This is a divided, vivisected Northern Ireland. This is the inheritance of Paisleyism, a noxious, nefarous ideology that broke and bankrupted Northern Ireland for decades and which now stands firm against reconciliation and a plurality of views.
We're stuck in some sort of sick, brutal and dispiriting Cold War stalemate; Paralyzed by mutual recrimination and mistrust and under a constant threat of extra-political exchange. Contrary to what James Joyce said, we're still an "outcast from life's feast."
Yes, young people in Northern Ireland aren't truly free. Religiosity and violence has retarded our education system, segregated communities and minds into green and orange, and viciously retarded the economy.
For a majority, the so-called political 'silent majority' can be a pretty lonely place sometimes. For anyone with any knowledge of Northern Irish life, it goes without saying that this time of year can be a dire state of affairs...
The flag riots are just plain bad for Northern Ireland. Bad for business, bad for foreign investment, bad for community relations, bad for the image of Northern Ireland abroad and bad for the collective future of its people. But I genuinely feel bad for the loyalist rioters.
In a move perhaps more unexpected than Marty McGuinness shaking the hand of Queen Lizzie, the Democratic Unionist Party, Northern Ireland's biggest party, sent a representative to an LGBT event for the first time last Tuesday night.