ‘Education for Mutual Understanding’ (EMU) agus an ‘Cultural Traditions Group’ a mhúnlaigh an tuairim go raibh féiniúlacht ‘northern Irish’ a bhí faoi chonstaic ag ‘easpa tuisceana’ idir an ‘dá phobal’. Seo an fáth a raibh cur i gcrích an chuspóra seo i gcroílár straitéis idirbheartaíochta Rialtas na Breataine do chainteanna Chomhaontú an Chéasta in 1998. D’oscail an próiseas síochána an spás don reitric úr agus tugadh aitheantas náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta do ‘neodracht’ na Breataine agus an cur chuige réitithe coimhlinte bréagach idir an ‘dá threibh’.

Bunaíodh feidhmeannas roinnte cumhachta le ‘carve-up’ polaitiúil idir Oráiste agus Glas. Bheadh ar aontachtachas polaitiúil aithint gurbh ann don phobal náisiúnach den chéad uair agus a bheith beagán níos cothroime leis an chur chuige idirdhéalaitheach s’acu. Ghlac stáitín seicteach áit an tseanstáit oráistigh le prionsabail na comhthola ag cinntiú stádas bunreachtúil an stáitín, mar bhunchloch an chomhaontaithe. Rinneadh an seicteachas a institiúidiú mar pholasaí stáit agus bréag-riachtanais ‘dea-chaidrimh’ agus ‘sochaí roinnte’ in úsáid go sciliúil ag na húdaráis chun an clár comhionannais sa chomhaontú céanna a mhaolú agus a chur ó mhaith.

Ní amháin nach gcuireann an cur chuige seo dúshlán roimh an seicteachas agus tá sé beo air. Bhí an fhíric seo le sonrú go soiléir an tseachtain seo caite nuair a fógraíodh go raibh 4 milliún punt le bronnadh ar an Ord Oraisteach chun dhá ‘ionad léirithe’ a thógáil i mBéal Feirste agus Co. Ard Mhacha. Tógfar iarsmalann leis an airgead seo agus fostófar cúigear ar bhonn lánaimseartha sna lárionaid ‘oideachasúla’ a bheas mar chuid den ‘transformational project’ chun ‘understanding, education, tolerance and mutual respect’ a chothú tríd ‘interpretation and creation of shared space’. Deirtear go mbeidh gné láidir ‘tras-phobail’ ag an tionscadal ‘oidhreachta’ úr. Bíodh is go dtáinig mórchuid an mhaoinithe ón Eoraip, thug Roinn Forbartha Sóisialta an fheidhmeannais agus agus an Roinn Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil sa Saorstát maoiniú agus creidiúint mheaitseála don togra seo.

Ní fios cén dóigh gur féidir linn an seicteachas a shárú nuair a thugtar airgead poiblí lena chothú. Cuireann an tOrd

Oraisteach cosc ar bhallraíocht do Chaitlicigh agus d’fheidhmigh siad ón chéad lá ariamh chun meon uaisleachta a chothú sa phobal Aontachtach. Tugtar teachtaireacht bhagrach don ‘croppy’- ‘to remind the native out loud that he alone is master’ mar a deir Fanon. Bhí baint lárnach ag na hoird dhílseacha le círéibeacha foréigneacha agus ionsaithe seicteacha in éadan an phobail náisiúnaigh ar bhonn tréimhsiúil leis na céadta bliain ag tosnú in 1813 agus ag leanúint idir 1832-35 agus gur phléasc sé arís in 1843, 1857, 1864, 1872, 1884 agus 1886.

Lean siad orthu ag cothú teannais agus trioblóide ar feadh an fhichiú haois agus chomh fada leis an lá inniu. Síníodh an spotsholas ar an seicteachas céanna le déanaí leis na heachtraí náireacha ag Eaglais Naomh Pádraig. Ní raibh aon tréimhse athmhuintearais ann inár rinneadh athmhachnamh ar an oidhreacht agus ar an chur chuige seichteach seo. Tá siad chomh dígeanta, sotalach, agus bagrach is a bhí ariamh. Ach d’fhoghlaim siad reitric thuaisceart Éireann úr agus bhain siad tairbhí rachmasacha aisti. B’íorónach gur seo mar atá agus bochtanas, dífhostaíocht agus imeallú ag dul i dtreis don chosmhuintir ar fud na sé chontae. Seo oidhreacht an phróiseas síochána agus an stáitín sheictigh a shíolraigh as.

 

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