On the road out of Derry to Belfast or Dublin you can’t escape the profusion of Parachute Regiment flags flying from poles and lampposts. These are expressions not of a culture under siege but of gratuitous sectarian hostility.
The only possible relevance of the flags is to Bloody Sunday. Their use as a badge of identity is intended to suggest that the proper response of one community to massacre in another is gleeful satisfaction.
This is deliberate misrepresentation of Protestant feeling. The displays carry an implicit threat of violence against anyone who complains. Any local person objecting openly would be risking a hammering, if not their life.
You cannot buy Parachute Regiment paraphernalia in local shops. It takes effort and determination to acquire the scores of flags which flap in the face of oncoming traffic at roundabouts and entrances to estates, particularly in the Derry area. Yet there appears not to have been a single statement from an elected unionist representative calling for these particular flags to be taken down.
The calls might go unanswered, but would still send out a message that, even under the Orange-Green rubric of Northern Ireland politics, asserting your identity by gloating over the grief of others is wrong.
Over to you, Gregory, Mary, April, Maurice…