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A conversation with Rabbi Mayer Schiller 

July 13th 2000

 Rabbi Mayer Schiller (left of picture) has been a friend of the Third Way movement since its formation in 1990.  This year he spent the Twelfth Week of July in Ulster.  Here he is in Rabbi Mayer Schiller and Ulster Nation editor, David Kerr in Belfast, July 13th 2000. conversation with Ulster Nation editor David Kerr (on right).

The full version of this interview appears in issue 32 of Third Way magazine,  To get your copy, see our For Sale page.


DAVID KERR.  Would you describe yourself as a cultural conservative?

 RABBI MAYER SCHILLER.  Well, certainly as far as contemporary terminology goes that’s an accurate description, although what we call ‘conservatism’ today would simply be considered normal life fifty years ago or a hundred years ago.  There aren’t two sides on questions of basic decency, respect and modesty.  I really think there aren’t two sides to these issues so if conservatism implies acceptance to this other illegitimate side I reject it, but I think that in terms of modern terminology it is a fair description.  I would consider myself an ecumenical cultural conservative in that I respect all peoples who have a sense of gratitude to their past and who value their own heritage and faith.  Obviously not if they are idol worshippers but if they’re worshipping God, I would say I value people who have gratitude to the past in their own faith in their own communities.

 So that would be not just Orthodox Judaism but Protestantism, traditional Catholicism and Islam.  That sort of thing?

 I think that all these people are very dear to God and are fulfilling His will on earth and will be rewarded in Heaven.

 How does this conservative view work itself out in practical terms?  Do you find yourself in ‘strange company’?

 Well, I don’t think the company’s so strange.  There is a natural allegiance between all men who value their Faith and their cultures and its just, I think, a short-sightedness and links to painful pasts that sometimes doesn’t allow us to realise that commonality.  So, I don’t think it’s strange that I feel a sense of affinity to traditionalist Catholics, or Afrikaner South Africans and American traditionalists. 

   In my experience travelling in very traditional what would be called ‘right wing’ circles in America, Europe and South Africa, I have almost never met any one who, once they realised what my position is, is not willing to accept me.  This is despite the fact that there has been animosity between Jews and so-called ‘right wing’ types.  I’ve found, by and large, once they have realised that this commonality exists that any animosity disappears.

 You have spoken positively of conservative values.  However, last year the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, spoke at his party conference where blamed virtually all the ills of the world – from the assassination of Martin Luther King to discontent amongst staff in our National Health Service on the ‘forces of conservatism’.  Tories, racists, Irish republicans, Ulster loyalists, Scottish nationalists and even old-style members of the Labour Party – real socialists – were all equally condemned as ‘forces of conservatism’.  Such people had to be fought, wiped out, put in their boxes and locked away.  It was a truly amazing speech.  I don’t think that anything like it has ever been seen in British politics before.  Does that attitude surprise you?

 I think that the Left is very rapidly, around the world, abandoning the pretence of real liberalism, in the sense of tolerance and debate.  The Left today thrives on the stifling of debate.  In some countries today, they are declaring certain thoughts and ideas illegal.  In other countries, they’re just destroying people’s livelihoods and lives if they question their dogmas.  I think this is an attempt at mind control and that the so-called Dark Ages no way equalled at all this attempt to control what people are and are not allowed to think.

   I would suggest that maybe the reason for it is that this kind of whacko-Leftism is so implausible and so goes against what we see in our own daily lives that you can only enforce it with a heavy hand.  It runs counter to what we all see and experience every day.  Everybody knows that our cities have been destroyed by liberalism.  Everybody knows all this.  That’s why the only way to enforce it is by saying that if you question our dogmas we will punish you.

 Yes, that’s interesting.  In tonight’s Belfast Telegraph,[1] a member of the Scottish parliament, John McCallion, has called for restrictions on Scottish bands travelling to Ulster for the Twelfth because it’s possible that they might - only ‘might’, mind you – go to Drumcree or somewhere else solely to cause trouble.     Now that is by no means objective.  He is saying that the very fact that these bands are getting on a boat and coming to Ulster means that they are going to cause trouble and they must be stopped.  This appears to me to be symptomatic of this mentality of control that is so typical of the liberal-left and New Labour.

 There’s a book that is almost prophetic as we look back on it.  It was the third volume of C S Lewis’s space trilogy, called That Hideous Strength.  He describes this coalition between government and media and universities to suppress dissent and thought.

   To this man McCallion, these bands represent something that he doesn’t want to have to deal with.  He would rather lock them up and throw away the key.  He doesn’t want to debate with them.  He doesn’t want to discuss anything with them.  They represent everything he detests.  I think if we go back to that Tony Blair quote that perhaps he’s on to something in that he’s recognising the essential unity of culturally conservative forces when he throws them all together.  He’s right.  These are in a sense united.  Maybe he’s on to something that many culturally conservatives have yet to understand – the essential unity we have.

 Hmm, that’s a point.  I think that most people when they read it went open-mouthed with astonishment, but perhaps these ‘forces of conservatism’ do stand in the way of Tony Blair’s grand project.  Abroad he’s literally put people in boxes; at home he’s bringing in very repressive legislation.  This football hooliganism bill he’s rushing through parliament will take passports off people who have the ‘wrong tattoos’ or people who have no criminal convictions but whom they suspect might possibly perhaps in certain circumstances do something criminal.  All due process has gone.  All this Magna Carta stuff that has built up over centuries that you don’t deprive anyone of their rights unless they have committed a crime and been convicted of that offence by due process of law has gone out the window. 

   It’s been replaced by, ‘We think that you might do something wrong. We don’t like the look of you, so we’re taking away your right to travel.’

