Teach your children well

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 08.57.58

Much has been made of the recent clash between members of a loyalist band or its supporters with members of the PSNI. Two policemen in the Ormeau area were injured,  but the thing that got headline news was the claim that several children had been hurt with pepper spray, presumably fired by the police.

No doubt the truth of what happened will eventually emerge (OK, maybe not); but a more interesting question is: what were the children doing there? Either they were part of the band or they were closely associated with it. Which brings to mind unionist cries of ‘Child abuse!’ just three years ago, when there were claims that children were dressed in paramilitary style as part of a ‘dissident’ republican march.

So should we condemn this induction of children into the loyalties and affinities of adults? I remember at one point interviewing Chris McGimpsey, a man I’ve always liked and even admired. In the course of the interview he mentioned the induction of his son into the Orange Order and how proud it made him feel. I was genuinely shocked  – it did seem at best the manipulation of helpless children’s hearts and minds.

That was over twenty years ago. I’m not so sure anymore. If that is child abuse, then virtually every society on earth is guilty of child abuse. Americans teach children to pledge allegiance to the flag. English children are taught to respect British values. Children attending Catholic schools are encouraged to retain the Catholic faith. Likewise Muslim schools, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides – every society has values and practices that it strongly believes should be handed on. Even live-and-let-live liberals are keen that their children adopt a live-and-let-live philosophy.

So it’s not really the involvement of children at loyalist band parades or republican commemorations that is the problem. It’d be an odd parent who didn’t want their children to share their world view. The point at issue is the content of what is being passed on. If it’s bigotry and hatred of others who don’t share your thinking, the implanting of such thinking in the minds of young children might indeed be declared corruption or abuse. If on the other hand it involves the passing on of sincerely-held and positive values, then it’s both inevitable and desirable.

The thing is, which of the groups and organisations in our society feed contempt and triumphalism, and which promote respect and justice? Discuss.

18 Responses to Teach your children well

  1. fiosrach March 31, 2016 at 9:36 am #

    Cast your mind back to the attacks on catholic children at Holy Cross when it was the parents fault for exposing their children to danger. And they were going to school, not being introduced into a life of bigotry and intolerance.

    • Ryan April 1, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

      I was watching clips of that the other day on youtube Fiosrach. What a disgusting and shameful display from Unionism/Loyalism. Loyalists were even throwing blast bombs at these children. Even PUP’s Billy Hutchinson said “I’m ashamed to be a Loyalist by what I seen today”. He was genuinely angry and disgusted, as you could clearly see from his reaction, he even walked away from the reporter.

      For some reason, and I remember the leader of the residents group near St Patrick’s Chapel in Belfast saying the same on the Nolan radio show, the Loyalist women are far worse than the men when it comes to sectarianism.

      The cameras at Holycross caught groups of Loyalist woman screaming, literally screaming til they were red in the face, at the Catholic children on their way to school. They were screaming sectarian abuse, such as (pardon my language) “You fuckin fenian bastards! you fuckin fenian SCUM!” then chanting “Scum, Scum, Scum!” as the line of Catholic children went to school. I always remember one big fat Loyalist woman actually leaning over a fence and screaming abuse at these kids, she was like a wild woman. The Police even pushed her back.

      I was actually the same age as these kids who went to Holycross school. It was in 2001 and I was 11, in my last year of primary school. I remember the scenes on TV. I wasn’t afraid, I was more angry and I realized the hatred Loyalists have for Catholics isn’t just for Catholic grown up’s, its for the Catholic children too. I’m sure i wasn’t the only Catholic child who realized that by the scenes of the Holycross incident on TV.

      It wasn’t any republican that had my 11 year old self thinking that way, it was Loyalists/Unionists themselves.

  2. James.Hunter March 31, 2016 at 9:54 am #


    • Jude Collins March 31, 2016 at 11:37 am #


  3. Iolar March 31, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    On the one hand, President Michael D Higgins described the 1916 leaders as:

    “advanced thinkers, selfless women and men, who took all the risks to ensure that the children of Ireland would, in the future live in freedom and access their fair share of prosperity”

    On the other hand, it has been suggested that the leaders in 1916 were involved in the struggle just for the glory.

    A desire to ensure that the children of Ireland should live in a prosperous country is a more appropriate way to foster good relationships.

  4. billy March 31, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    implanting such things in the minds of young children…..
    ime sure the children of the holy cross having bottles of pish threw at them by adults as they tried to get to school will be remembered by them as bigotry and hatred.

  5. Perkin Warbeck March 31, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    To discuss the topic du jour/ sceal an lae, Esteemed Blogmeister, one finds oneself referring back to a query you posed a few blogs back. The one to do with the question of whether it is the political class or the media that wields the more influence.

