Saturday, June 04, 2011

The Marching Season


In Northern Ireland, every year on July 12th, the radical Protestant "Orangemen" march to commemorate the 1690 victory of the Protestant King "Billy" (William of Orange) over the Catholic King James II. In the days of the "troubles", when Protestants and Catholics were literally at each others throats, there were many marches on July 12 and on the days leading up to it - and the militant Protestants would make a point of marching through Catholic neighbourhoods and taunting them - as if to say "we won that battle and now we rule this land and you Catholics have no standing." Predictably riots would break out and often people would be killed. Early July thus became know as the Marching Season, and was looked forward to with dread by anyone who cared about peace and co-existence in Northern Ireland. Eventually, when London put Ulster under direct rule, one of the first things it did was re-route the marches away from Catholic neighbourhoods.

One wonders if, even in the most hateful times in Northern Ireland, the Orange marchers shouted taunts like "Death to the Papists!", "Mary is Dead!", or "May Your Neigbourhoods Burn!" as they marched through the Catholic neighbourhoods. And own wonders if the British Army came out to protect the marchers as they shouted these taunts at the Catholic residents.

In early June 1967, Israel defeated the Arabs in the Six Day War, and on June 7 (28th of Iyyar by the Hebrew Calendar) Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem. Every year since has been celebrated as an official Israeli holiday. In past several years the holiday had been marked by marches by Israeli nationalists through the Arab neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem. Each year there is taunting. This year's march reached new heights (or depths) of taunting and intimidation. The marchers - 10s of thousands according the the Jerusalem Post - shout and sing slogans like "Death to Arabs", "Mohamed is Dead" and "May Your Villages Burn." The police and army protect the marchers as they pass through Arab neighbourhoods. of Knesset march with the shouting crowds, and cabinet ministers address the rally at the beginning of the march. Members You can read about it in the Jerusalem Post, but then do watch the video above. You really have to see it to believe it.

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