Cold, grey, soggy.
Time to gather the thermals, the hats and scarves, and the tambourine.
We gathered. We milled about, chatting , huddling, small folk getting bored.
At 12.55, for five minutes, we made ourselves heard. A small portion of the NI “silent majority” let rip.
There were shaky things, drums, biscuit tins, whistles, horns, trumpets and a didgeridoo.
Cheering and clapping. Whooping
I’ve been protesting about whatever you’ve got for years; in truth I’ve never had such fun doing it. But. But. But…
What are we doing?
Belfast is headlining national news again. There are riots, water cannon and plastic bullets. These affect us all, even if we live a few miles away, mostly untroubled. The huge problems in our society, those problems that politicians try to ignore, are making themselves forcefully felt. The protests are nominally about a flag, but are about alienation, the loss of power and status. People who traditionally had no need to value education or political involvement feel that they’ve been left behind as NI has moved on. Local politicians used this, deliberately provoked the anger, and then walked away, washed their hands as the situation mushroomed out of control. Disgraceful behaviour. The result of years of sectarian voting and political arrogance.
A didgeridoo, my tambourine and few drums. What do we think we can change?
Maybe, just maybe, we can remind the world that there’s more to Belfast than protestors literally using a flag to beat the police with.