The video clip attached gives an insight into the issue of Orange Order marches in the Occupied Six Counties (OSC) of Ireland, and the conflict that follows them. It centres around a demand by a quasi-political, quasi-religious, anachronistic Protestant fraternity to march through a Catholic area where local residents did not want them.
The Orange Order is a sectarian organisation. It is strictly Protestant, yet that is not what makes it sectarian. It is anti-Catholic, and it is this element of the fraternity that causes the most offence. The Order conducts more than 1000 marches every year in an area where the population is less than 2 million, serving a Unionist population of approx. 900,000.
Many of these marches take place in Catholic areas, along Catholic streets, in Catholic towns. Imagine allowing the Ku Klux Klan to march repeatedly through mostly black areas of the US. That is what those from the Catholic community have had to endure for more than 200 years. It continues today.
The ‘Marching Season’ will be starting here soon. It runs throughout the summer. Although not as bad as it used to be, there are still too many marches where triumphalist bigots stomp their way over the rights of those who have no part in the order. Anti-Catholics are still antagonizing the Catholic people of the OSC. In the past, the government was run by members of the Orange Order. They claimed that it was a ‘Protestant state for a Protestant people’, not the most welcoming message that any government has ever made.
In the following video clip, you will see a banner with the initials ‘U.F.F’ on it. The refers to the Ulster Freedom Fighters, who were a pro-British, sectarian murder gang. There is no one in the clip who challenges the presence of such a banner as it sits all too comfortably with the mindset of those in the Orange Order. The Order had, as members, businessmen, politicians, clergy, ‘police’, members of the British Army, teachers and just about every other walk of life was represented.
Such was the mentality of those in the Order, that they saw nothing wrong with being members of a sectarian organisation. Many still feel that way, although their numbers have decreased radically.
In 1998, members of the UVF, a Unionist paramilitary group similar in nature to the UFF, carried out a petrol bomb attack on the house of a mixed-faith (Catholic and Protestant) family, during the Drumcree protests (referenced in the video). In that horrific incident, three children died. They were, Richard (11), Mark (10) and Jason (9) Quinn. The children were, as all children are, innocent. Yet those who supported the Orange Order, and the Order’s demands to continue to ignore the rights of Catholics, cared little for the rights of the children.
After the murders, many within the Unionist community became sickened by it all, and membership declined. Yet, today, there are still tens of thousands of members of the sectarian Orange Order. Many are those who would deem themselves to be ‘respectable’ members of society.
Acceptance of the Order – and other organisations of similar nature – is institutionalized within the region. The Order also has ‘lodges’ in Scotland, England, Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand and west Africa. They are all sectarian.
I ask that you spare a thought for those who, today, still must endure the abuse of having the Orange Order march aggressively through their areas, as they play their songs of bigotry and chant their sectarian refrains.
Yet long runs the fox…