Demonising Children

Michael Doherty, a citizen of Derry,  objects to children being made the targets for demonisation.

Strange that the owner of a dangerously derelict building has suddenly shown concern for it?

Stranger that the “Police” can assist him, with massive amounts of personnel, in the Bogside when they never seem to have “resources” when dealing with joyriders, assaults, drug dealing and drug addled thefts in the area?

Strange, too, that the Council issues an “Enforcement Order” on the owner today, not last September, or the September before, or the September before, or the…

It’s actually all about Demonisation.

I’m opposed to bonfires, All of them! They’re filthy and dangerous. I’m 46 (roughly)

Yet every July and August we have a “Cultural Celebration” of bonfires. Yes, I know, they are filthy and dangerous too. Strange, though, that they are a protected species.

The reason I mention my age is not for sympathy or presents (welcome as they might be) It’s because I’m an adult of a certain age that I don’t want bonfires.

The children and young teenagers of the Bogside are just that, children and teenagers. They watch every year as the “other side” burn effigies, posters, Catholic religious statues etc on massive bonfires. They want to do the same, to get back at “Them uns”. It’s nothing more than a modern version of children fighting with the next street or estate.

And because “Their” bonfires have got larger and more dangerous, so must “Ours”

Certain elements Demonised the children for this. Again, they are children, not adults. They should not be expected to have the same faculties of reason as adults.

Because I’m opposed to bonfires it doesn’t mean that they don’t happen. I’m also opposed to dangers in the workplace. What do you do with dangers in the workplace? You put in policies and practices that minimise the risk!

Last year there was a concerted effort to do this. Statutory bodies, working with Some City Councillors, advised that the safest place to have the bonfire was up on the hill in front of Derry’s walls. The children wholeheartedly agreed, and the bonfire, as much as bonfires can be, was a resounding success.

Certain elements Demonised the children for this, including a City Councillor taking to the airwaves to tell a blatant lie that a nearby Old Folks home “had to be evacuated”. A complete, utter lie that went unchallenged. "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it….”

So, children are Demonised  if they have an unsafe bonfire, Demonised  if they work to have a safe one.

Why not get the Statutory bodies together, designate a safe spot for an annual bonfire, and let it run it’s course. When Unionists finally come round to the idea that bonfires are not “cultural” and public funding for them stops, then the children of the Bogside won’t feel they are losing out if they don’t do the same.

Better headlines if you Demonised ?

Finally, on a personal note. A lot of these children that are being Demonised have come to my aid when I was the victim of intimidation, theft, and fell flat on my face in the street due to disability.

I don’t want unsafe bonfires

I don't want to live next door to an unsafe derelict disgrace of a building

I don’t want 20 PSNI landrovers beating children to “protect” a rich businessman who allows a building to become derelict and dangerous

I don’t want Demonisation of children.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

2 comments to ''Demonising Children"

  1. As a Unionist I'm not a fan of bonfires either. Drunken twats around a big fire in a built up area who then leave their sh*te everywhere for others to clean REALLY p*sses me off.

  2. When I was younger it was an adventure collecting, building and then watching the bonfire burn. The Republican movement told us to create mayhem at the 9th of August bonfire and attack British forces. Many people were killed, injured and arrested at these bonfires I deem it a bit rich from Sinn Fein condemning them now. I know that bonfires attract scumbag drug dealers and death drivers but for the kids its an adventure, something different. Then we had the community festivals everyone joined in and they were a great success, all free and great fun. Then the Shinners smelt the money and every event was pay in job, in my opinion it ruined the concept of community. These bonfires are being held with no people overseeing them, maybe no one wants associated with them fearing the shinners back stabbing and bad mouthing tactics. Some form of control is needed "who" , is a good question. But something will have to be done to involve the kids in the community and make them feel part of it , after all they live in the areas and are its future, demonising them is not the answer.


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