I wanted to Kill ... I Could Have Killed ... I was 9

Guest writer Davy Carlin with a few more reflections of his life as a black child growing up in West Belfast.

This was not far from the Falls Road library, where on the streets outside, it had seen me pick up my first bricks and bottles years prior. It was the library in which I had stood upon with my childhood binoculars and a beret looped within a provided for jumper, within my childhood games of war.
It was a library that had seen pivotal moments that had changed my life, such as the time when in the late 1970’s when I had stood at the bottom of my street in the lower Falls Road at war. On that day our road was awash with burning vans, lorries and buses. I had just come from a few streets down and from within the derelict houses – also casualties of war, and so across from me, now sat my ‘supplies’ for my child at war times.

Indeed as a child I was also a bit of a yap, a bit of a gurn, yet when my eyes were made to glaze over from the brutality witnessed and dished out to myself and loved ones – then that was a differing me. 

As I had stood there, bin lid in one hand, a duck cattie holstered on my other shoulder, and mask over face, I looked through the burning and smoldering embers.

And through them and through the side latch of a stationary British Tank, eyes peered out at me – and with that – I could literally smell my hatred reeking from me. 

I heard some words shouted at me, to which I once again shouted ‘youse black bastards’, back to them, still the irony of this from a black child had still not fully dawned on me. 

And with that I raised my ‘bin lid shield’ went to my ‘supplies’ and charged at the tank’ – and with that I could hear the laugh within, which intensified my absolute hatred – and as for fear – well, with those eyes I knew not the word. 

Then I felt strong arms on my shoulders as I was being dragged back up my street by neighbours to words of, ‘Sweet Jesus Mary and Joseph he has went crazy and ‘Jesus Christ look at his eyes.’ 

Yes, I wanted to kill, I could have killed, and my eyes told them that – I was but 9 years old. 

It was also the library that in later years had seen me sit beside those from Loyalist paramilitary affiliate organisations – as we sought to further move forward from war to peace. 

And as my mind returned to the taxi of 2012 I had thought of those glazed eyes of childhood – and to the present day debacle that still rages about Orange parades.

Those glazed eyes had taken me a few years prior to experience, to experience an Orange Order parade in motion through Belfast city centre. For me I was fully aware of the history of ‘the Orange’, off its beginnings, off its traditions, off its makeup and more – but I had wanted to see it for myself.

Indeed I had done meetings on such a subject in times gone by. 

On that day I was well wary of my limbs being at risk, by some that were present, given my stands on racism and fascism in those recent times – yet all passed off, for me, without trouble.

Yet, as the years rolled on I had thought of those Unionist leaders past, whose words had, gave much succor to sectarianism, which was a real recruiting tool not only for Loyalist paramilitaries - but also for Republican ones – as such were the times.

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