The disgraceful scenes witnessed at the weekend in Belfast have once again highlighted that our society is not yet free from sectarianism.
Loyalist bands provocatively playing outside a Catholic church were once a common sight during the summer marching season but most people had thought that times had changed and that we had all moved forward.
How different the situation was in Derry at the weekend. This city also hosted marches on Saturday but with a very different outcome. The most talked, and most well attended march, was the Foyle Pride parade through the city centre.
The city exploded with colour as the gay community, along with many others, took to the streets to celebrate diversity and tolerance. The carnival atmosphere that we often hear about, but rarely see, for parades was certainly evident in the city centre on Saturday.
Less noticeable was the annual Black Perceporty parade in the city. Unlike Belfast, Derry’s parade passed off peacefully as the marchers made their way into the city centre, held a service, then left again, returning in the evening after the Foyle Pride celebrations.
How come the situation in Derry was so different? Is this a more tolerent city? The answer to these questions is simple. The parading question was solved in Derry through positive engagement between communities.
Talking leads to tolerance and dialogue encourages respect for diversity. Other places could learn a valuable lesson from Derry.