Many people have been asking me to explain to them the current, difficult situation in Northern Ireland. It is almost impossible in such a limited space as the Internet to convey the historic, economic, social and political factors involved. However, I can try.
To come close to understanding the heritage and the beliefs of the people of Northern Ireland it is important to try to grasp what it is like daily for the average person living their everyday life on a day-to-day basis in Northern Ireland. You need to realise the difficulties that the Northern Irish people minding their own business face when going about their business. For example, you probably don’t realise that you are unaware that Northern Ireland has some of the lowest broadband speeds in the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). You may be ignorant to the fact that you don’t know that just 54% of mobile phone users enjoy 3G coverage in Northern Ireland (in the rest of the United Kingdom it is 95%). Yet, the Northern Irish people have no less to say. The Northern Irish people do not let these violations of their freedom of speech hinder their communication. Oh no, these are resolute, resourceful people who are determined and will try to overcome any difficulties. And so, the people of Northern Ireland have turned to semaphore, and this is the explanation for their passion for flags. The current situation is not, as you may have been led to believe, a failure to understand how a compromise works, anger at the abrupt loss of a symbol of identity or a disregard for politics. No, it is simply because of a need to communicate.
The situation has been complicated as using flags to protest about flags has led to a shortage of flags. Surely, we don’t want people to live in a world where they don’t have access to a flag? If we don’t act soon, the result could be an unusual situation where people are using violence against each other over flags. This could be further complicated by politicians who (it could be argued) used violence to get what they wanted, telling the people that they can’t use violence to get what they want.
Soon, people will be fighting each other for flags because of a flag shortage caused by protesting with flags about the lack of a flag. Imagine, in your minds, if you will, the image of a man standing on a small hill desperately semaphoring for more flags. Do not let the irony of this image take away from the desperation.
That’s all very well, but why are there children involved in the rioting? I hear you ask. Well, the elderly can’t do it.