    Down here in the Banano Republic there is no need to agonise for more than a face-saving nano second. The answer, of course, is a draw. Fact is, both the politicians (sans Sinn Fein) and the homogeneous hackitariat draw from the same poisoned well.

    Not only do they work hand in no glove, in this, the era of the spin doctor – another sad example of the turmoil into which the health service has tumbled – but they are as thick as thieves as well. Inept kleptomaniacs who are constantly being caught with their hands in the internet cookie jar.

    And of these two equals there is no doubt which is the more equal – the media. For it is from the panjandrums of the Raj media that the maj of the parents imbibe those cultural values which they then pass on to their offspring.

    This very day is the day when dog owners down here south of the Black Sow’s Dyke need to get their pets implanted with micro-chips. This is a reverse of what has been going on for decades down here – the watch-dogs of society have been implanting their micro-chips into the shoulders of their non-blog reading clientele. The majority of whom, in turn, of course, go on to do ditto with the own children and other pets.

    There is a moment of pure magic in the fillum Annie Hall when the wunnerful Woodie Allen has a row in a cinema queue with the guy next in line, as a bemused Diane Keaton looks on, not. It is as quirky a sketch as ever her namesake but no relation, Buster ever pulled off. (The actresses’s actual name was Diane Hall).

    The row revolved around the next in line guy talking so loud to his partner that he ended up spitting in Woodie’s ear. And it just wasn’t the technique of his delivery but also the contents of the message which he was massaging which had Woody wishing out loud he ‘had a stocking of horse manoor’ in his grip to sock the guy over the head.

    As the thesis of the Next in Line segued from Fellini through Beckett the tipping point was reached when the theories of media analyist Marshal McLuhan were broached. This is when Woody took issue and to prove his point, walked across the cinema foyer, pushed aside a stand alone board advertising the forthcoming movies to reveal – Marshal McLuhan, e fein, the man himself. Who went on to demolish the Next in Line’s theories and clinched the argument for Woodie.

    Who then plaintively gazed at the camera:

    -If only real life could be like this.

    In a different context, Woodie was once quoted as follows;

    -In real life, Diane Keaton believes in God. But she also believes that the radio works because it has little people working inside it.

    In the Global Village of Marshal McLuhan the goggle box used to be king but now Google is beginning to challenge its hegemony, which has enabled the box to hog the brainwaves for too long.

    In this back hack lane of the Global Village known as the Free Southern Stateen, the radio of RTE truly works. With such tiny-minded notice boxes as Sir Bob Gelding of Bitsoff being given free rein to neigh his narky nay-saying malarkey on 1916 of late.

    It is not only on RTE that Gobnait McLuhancy thrives; her conventional claw prints are to be found all over the paper tiger wing of RTE this very day and on the double too, here in Dublin.

    Last August, Fermanagh gave Dublin a right good rattle in the All-Ireland quarter football final in their Croke Park cage. Today, it might be said, Fermanagh were given a chance to gain revenge, courtesy of The Unionist Times (for it is it!). Which august organ of record thoughtfully provided a Hop-on Hop-off tour bus to a pair of gender-equal sight-seers from the Land of Lakes.

    First to hop-off was An Buachaill on Eirne with a suitably wet , waterlogged opening line, dripping with disdain, moist with an admittedly mellowed Maharajah mindset.
    Under the tentative title ‘The link from Pearse to Vinnie Ryan cannot be ignored’, the apologetic opening line slithered out with a go-by-the-wall sort of indecisiveness:

    -Let me rain on the parade.

    But, of course, a Boyd never flew on one wing, not even one by the name of Wesley , former Head of News in (gulp) RTE. So, even as he bashfully hopped back on the Hop-on Hop-off bus, a Fermanagh female was seen to hop off . This replacement of a, erm, Fear Manach by a Bean Manach indicated that it wasn’t just raining men from the Land of Lakes but drizzling dolls. It this case, An Cailin on Eirne:

    -The 1916 leaders were egotists, who were only doing it to bring glory on themselves.

    Thus whispered the shy, coy, self-effacing ,psychoanalytic Arlene Foster (for it is she !) through the splayed fingers of her unfamiliar face-covering hand. Before sheepishly hopping back on the courtesy Hop-on Hop-off bus which rhymes not only with hysteria but also with, erm, hope.

    Why, one almost expected to see that world authority on, erm, conflict resolution, the Black Widow of Ballnamallard to be the next to hop off. But , alas, it wasn’t to be.

    Still, with The Unionist Times, hope-on, hope-off springs eternal.

    • Jude Collins March 31, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

      ” Sir Bob Gelding of Bitsoff” – Prix de Jour…

      • Perkin Warbeck April 2, 2016 at 7:40 am #

        There goes your Knighthood, EB.

        Elizardbeth is not amused.

