The Blanket

How Quickly We Forget

George R. Young

In reading The Observer at the weekend I was drawn to the headline by the Irish Editor Henry McDonald: "How my daughter was cast into a maelstrom of hatred" dated Sunday 9th November 2003. In it Mr McDonald is actually reviewing the BBC's new drama about the loyalist protest at Holy Cross Primary School, in which his daughter is cast in one of the leading children's roles.

In it Mr McDonald gives a reasonably glowing review to the drama (surprise, surprise) and goes on to say "I thought it would be an opportunity for her to learn, but was determined that she wouldn't finish the project with negative feelings about Protestants." Obviously Mr McDonald has some admirable traits.

But there are a few facts that I would like to point out to him.

The loyalist population who took part in the protest directed their obscenities, i.e: throwing balloons filled with urine, spitting and waving pornographic pictures at children, and from this obscene protest won improvements in their social stucture and their security situation, with a higher RUC presence in the Upper Ardoyne.

For the ten years prior to the Holy Cross protest, the Catholic population of North Belfast had been asking for the same higher police presence, due to the high percentage of sectarian murders committed against them. The Oldpark betting shop in which three people were killed and the murder of Gerald O'Hara, are but two incidents which spring to mind, without any sign of improvement in their security. It is worth remembering that six of the city's thirteen supposed peacelines were situated in this part of the city which anyone would have thought would have necessitated a higher RUC presence. Indeed, it is also worth pointing out that there were Protestants who were mistaken for Catholics and killed because of the close proximity of the two rival factions.

One more thing that is not mentioned in Mr McDonald's review is the timing of the broadcast of the programme. Could it be something to do with the elections?

Oh, and one last thing Mr McDonald, your headline should have read, "How (I) cast my daughter into a maelstrom of hatred."







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