Your not welcome here,” [sic] wrote the graffiti artist on Ballyarnett Presbyterian Church. Didn’t he (or she) mean, “You’re not welcome here”?
Was it a community decision or was it just the opinion of a random genius with a paint brush?
Of course it was the latter. But the problem is that he (or she) didn’t lift their ignorant prejudice from the stones, as they say.
Isn’t it shocking that sectarian hatred has actually increased, rather than diminished as we might have hoped, since the Good Friday Agreement was signed back in 1998? Is that because people feel more threatened by change than they did by the stalemate of war? Whatever the reason, the disgraceful graffiti appeared and has been rightly condemned.
The round of condemnation that always follows such incidents is tedious but vital. People need to make it clear that those who spew out hatred don’t speak for them. Will those responsible ever come to understand that sectarianism is deeply anti-republican?
In fact, it’s the antithesis of all that’s worthwhile and noble about the republican ideal. True Irish Republicanism wants lasting brotherhood and sisterhood between the diverse people of Ireland. Don’t we want an island of equals where people are mature enough to respect difference? The thing about loyalist and nationalist bigots is that they’re mirror images of each other. We really can’t claim to have a wonderful system of education when we have so many people who can’t see that.