        Seems like the only walking backwards you’ll be able to do will be for Christmas, a la Spike Milligan. Across the Irish sea.

        Sad, but see-through.

  6. antonio March 31, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

    Which brings to mind unionist cries of ‘Child abuse!’ just three years ago, when there were claims that children were dressed in paramilitary style as part of a ‘dissident’ republican march.

    It wasn’t just unionists who were crying child abuse it was practically everybody because those children were photographed on the front page of the Irish news dressed up like little ‘Ra men with black berets & sunglasses. Lowlife behavior is what that was.

    • Jude Collins March 31, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

      Question, Antonio: Do you reckon those children were traumatised? Because that’s what child abuse does.

      • antonio March 31, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

        is it necessary for a child to be traumatised for child abuse to have occurred ?
        I don’t think it is. Parents who allow their children to smoke are guilty of child abuse. It does not mean that the child is immediately traumatised.

        Those low life dirt who dressed their children up in paramilitary garb & paraded them around Ardoyne are guilty of child abuse as well as denigrating republicanism.

        • Ryan April 1, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

          “Parents who allow their children to smoke are guilty of child abuse”

          Come on Antonio, that’s hardly child abuse. Of course I don’t agree with kids smoking but its hardly child abuse. By that logic then you could accuse parents of neglect when their children smoke when they are outdoors. My mother was smoking when she was 13 till the present day. Even as I type this on my little laptop she’s sitting there puffing away like a train to her hearts content. My grandmother disagreed with it when my mother was younger and forbid it but there was nothing she could do when my mother was outdoors, she even had her box of cigarettes hid behind a loose brick in their backyard. Of course my grandmother didn’t know this, she would’ve put the cigarettes straight in the bin.

          There was a time when cartoons even encouraged children to smoke, such as Tom and Jerry. Its only now in recent years we know the serious health complications of smoking. I remember reading about one Chinese Emperor, who was a Child, who smoked up to 40 cigars and cigarettes a day.

          It really all comes to the question of: “What is child abuse?”, what is its effects? does a child know if they are being abused? is neglect abuse or is that something different?

  7. Pointis March 31, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

    There is no getting away from the fact that the Orange Order is one of the biggest impediments to tolerance and compassion for others on this Island.

    When the Good Friday agreement was launched all those years ago there was a great aspiration among many that bigotry would be tackled and that the seeds of dispute would consequentially melt away.

    Bigotry was never sincerely tackled because 29% of people here voted against the Good Friday Agreement which was the majority of the unionist community and included the Orange Order.

    The majority of the unionist population did not want equality and never did believing that an attack on bigotry was an attack on their ‘Kulture’. That position has probably changed since the DUP entered government with nationalists but there is still a significant bulk of hard core bigots out there in the DUP, TUV, UKIP and those no longer in UKIP and of course the Order itself.

    Those opposed to equality like the parents who nurture bigotry in their youngsters have one thing in common, they have no close friends who are Catholic /nationalist and that will always mark them out in the eyes of the rest of the world as holding views which are undesirable and unsavoury, views which a better world would be better without

  8. Sherdy March 31, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

    Saw the pictures of the Ormeau debacle, and noticed one PSNI man surrounded by about seven or eight bandsmen trying to attack him, as he was flailing all round him with his baton trying to keep them at bay.
    Two officers were injured and a police motorcycle was damaged.
    On the other side, there are no reports of bandsmen or adult followers being injured.
    It seems the trouble started after an officer tried to move the bandsmen so they wouldn’t be banging into parked cars which were in danger of being damaged – does that not sound a reasonably lawful request/instruction?
    But as yet we have no reports of complaint from loyalist politicians – FM Arlene Foster, Mike Nesbitt or Jim Allister about physical attacks on PSNI officers going about their proper tasks.
    Arlene had no problem in calling for masked men taking part in an illegal, but peaceful, parade to be jailed. This former legal eagle has them tried and convicted before they are even identified, never mind charged or tried!
    It seems the prospect of upcoming elections is bringing out the worst instincts in our local politicians.

  9. Glenn March 31, 2016 at 10:33 pm #

    Is there positive messages being sent out to children when the gaa have teams, grounds, competitions and hand out medals named after republican terrorists, I say not.

  10. Ryan April 1, 2016 at 1:34 am #

    Jude, around 18 months ago I was doing a course in Psychotherapy and Counselling. One day the topic was Children and the whole class got around in a circle and for around 2 hours we all discussed how child psychology may work and how a child learns and basically responds to their environment and how this effects their psychology and maybe even their future outlook on different things. It was very interesting, I heard other peoples views and opinions on how children develop and so on. Our tutor headed the discussion and told us the theories of prominent psychologists and counsellors and he asked us what was OUR opinions on those theories.

    I’m no qualified psychologist or counsellor, I completed and passed the psychotherapy qualification but I’m certainly no expert.

