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We believe the U.S. has a vital role to play by applying a single -- not a double-standard in its foreign policies towards human rights in Ireland. In particular, we believe the U.S. must not subsidize anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland. That is why the Irish National Caucus in 1984 initiated the MacBride Principles.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Alabama OO Marches in N Irish 12th Parade
Alabama Orange Order Marches in Northern Ireland Orange Twelfth parades under way
BBC. Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Nineteen Orange rallies are being held across Northern Ireland
Orangemen from the US are among thousands of marchers taking part in the annual Twelfth of July celebrations in Northern Ireland.
The lodge from Alabama has travelled to Tobermore, County Londonderry, where one of 19 rallies is being held.
Orangemen have been marching on Londonderry's west bank for the first time in 13 years after a deal with the Bogside Residents' Group was brokered.
One minute's silence is being held at parades for the London bomb victims.
A spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said: "Inevitably, the events of last week have cast a shadow over our celebrations.
"The people of Northern Ireland have more experience than most of the effects of terrorism in recent years, and the thoughts of many parading tomorrow will be focused on the relatives of those who lost their lives in the capital.
"The greatest tribute we can pay those who died is to carry on with our democratic traditions and to ensure that the Twelfth passes off peacefully."
The Independent Orange Order plans to hold a demonstration in Portglenone, County Antrim, with a religious service conducted by North Antrim MP, Ian Paisley.
Father Sean Mc Manus President Irish National Caucus P.O. Box 15128 Capitol Hill Washington, D.C. 20003-0849 202-544-0568
Our Fathers knew thee, Rome of old, And evil is thy fame . . . From Hymn 757 of the Free Presbyterian Hymnal, writes Fiachra Gibbons.
This morning in Belfast as the embers of the 11th Night bonfires die away and the last remaining revellers stagger home for a few hours sleep before the drum and skirl of the first parade, Orangemen and women will innocently rise to perform rituals that far predate the Order or even King Billy himself.
While their many detractors scoff at this "festival of chauvinism and invented tradition", the truth is that Orange parades have in them something of the most dazzling city of the ancient world and a culture now so exotically remote that few of the marchers - and probably fewer of those ranged up behind the British army "spit screens" to protest against them - will ever have heard of it.
For generations Ulster Protestants have looked into the deep past for solace, justification, or some precedent for their predicament, often seeing themselves as "the lost tribe of Israel". But all along the answer was in the place they least expected . . . Orangemen may well be the last of the Romans.
Unlikely as this sounds, if you stand back and view today's Orange Order parades through the prism of their symbolism, their dogged adherence to traditional routes, and even the order of the processions, all roads lead to Rome - and even more so to the new Rome that was Byzantium, the capital from which the Eastern Roman Empire took its name.
Rome is of course a very tricky concept in the tightly marshalled mental landscape of your average Orangemen. No other word in the loyalist lexicon quite has the resonance of the four letters that spell out that "cesspit of evil and error", as Dr Ian Paisley put it, the seat of the "anti-Christ". But the rule of Rome is all over today's parades for those who care to look hard enough.
Let's start with the obvious. The Twelfth parades are in essence posthumous Roman triumphs for the men who returned victorious from the Boyne and such good fun their descendants decided to perform them in perpetuity. True, no cowed barbarian kings are led in chains behind a chariot to be pilloried by the rabble, they tend now to be burned in effigy on the "bonny" the night before, but there are still plenty of colourful triumphal arches to be marched under and stretches of disputed streets to be stamped.
However, it really gets interesting when you look, as Catherine Burns, of Queen's University's Institute of Byzantine Studies, has at the parallels with the eastern capital, Constantinople, one of the few cities in history whose passion for parades can stand comparison to Belfast's annual roll call of more than 200. (Nor is she alone in her suspicions: Lorna Graham of Cambridge University drew similar conclusions in another paper to a major conference earlier this year at the institute, one of Europe's finest ).
Constantinople (modern Istanbul) was the "second Rome" and imperial capital for 13 centuries till it fell to the Turks in 1453. Even today its few remaining hard-pressed Greeks call themselves oi Romoi or Romans.
Like their Belfast brethren, a siege mentality inevitably developed as waves of barbarian Arab and Mongol hordes tried to breach their walls. At times of crisis, like the Avar siege of 626 while the Emperor Heraclius was away pillaging Persia, the holiest icons of the saints as well as the city's unrivalled collection of relics were paraded round the city walls. Faced with the sight of so many bits of blessed limbs being waved at them, the Avars miraculously melted away and the city was saved. Its clear Orange equivalent, the Siege of Derry in 1690, is also marked by a parade around the city walls where the iconic banners of the Rev George Walker, who led the defenders in prayer, are held aloft with those of the other Orange "saints", Luther, William of Orange and Carson.
Where the Byzantines had their miracle-working icons, the loyal orders have their banners, which Ms Burns claims are accorded a reverence almost akin to holy relics. In a further mirror of the icon tradition, Orange banners tend to follow strict, unchanging designs.
The parallels keep piling up. Byzantine processions also stuck to anointed routes, just as Belfast is criss-crossed with equally traditional Orange routes that years of parading have rendered sacred. Any deviation risked breaking the protective spell on God's chosen people.
Politics, religion and monarchy were bound together in other ways Orangemen would recognise, Ms Burns argues. "The symbolic message of the Byzantine processions was that Constantinople and its emperor was supernaturally protected and as long as its population carry out the rituals appointed by the church, this protection would continue.
"The message of the Orange parades is the same. God protected and supported the Protestant religion and Protestant monarchy in the past; if the people continue in their faith then the political system will be sustained." Yet perhaps the most intriguing link is with King Billy. The classic gable wall mural of William on his white charger rearing over the defeated corpse of Catholicism springs directly from the dragon- slaying St George, the most popular saint in Orthodoxy.
Fiachra Gibbons is a journalist with the Guardian who is currently writing a history of the southern Balkans