Perhaps this time of year we’ve become so accustomed to cult hatred that we tolerate it. Well, we shouldn’t.
KAT’ (Kill All Taigs), declared the placards on several Eleventh Night bonfires: a rallying cry to ethnically cleanse nearly half the population here.
In no other part of the UK would it be acceptable to encourage the killing of people because of their religion.
Imagine the outrage in Britain when crowds gathered for a “cultural event” around a blazing pyre emblazoned with “KAJ” (Kill all Jews) or “KAM” (Kill all Muslims).
A collective eye wouldn’t turn a blind eye to such hate speech in Birmingham or Bradford, so why should they be in Belfast?
How do such genocidal slogans fit into what is often presented as a family-friendly occasion?
Does the call to slaughter every Catholic man, woman and child embrace diversity and inclusivity?
“All Taigs are Targets” read the slogan above a crosshair image on the Cregagh Beacon.
A few inches away, sexism met sectarianism with another poster that read “Michelle O’Neill Fenian Slut”. Above it hung campaign posters by Alliance’s Naomi Long and Peter McReynolds.
The Highfield campfire was also decorated with hate messages. Sinn Fein’s Gary McCleave said his children had stumbled upon the images on social media and wanted to know “why their father was lying on a campfire to be cremated”.
Election posters of two candidates in West Belfast Assembly elections appeared on the Glencairn bonfire, along with a ‘KAT’ sign.
Campfire builders are clearly not making irony. The two politicians singled out are those whose cross-community efforts have been tremendous.
SDLP’s Paul Doherty runs a food bank and regularly helps people in Glencairn and the greater Shankill area.
He has provided essential supplies such as cereal, rice, pasta and chicken to help families on both sides of the Peace Line feed their children. Gas and electricity vouchers as well as school uniforms were also supplied to provide relief in the cost of living crisis.
Paul doesn’t just drop the packages and run away. He often spends afternoons chatting at the doors of those he helps.
Yesterday he was deluged with messages from people who said they were “shocked and ashamed” that his posters were hanging on the Glencairn bonfire. “Not in our name,” they told him.
People Before Profit’s Gerry Carroll passionately supported Caterpillar workers in their recent strike and even petitioned to call the meeting to discuss it.
The company’s Belfast factory is two miles from the campfire and many of its workers are from the union community, including some from Glencairn.
Carroll noted the “deafening silence of many union leaders in the face of this type of sectarian intimidation”.
He’s right: it’s time for leadership. UUP leader Doug Beattie has made his views unequivocal, but the same has not been true of many other senior figures in the labor movement.
Of course, such pathological sectarian displays are not reserved for just one community. In recent years the names of murdered prison and police officers have been placed on the Bogside bonfire in August.
Brainless idiots saw fit to celebrate the deaths of Ronan Kerr, Stephen Carroll, David Black and Adrian Ismay.
In Newry, a bonfire was adorned with offensive messages, including one celebrating the deaths of 18 soldiers at Narrow Water (“18 Brits Torn to Pieces”) and another mocking the late IRA victim activist Willie Frazer (“Join your there in hell, Willie”.
Sinn Fein is firmly opposed to August bonfires. Those on the ground in the Republican areas must work exhaustively to ensure there is no repeat of such shows of sectarian hatred over the next month.
The most depressing thing about Monday night’s plethora of “KAT” signs is that the younger generation is growing up with this bigotry and venom around them.
Almost a quarter of a century has passed since the Good Friday Agreement. Gathering around a burning pyre and celebrating the call to wipe out your neighbors doesn’t keep up with the times.
https://www.independent.ie/news/were-so-used-to-sectarian-hatred-that-we-tolerate-it-in-no-other-part-of-uk-would-calls-for-murder-be-acceptable-41836346.html We are so used to sectarian hatred that we tolerate it… in no other part of Britain would incitement to murder be acceptable