Every year, in the weeks around the 12th of July, many parts of Northern Ireland burst with patriotic colour- red, white and blue bunting lines the streets and Union Jacks and our own Ulster Banner are displayed from homes, shops and tied to lamp-posts.
While I'm not at all interested personally in the marches of the Orangemen and the accompanying bands, it is nice to see the flags on display. One thing that I may have mentioned before, and which seems quite apt at the moment, is the tendency of some Loyalist areas to also fly the flag of Israel. I'm not sure why it began but it seems to me to show a solidarity with another nation beset by terrorist problems- a people constantly under attack by terrorist gun and bomb. And there's also a certain amount of admiration- while the old RUC would stand back and let the rioters throw their petrol bombs, we would watch the Israeli police and military on TV deal with similar problems in a much more direct manner. When I was growing up, I can remember hearing many of those around me advocating similar tactics be used over here. Our police and Army always seemed to be so much more reluctant to actually do anything.
In the same way, there are Nationalist communities around the country where Palestinian flags are flown- along with some murals too. Why this show of support for the Palestinians? Well, it may have something to do with the fact that they identify with what they suppose to be an oppressed people, or it could be that Middle Eastern terrorists have a long history of supporting the IRA with arms and training. I had been hoping to get some photos but I haven't been fit for the drive lately. Perhaps in a few weeks I'll be able to get out and about with my camera.
In the meantime, here's a quick snap I took of an Israeli flag on display in a village not far from where I live; the image is a little blurred because I had to use the less than perfection digital zoom on my camera. The flag above it is a UVF one.
I also found a link displaying some Nationalist murals- one calling Yasser Arafat a "peacemaker" and another showing a PLO and IRA terrorist holding an RPG aloft together; the slogan is "One Struggle". Also take note of the graffiti scrawled on a wall; "Penta-Gone". That was put up by Nationalists the day after 9/11.