    But in my opinion a child is basically a blank canvas. They are highly impressionable individuals. Of course that’s the way they are designed. They depend on their parent or guardian to teach them values and to teach them how survive in the World. We also see this behaviour even happening in animals when they are young. “Imprinting” is when some new born birds or mammals assume the first big thing it sees when it first opens its eyes must be its mother. This is most famously seen with ducklings, indeed there has been many funny stories of humans, even dogs, being followed by baby ducklings because they think the human/dog is their mother. But this also happens Turkeys, Geese and other animals. Its psychology and instinct.

    The psychology here is similar but obviously not the same when it comes to a child. A child will believe whatever its parent or guardian tells them, usually without question. Its a defence mechanism in many ways. If the parent is a Muslim and teaches the child to believe that Mohammed’s teachings is right then a child is very likely to grow up believing that. If a parent is a Christian and teaches the child to believe Christ’s teachings is right then they will believe that. If a parent is an atheist then a child is much more likely to grow up an atheist. And so on. A child’s development is a constant series of impressions and experiences until he/she reaches a stage which we might call “Being of age” or “Thinking for yourself” but even then we usually still hold onto the views of our parents and those we associate with. Obviously our community is who we associate a lot with and its political/religious/social beliefs plays a massive part in our own mind sets and beliefs, especially if we’re young.

    So if a child is a member of the Orange Order or its youth wing or whatever term is used then obviously the beliefs and views held by the Orange Order is being impressed upon that child. Same goes if the child’s parents is a member of the Orange Order too. The Orange Order is an anti Catholic organisation, its openly sectarian, there’s no doubt about that. So obviously its not going to be surprising if a child grows up and holds similar beliefs as the Orange Order if the child is associating with the Orange Order or Loyalist parades.

    The same could be said for children that may march in dissident republican parades. Don’t be surprised if those children grow up with the beliefs of dissident republicans, that armed struggle is legitimate until Irish Unity occurs. Obviously if a child’s parents are dissident republicans or their sympathizers then a child is much more likely to grow up sharing their views.

    I remember a long while ago some super liberal saying to me that children shouldn’t be exposed to religion or politics. He was basically saying that children shouldn’t be exposed to such things until their “old enough to think for themselves”. That’s simply impossible. A child is there to be impressed upon. They are there to be influenced. Whether you agree with it or not is irrelevant, its up to the parent. If the parent isn’t allowed to influence their own child then who should? the Government? I wouldn’t trust the Government anymore than I would trust a Father Jack Hackett to run a fully stocked pub.

    Schools play a massive part when it comes to shaping a child’s view and outlook, which brings me to education here in the North of Ireland. I was just reading today in the Belfast Telegraph about how Catholics will be the majority in just 2 years when it comes to people in full time employment. This isn’t Protestants being discriminated against or anything, its just the Protestant population is shrinking and the Catholic population is younger and is growing. We all know the Catholic population is going to be the overall majority here sooner or later or maybe it already is.

    But I’m not the only one who noticed recently how some Unionists, especially the UUP, want integrated education to be promoted. Why is this? Lets seriously think about this. Why this push to close Catholic schools and get all children, Catholic and Protestants, under one school roof, a school by the way which will be run by the British Government. Why close Catholic schools when they are by far the best schools here in educational attainment?

    My theory is is that Unionists want Catholic children, especially since Catholics are becoming the majority, to be took away from the influence of the Catholic Church and especially any Irish Republicanism and put under the influence of a British system. Its basically indoctrination. Remember children are highly impressionable. The Union cant survive if Catholics are repeatedly voting for Republican parties at local elections.

    It was reading up on Fr Denis Faul is when I was first alerted to this and of course it goes without saying all Republicans should oppose the closing of any Catholic schools. I’m not opposed to Catholic and Protestant children mixing, let me make that crystal clear but I am opposed to teachers and the British Government teaching a warped, Unionist, Pro British version of history to Catholic children. Why would we close Catholic schools when they are clearly the best here for education anyway? its a ridiculous suggestion, which wont happen anyway.

    Fr Denis Faul said that integrated education was a British “Trojan Horse”. I never did fall for the rosy talk of “lets teach all our children together” when the same people who preach this oppose or refuse to encourage integrated housing. Strange isn’t it?…….

  11. Den April 2, 2016 at 10:04 am #

    Unionists are squealing about two tier policing, and I have to say I agree. If a group of nationalists surrounded a police officer in a threatening manner, he would draw his gun and likely open fire. If a nationalist had the personal details of a police officer and posted them online, he would be charged and thrown into jail for having information likely to be of use to terrorists. Anybody remember the two kids brought to court for making a joke about the poppy?. Anybody remember seeing the close ups of the officer’s attackers splashed all over the newspapers.?