Cultural Acceptance – A Birds Eye View

Now here’s a thing  a never knew. I’ve walked past this place tens of thousands of times and  find myself tentatively putting one foot in front of the other and walking up the carpeted white granite, not marble, stairs.  Is there such a thing as white granite? Well, maybe not but it looks like granite to me.  It looks all touristy to me and being frank I think Belfast needs to wise up on the ole Titanic thing. I think that ship has been well and truly sunk. It may be worth a pound or two but for the locals/local (moi) it’s a bit of a pain in the arse.
I pluck up the courage to speak to the rather fierce looking female Librarian.  Does she know? Have I got that ‘guilty ma lud’ tattooed on my forehead. When i ask if it’s possible to use one of the tables, the quiet tables, to write some poetry on my lap top her face lights up and she beams a beamer of a smile saying ‘of course you can; fire away. My eye catches the binding of the old ledgers and archives in the geneology section and it looks and smells of history, academia, thirst and knowledge all rolled into one. How many of us have walked into their cities Historical Library and said “I’m gonna come back here one day and plonk myself down and read some of this stuff; it looks amazing.” But never do because time and crimustance pass you buy and the next thing you know it your kids are heading to the library to read the stuff you should have been reading twenty odd years ago.
At this level, seagull level, there’s one just following an open-topped tourist bus up Donegal Square North, it seems that I’ve been transported to a different plane; one of those looking down on yourself moments. I’m looking down on me walking past here on my way to work, on my way to college and on my way home from many an afternoon piss up in the City Centre. I’m looking directly across at the tree I sat up when Paisley delivered his “Never, Never, Never” speech. It amazes me now that way back then I wanted to commit so much crime in the name of Northern Ireland but when I tried to sign up that night in a dusky bar in South Belfast I was dissuaded by two very serious hombres. They talked me down, they rationalised with me and basically told me that they would have nothing to do with me, and this is the cruncher, and i quote “your too smart to be in this business.”  At the time i was aggrieved and not to smart and got myself into many a row over this but as I grew older and moved over to London I saw the sense they made, I see it now all too clearly but I have to ask myself “What was it that made me forget?” Maybe I’ll try and answer that for another time when I’m sitting back up here.
For now I’m looking down at Belfast’s streets where people and buses are getting busy, politics is not on their minds, outside the City Hall there’s a row of statues, brightly coloured Samurai statues, multi coloured terracotta warrior type things or Tom Cruise gear in ‘The Last Samurai.’ People, tourists and locals are getting their pics taken and laughing and joking below the place where a flag should be flying. Does anyone there care? I do, but am taking on the advice of those men years ago and staying out of it. Instead I ask a peeler “what’s the story with these fella’s.” The female officer looked blank, maybe because this long-haired, ex-con had just asked her a question, but when I smiled she smiled and said “they come here every year – i think.” And off she went.
I don’t belive it there’s a parade of bands and war uniforms arrived outside the City Hall and it’s thrown me a bit off kilter. A quick internet search allows me ‘not’ to discover what it is. The last post blasts out across the greens lawns and the very traffic seems to fall a hush, the guy hits a bum note and oh no my heart bleeds for him, dig me a hole quick, a minute’s silence for the fallen of some far off land or was it here?  There’s a about forty Harley D’s parked outside the gates and bagpipes are now drawing the crowds. I’m sitting looking out me perch at Samurai Warriors, Peelers, Army, Navy, Flute band, Biker Gangs, Tourists, tears tripping me face as the bagpipes and the last post always get me, and all I can think of is “where did it all go wrong?”
A little bit of turf in centre of blood soaked Belfast has flags and people from all over the globe standing respecting the culture of its people and not a protest in sight. Well maybe that seagulls got the hump coz he didn’t get that German’s ice cream.  The door of the library creaks and here the sound of books and pages being opened and turned to the sound of a Regimental Sergeant Major ordering his band of followers to “by the left quick march.” Reminds me of those mad dogs and Englishmen who come out in the mid-day sun in some foreign land. Well from this ex Lisburn Mad Dog I have to say these boys are now marching off from whence they came, not a word in anger not a petrol bomb thrown and people of all different creeds and countries whose grandfathers slaughtered each other on the worlds battle fields of the previous century stand and applaud and smile. And here’s me worrying about fitting back into society. I’ll do all right me thinks as our society has just demonstrated probably unwittingly that it’ll be fine.  It’s turf that’s being fought over by bitter angry fools who can’t see or tell their arses from their elbows.
There’s another seagull following a different bus and life goes on. That wee parade took twenty-five minutes. Can people not swallow their anger for even five minutes and think of the damage they do to themselves and their fellow human beings. That’s it, I’ve got it, just take five, five minutes to think.
I’m off to join the lunchtime throng and look forward to coming back here to write my blog.  My garden is cool but here there’s so much quite and noise combined to set the creative juices flowin. I fit in here, its nice, its cool. Enjoy your weekend, mine just keep getting better.


About micsirwin

I'm a Postgraduate student at Queens studying Criminology, writer, poet and lover of integrity, dignity, respect and morality
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