As the Orange community approaches the biggest day in its calendar I have been reminded that culture is not always treated with the respect it should be in our little island.

Walking through the city centre I see banners promoting ‘Orangefest’ as some sort of community event. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Orange Order is an anti-Catholic, anti-gay backward secret society. The scary reality is that the Order has not only the loyalist knuckle draggers in its pocket but all the unionist parties as well. This was demonstrated yesterday when Peter Robinson set alongside members of the Order, UVF and the UDA. This is a reminder of the dangerous power of the Order and when they do not get their own way as in the case of the march passed Ardoyne they raise their ugly head.

How can these people complain that their culture is being attacked when they do not accept anyone else’s? Cultures should be embraced and respected and there are a wide variety of vibrant cultures on this island that are great, proud, respectful and positive. But when we look at the Orange culture it is all about being supremacist and trampling on the beliefs and views of others. This is demonstrated from their leadership, in their communities, at their bonfires, in the workplaces and on the roads. It shouldn’t be continually up to local residents to stand up to these bigots but the wider community. In this respect I am talking about the Orange culture and not the Protestant community who I have a lot of respect for and I have a lot of close friends from.

It is time that we stand up collectively against these bigots before it does become our problem. Where else would it be expectable for a sectarian, racist, bigoted, supremacist organisation to have so much support from the state while they trample on the rights of everyone in their path? Only in our wee country Norn Iron of course!

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.” Martin Niemoller

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