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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Then Why is My Colour on Your Flag?

Derick Perry • 26 March 2006

"Take it down from the mast Irish traitors, it's the flag we republicans claim", so runs the lyric of the anti-treatyist ditty. I look to the recent disturbance in Dublin for a more contemporary interpretation of the sentiments expressed in the song.

When Protestant Irishmen and women of the Orange tradition chose to exercise their right of public protest and to petition the Republic Of Ireland government to address grievances, they were denied by sectarian bigots who stood under the Green White and Orange. I draw attention to the discrepancy between what the flag purports to represent and how it is all too often used. The fact that this banner is claimed and vaunted by those who would deny their fellow Irishmen their rights, flies in the face of all that the original republican movement stood for. Surely the authentic republican ethos demands that accommodation of "the other side" should be not only permitted, but encouraged. As I see it, it is the anti-republicans who would deny freedom of assembly. It is anti-republicans who would deny freedom to protest. I accuse them of using fascist tactics and rhetoric to foment discord between Irishmen as "Pervidious Albion", Protestant religious fanatics and Catholic bigots have used over and over again. It was clearly an anti-republican element on the streets of Dublin that day. Am I alone in seeing irony in the pictures of purported republicans sporting orange in their masks and flags while attacking supporters of the Union whose colour is orange? This fascist repressive behavior happened around the statue of Jim Larkin; more irony. The protestors were denied passage past the GPO where the proclamation establishing the rights of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter culminated in bloody conflict; more irony. Religious bigotry has no place in republicanism. Wolf Tone, Thomas Russell, Putnam McCabe, Henry Joy McCracken, Bagenal Harvey, Robert Emmett, Anthony Perry, republicans all, and Protestants all. The final irony.

I am an Irishman of the Orange tradition and proudly so. To all those republicans who refuse full acceptance of the orange tradition as part of your nation I say, to deny us our place in Ireland is to deny the essence of the founding of the republic and by your own definition you are found wanting. If you wish to persuade the Orange majority that joining you in your country is a good idea, I suggest you start by living up to republican principles of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity! You may find a number who are open to persuasion as the British government continues with its long term exit strategy. But any rhetoric must be measured against action and any progress for your cause is easily measured. When an Orange lodge is invited to participate in some festivity or other instead of vitriol and insult, offer the sincere hand of friendship and hospitality, it will signal an acceptance of our residency here and start to remove the chill in that "cold house for Protestants".

So I pose the question, if you would deny us a room in your house, why have you added our name to the lease…then why is my colour on your flag? It doesn't happen often that the Orange brothers look to exercise their rights in the republic and when it happens again, as it undoubtedly will, I hope the real republicans show up to drown out the ersatz kind and that acceptance and accommodation will be forthcoming so the true meaning of the green, white and orange is made a reality.

































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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
- Frank Zappa

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4 April 2006

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Bigotry Imperils the Union
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Then Why Is My Colour On Your Flag?
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Exorcise the Ghosts to Revive the Party
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How the Irish Screwed Up Civilisation?
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Profile: Maryam Namazie
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Freedom of Expression: No Ifs and Buts
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The Letters page has been updated:

Freedom of Speech index



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