Just for the record, my writeups on Northern Ireland, while not entirely unsubjective, attempt to cast a cold, critical eye on the whole situation, as well as providing factual information. Idoru is right: I don't live in Belfast, but my brother does, and I spent a fair bit of time there a couple of years ago when my girlfriend was living there.

My writeup on the Twelfth of July was voted down, and the only reason I can think of is that I gave an airing to the view of many Orangemen and ordinary protestants that the whole thing is just a grand day out, free from any political significance. As you can see from the above, and if you open any newspaper, this view is highly naive. Bigotry is on open display throughout the marching season, and personally I feel the Orange Order has done nothing to uphold its supposed basis in universal tolerance. I was horrified to hear a clergyman at an Orange demonstration saying that the silence of the streets on Monday 10th July was a holy moment. What could be holy about people rushing to get indoors for fear of getting caught in violent disturbances?

There is definitely a place for personal accounts of what's happening in Northern Ireland, like iduro's and jim71's above, but I'm still going to attempt to be as detached as possible in writing about it. The reason for this is that I feel the rest of the world only ever gets emotive narratives, and the whole thing coalesces for them into a continuum of bombings, beatings, terror and general bigotry. The situation is almost infinitely more complicated than that, and I hope I reflect some of that in my writeups.