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Orangemen Marching in the North July 7, 1998

I stumbled across our homepage recently. I am not, and neither are my immediate family, on any of your Clan updates. I must state that on finding our homepage and the information contained therein, I was most impressed and was preparing to introduce (myself) ourselves in a cordial and dignified fashion - (as I have been taught by my Irish Catholic [Kinsella] side of the family as well as my Scottish [Protestant] side.)

Alas, such courtesies, for the time being, have unfortunately been rendered redundant and I beseech all Kinsellas who are behind the new Northern-Irish administation led by David Trimble to somehow lodge their opposition to the Orangemen marches that have today been approved.

To try and put my indignation into some kind of perspective, I think it pertinent to provide a little background:

I am a Kinsella who is the product of a Scottish-Irish paternal lineage coupled with a Calvinist-Scottish maternal lineage. I was born and schooled in Southern Rhoesia and university educated [B.A.LLB] in South Africa. I was raised a Catholic, but fully accepted my Protestant family's values and beliefs when growing up. My links to the land I call home are strong [Scotland], but I have always been fully aware of, and equally proud of my Irish name and heritage. (Before I continue, let me make it clear that I am a proud British Citizen and would not support the imposition or taking away of any other British Citizen's basic rights.) What I would like to make clear is this: The people of Northern Ireland are free to choose the governmental system they see fit. But, Loyalist or Republican, our people have undertaken to enter into a new era of peaceful cooperation, this is the key to the future. I believe the Orangemen's marches into Catholic areas are completely unreasonable and, moreover, are totally against the spirit of the new accord, which emphisizes mutual respect and tolerance. Notwithstanding the historical implications of these marches, which my maternal side have always made very clear, I cannot see any reconciliatory value in continuing to insist on these routes merely because they are "traditional".

My experiences, having spent the most part of my life in Africa, are, I think pertenent to the basic issue: Time and history are interlinked ; and with time, so our perceptions of history change. As an example, I would like to allude to the New South Africa. The Boers fought and won a major war against the Zulu people [The Battle of Blood River] ; in fact, this battle led to the religious enshrinement of that victory as a sign that God had chosen the Afrikaner Nation to prevail and was celebrated as a South African national holiday for decades under Afrikaner Nationalist rule. However, with the fall of Apartheid,"Nationalist" perceptions were forced to change. Whose "Nation" are we talking about? Which people have what rights within this "Nation"?

If the Afrikaners were to celebrate the victory of Blood River by marching through a predominantly Zulu neighbourhood in the the light of the prevailing spirit of reconciliation, they would not only lose credibility, but would alienate themselves from any future forum where citizen's rights are at stake.

That is why I write to fellow Kinsella's with such a heavy heart, (the recent firebombings are abysmal). The people [ALL people] of Northern Ireland deserve better. History is no excuse for the perpetuation of celebrations of events that present people had no part in, and only serve to deepen mistrust and hatred. Past battles and famous victories and terrible defeats belong in the history books, where our descendents can read and learn from our mistakes - not perpetuate our outdated vanities. By alI means, allow the marches to take place in areas who will welcome or tolerate such actions - that is what true freedom is all about. But compromise does not equal capitulation and these people have no right to demand access to areas where they are well aware they are most unwelcome. "History" or "tradition" has no place in the modern Irish setting as an excuse to impose one sector of the communtiy's will forceably on the other. It is for these, among other reasons that, through your personal E-mail, I urge all members of our Clan to do their utmost to oppose these so-called "traditional march routes" and make their voices heard.

David Kinsella

 

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