There have been three consecutive nights of rioting in Northern Ireland, mostly in and around our two largest cities – Belfast and Derry/Londonderry. Do you notice I have given the latter city two names? That’s because I don’t want to offend people from either the unionist or nationalist communities. It would take me several blogs to explain the reasons for this. Let’s just say it’s complicated.
Most of those who are involved are probably too young to recall why they are rioting while the orchestrators lurk in the shadows, pulling the strings and avoiding the spotlight. There have been multiple arrests and dozens of police officers injured. It’s a return to the bad old days. The large majority of the population don’t want to return to those days but a nasty, noisy minority seem determined to drag us back there, kicking and screaming.
Our political leaders do nothing but add fuel to the fires, blaming each other for the unrest but doing very little to resolve the situation. They tend to go AWOL at times like this when we need them most. It’s little wonder that Northern Ireland is coming out of lockdown slowest of all the countries in the United Kingdom. People are becoming angrier but will this sway them from their traditional tribal bonds when the next elections come around?
It’s difficult to be positive when the world is such a negative place at present, and my particular corner of it is no exception. I awake and watch the news, burning vehicles and petrol bombs flying through the air. Sometimes I think the whole world is burning as we helplessly stand by and watch. Is this what Hell looks like, a premonition of what lies ahead? Or are we already there, judged and condemned, never to escape?