Friday, 29 July 2005

From One Conflict to the Next

I have just read this about the IRA's declaration to stop their armed campaign. Yes, it is great news. Yes, it is probably a historical move. Yes it is something we should all rejoyce in and support.

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of performing with the Chorus in Belfast's Waterfront Studio. It was part of our tour of the Bristish Isles. We had performed to a sold out National Concert Hall in Dublin the night before. The venue was smallish and almost half-empty. What made all the difference and makes this gig one of my strongest memories with the Chorus (stronger than singing at the Sydney Opera House with 500 other chorists or at the QEH several times) was that outside the venue, there was a bunch of 20 or so demonstrators calling themselves Christians Against Sodomy (I have actually blogged about this before).

Those people or their friends were after Belfast's Pride Parade recently; calling for it to be banned. Last year they had created a website which URL mirrored closely the offical one for the parade.
An email was circulated recently asking people to email the Parade Commission in support of Pride and thankfully sense seems to have prevailed: Pride will now go ahead.

The worrying thing here is that since the inter-religious conflict has lost momentum in the past few years, belligerent instincts in the province seem to have shifted onto minority groups: ethnic minorities (which are truly minorities over there) are not in a happy position at the moment. And of course Gay people are under attack too with homophobia reaching an
all time high
. Attacks on people and their homes are happening more and more frequently something the main stream media do not seem very eager to report or the politicians to tackle. As ever, should we add...

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