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Come march with me…

July 12, 2016

Everyday we watch the television news or read in the newspaper about this or that Muslim religious sect that is blowing the shit out of the other – be they Sunnis or Shiites or some sub-sect of either – and we watch in horror (or indifference – usually indifference, as we witnessed by the media-non-event that was the massive ISIS Baghdad bombing that killed 300 and wounded nearly twice as many that occurred last week) as sects tear each other apart in the name of God, or politics, or power (usually power).

But as my mother reminded me this morning we are not so far removed from those days ourselves.

Today is July 12th.

What is July 12th you ask?

It’s Orangeman Parade day, is what it is. Or, at least, it used to be.

Bancroft is a predominantly Protestant region of Ontario, and my mother still has the living memory of the Orangeman Parade – and the little nasty things that could happen to non-protestants on July 12th.

It was nothing for Catholics to be beaten, their business windows smashed, their kids taunted and harassed.

In Maynooth, it was common practice when she was young, for the Catholics to be relegated to only one side of the street.

Sure, it seems that no one cares about such things now, and that Bancroft has always been a peaceful place for any [Christian] denomination to live.

But let us not forget that we took some flak for hanging a Pride flag in the window of our cafe; that Muslims are religiously stereotyped up here; that many locals will not use the services of one of the local vets because he is of East Asian heritage.

The battles for hierarchy, political power, religious authoritarianism, fascistic control never go away. Human nature and history repeatedly teach us these things, over and over and over ad infinitum. Just look at the rantings of Donald Trump.

It’s a beautiful sunny 28C on this July 12th in cottage country. Get out and enjoy it! Summer is oh so sweet and oh so short.

But know your history.

There may not be any sectarian violence on the main street of Bancroft today, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any people around who remember when there was, and can teach you about how quickly there can be again.


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