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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Monday 15 July 2013

Branding Belfast

Loyalist rioters prepare to attack riot police in the Woodvale area of North Belfast on Saturday.

I'm looking at the pictures, I'm reading the words - those don't look like Protestant protesters to me.  The look like frustrated kids of the variety that have been told to get a job or fight for their country or eat cake over the centuries.

I do not write this frivolously; throughout history, attempts to lump problem groups under one brand have tended to create much larger problems (that will wreak havoc and then break down into disparate groups again, causing further chaos).  Of course, justifying the overlooking of marginalized communities through an "us" and "them" narrative doesn't work so well, either - that's what leads to the disenfranchisement in the first place.

It really comes down to this - people want to feel like they belong and that their lives have value.  This is the choice the leaders of any society ultimately needs to make - do you want to reach out to the people, or have them stand against you?  Guaranteed that, time and again, it will always come down to one or the other.

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