CentenNIal Parade

An Orange parade to celebrate the centennial of Northern Ireland – postponed last year on account of the pandemic – will take place today, with roughly 130 bands marching from Stormont to Belfast city centre (Belfast Live). There is not much indication of the parade in posters or murals, perhaps because the anniversary itself has passed. If we read the community’s concerns from the displays in the window of this Shankill Road shop (just above the old Beresford St and the Mussen Cortège mural), they include the NI centenary and the murder of Lee Rigby (WP) (image above), PTSD (second image), the upcoming platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth (third) – we will have more jubilee photos over the coming week, and the centenary of the Ulster Tower WWI memorial (see e.g. Our Heritage In Your Hands).

You can get all your centenary gear and Shankill Protestant Boys merch on-line at Northern Culture.

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Was This Lawful?

A 2021 command paper that proposed a statue of limitations and amnesty for so-called “legacy” killings included the claim that ‘the vast majority of security force killings were lawful’ (BelTel) and the comment has been attributed to NI Secretary Brandon Lewis (Pat Finucane Centre). (For background see e.g. this eamonnmallie.com piece.) The claim is used against him in this tarp commemorating Stephen McConomy was hit by a plastic bullet forty years ago this month, on April 16th, and died three days later: “Stephen McConomy (11) shot dead by Lanc. Corp. from Royal Anglian Regiment – April 1982. Was this ‘lawful’, Brandon Lewis?” Speaking at the memorial service, surviving family-members vowed to continue resisting the proposed limitations (Derry Journal).

There is also a plaque to McConomy in Fahan Street where he was shot (this one has since been replaced) and long ago there was a mural on Rossville Street.

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Spirit Of ’93

The house in Bond’s Place was torn down last summer and rebuilt with a piece of street art on the gable that has been used since at least 1982 for images of the Commonwealth, King Billy, and, since 1996, Eddie The Trooper. The board that was the wall has been moved one neighbourhood over, into Lincoln Court. It was the first to include the words “Spirit Of ’93” – presumably a reference to the Greysteel Massacre in which eight people in the Rising Sun bar were killed in reprisal for the Shankill Bombing (BelTel). The “raid” was planned, and both gunmen rented rooms, at the UDP office on Bond’s Place, just across Bonds Street (NI Judiciary).

Eddie has his own Visual History page.

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Whitehead Temperance

Benjamin West painted The Battle Of The Boyne in 1778 and his composition – with William moving from left to right on a white horse and Marshal Schomberg dying in the bottom-right corner – has become the standard representation in loyalist culture, perhaps due to versions of it appearing on the covers of songbooks for the Orange Order and the Apprentice Boys soon after (Belinda Loftus 1982 Images In Conflict). It appears here on the wall of Whitehead Orange Hall, along with a board connecting service by Irish soldiers in British forces in WWI and Afghanistan (see previously: Time Changes in east Belfast).

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One World, One Struggle

“One world, one struggle” and one common cause: British imperialism. The Palestinian flag flies beside Free Derry Corner (and the Petrol Bomber mural), which has been papered over with “There is n0 British justice” – this sets the theme for the march this afternoon (recreating the 1972 civil rights march in Derry from Creggan to the Bogside, starting at 2:30) which not only commemorates the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday (Bloody Sunday 50) but protests the British occupation of countries all around the world – the poster from Bloody Sunday March makes reference to the Amritsar (Jallianwala Bagh) Massacre, the Barbados Slave Code, (Second) Boer War concentration camps, and many others.

See also: the Visual History pages for the front of Free Derry Corner | the rear of Free Derry Corner

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End The Occupation

“20,000+ security personnel maintain Britain’s occupation of Ireland.” ‘End imperialism, End the occupation’ is a Lasair Dhearg (web | tw) campaign; the 20,000 includes the PSNI as well as troops in “multiple permanent British Army bases”; the stencil in the image below (from affiliated organisation, Red Section (tw)), from the Monagh Bypass, suggests that there are “700+ MI5 agents in Ireland”. The tarp shown above is on the railings at the Falls Road/Glen Road junction, site of the former RUC barracks; the stencil is on the Andersonstown Road.

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Chemical Warfare In Ireland

This is the third mural (see 2014 The Maze Ablaze and 2018 The Battle Of Long Kesh) on the so-called “International Wall” on Divis Street about the ‘Battle Of Long Kesh’, when republican prisoners tried to burn down the cages in protest at living conditions in the camp. CR gas had recently been developed by the British MoD at a lab in Porton Down and is alleged to have been “used against Irish POWs”.

Brady & Faul wrote an 80-page report on the conditions at the camp following the event, entitled The Flames Of Long Kesh. “Telegram to International Red Cross: ‘ … Visited Long Kesh today with others … request immediate investigation into use of “CR gas” … sub-human conditions … SOS … come immed[i]ately’ – 20 Oct 1974, Brian Brady & Fr. Denis Faul”.

The photograph which the central part of the mural reproduces is HU 70205 from the Imperial War Museum’s collection.

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A Miracle Of Deliverance

An RAF Spitfire sees off a Luftwaffe Ju87 Stukas over the beach at Dunkirk, France, as British troops are evacuated from the Continent. The fighter plane, designed and built by Supermarine Aviation from 1928 to 1948, became iconic during the Battle Of Britain as the faster counterpart to the Hurricane (WP).

The mural, by Glen Molloy, reproduces Mark Postlethwaite’s painting, Spitfires Over Dunkirk. Oddly, the mural is on the wall of the Clarawood substation that is not visible from any of the residences.

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Village Green Preservation Society

Part of the most recent development of the upper streets in the Village was not to rebuild the two rows on houses on Ebor and Nubia/Moltke streets and in their place construct a park – the Village Green – and playground. This new board on the outside railings make the park a “community park of remembrance” for WWI, showing an Ulster Banner with a Union Flag in the canton. There was formerly on this site an image of Thiepval Tower and a UVF stone.

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Come For One, Come For All

In April, UK Defence minister Johnny Mercer resigned/was sacked due to his protestations over the Overseas Operations bill (which passed on April 29th but does not apply to service in NI (BBC)) and the prosecution of two soldiers for a 1972 killing of Joe McCann – they were acquitted (BelTel). Cases against British Army soldier will continue to be investigated, however, unless there is legislation introduced by the British government to deal with “legacy” issues in Northern Ireland. This VASU tarp is next to the Boundary Way waste ground, site of the lower Shankill bonfire. “Support the men who supported & protected us against Sinn Fein IRA – Soldier A-Z.”

See previously: Soldier A-Z.

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