Reflections on Belfast

I have been to Belfast three times this year, most recently for TitanCon. Each time I have been I have seen more evidence of increasing sectarian activity.

The hotels that Kevin and I stayed in were right in the city center close to the Europa. They were also just a short walk away from a notoriously Protestant area which was festooned with flags. The Union Jacks and Ulster flags are expected. The flags of the British Parachute Regiment are a particular political protest related to a criminal trial of a soldier. The Donald Trump MAGA flag was a reminder that nothing in this world happens in isolation any more.

Back in the days of the Troubles, the American-Irish community was known to have raised funds for the IRA. Now it seems like we have Americans providing funds for the other side of the dispute as well.

Belfast is a lovely city that has blossomed since the Good Friday Agreement. It would be a tragedy to see it collapse into sectarian warfare again. Unfortuantely that seems to be what some people, including some people in the current UK Cabinet, are hell-bent on making happen.