 I don’t mean in any way to condone violence for the sake of violence but I think that in the extreme loyalty of many football supporters there is that sense of memory, of loyalty to one’s parents and grandparents – to one’s place.  In the soul of that – and it is very often distorted in bad ways – but in the soul of that, lies something which Blair can’t tolerate.  So he’s got to stop that.   We’ve got to be without any sense of loyalty to anything except this New World Order.

   I don’t want to use this in the sense of a conspiracy, but there is a philosophy of destroying all local faith and allegiances.

 Yes, I can accept that.  I don’t believe in any grand over-arching conspiracy set down by somebody in the United Nations or whatever, but there is a global convergence.  Tony Blair and Bill Clinton are soul brothers in this respect.  One time Tony is cajoling Bill to act in a certain way – ‘Let’s bomb these Serbs’, for example – and sometimes it’s the other way around.  Bill is urging Tony to do something for him.

 I don’t know Blair at all, but in the case of Clinton, I think it has a lot to do with career advancement and the amoralism of the man.  Maybe Blair means it more sincerely which might be worse.  In that sense, I think that Hillary Clinton is worse than Bill.  If Bill smelled that the path to power was to join the Ku Klux Klan I think he would do so.  She probably wouldn’t.

 There are interesting parallels between both men.  Hillary is a very high-powered lawyer.  So is Cherie Booth, Tony’s wife.  She is a very highly paid professional barrister.  This whole thing about shaping the law to reflect liberal-leftist values under the agenda of so-called ‘human rights’ is all part of the same pattern.  It’s trying to mould us all to conform.

  Blair talks about New Labour, New Britain, New This, New That.  He never says ‘The Labour Party believes…’ Now some people within his party believe that he has cut his party off from its roots and led it into this pinko-liberalism of the PC brigade.

   It’s quite amusing, because the Trade Union movement pays a lot of Labour’s bills but it is getting very little for it.  New Labour is cut away from traditional working class socialist roots.  I sometimes get the impression that these NuLab people actually despise the very working class folk that Labour once identified with.

 That’s an excellent point.  In the little I’ve read in terms of biography of the Clintons you find that they are very cruel to the people that work around the White House.  Whenever they do come in contact with working class people their arrogance and disdain comes out.  So, I don’t think that this has anything to do with traditional socialism, which although I might have some quibble with, was motivated by a sincere desire to alleviate a lot of economic and social ills that came in the wake of the industrial revolution.

   I don’t think that’s what a Clinton of a Blair is concerned with at all.  I think they’re concerned with essentially keeping in power these totalitarian leftists by bribing a certain underclass with the money of the rest of the nation and by combining the university and media elites with this underclass.

  I think that what happens in Great Britain is that a lot of traditional Labour voters haven’t figured out yet that these people are not their friends at all.  They continue to vote as their fathers and grandfathers voted.  This is a grave mistake. 

There have been some recent straws in the wind.  Tony Blair addressed a meeting of the Women’s Institute, a respectable ‘backbone of England’ group with a strong rural base.  These matronly women actually booed, hissed and slow-handclapped him.  The pictures of him that day actually reminded me of Ceausescu on the balcony on the day he made his fateful speech when he lost the confidence of the Romanian people.  The old tricks just didn’t seem to work.  It suggests that not everyone is as happy with Tony Blair as was the case in May 1997 when he was elected.

 The problem with reversing the trend is that the educational system and the media cut the soul out of people.  They eliminate from the public the ability to have a critical sense towards a Clinton or a Blair.  Let’s face it.  TV is the moulder of the minds of most young people today - indeed most middle-aged people today.  South Africa, up until the mid 1970s, forbade television.  I think that if you want to chart the course of the destruction of that nation then you have to look towards the letting in of television.

   I was thinking when I was watching some of the Twelfth of July parades that a lot of the young people have to be very confused.  On the one hand they are inheriting this deeply traditional culture with all its symbols and rituals and its deeply traditional Faith from parents and grandparents. On the other hand television and maybe the schools bombard them with a whole different worldview.  It’s got to be very confusing to kids caught in this tremendous battle for their souls, especially here in Ulster where the culture has its eye towards the past.

 That’s an interesting point.  There is, I suppose, a certain tension in that but you can see that the culture still seems to be carrying on.  There are young people in the bands.  This tension could possibly cause a later breakdown.  So far, though, it has remained vital.  You’ve seen upwards of 50,000 people today turning up at Scarva.

Will the kid who is wearing an earring today be wearing a bowler hat tomorrow?

 We’ll leave that thought hanging.  If I understand you, then, you would identify television as one of the main corrosive sources in Western Society.  Is this so?

 Well, television, movies and music.  All three.

 But television is probably the most powerful of these media.  Most people watch it.  Parents often use it as a babysitter.  I just read a book by Peter Hitchens, The Abolition of Britain, and he is strong in his accusations against television.  We have a television programme here called Grange Hill.  It’s about a fictional comprehensive school.  Hitchens often wonders if people of a certain age actually remember what really happened to them in school or whether they are having ‘false memory syndrome’ of what they saw on Grange Hill in 1980.

 To me, it is astonishing how people of a certain age cannot be completely horrified by what has become of schooling and education and the media.  Don’t they recall the essentially sound, respectful educational institutions they went to in the fifties and early sixties?    I think that the mid-sixties are the effective cut-off date.  Some one used the phrase ‘the great eclipse’ to describe the post mid-sixties.  People my age should remember that sanity at one time prevailed.  It’s astonishing to think that they’re not up in arms.

So far, especially in the grammar schools, a lot of that has been resisted here.  A very strong lobby is under way for the abolition of selection in education and for an end to streaming by ability.  In England they have gone for comprehensive education in which students of all abilities are all thrown in together.  What happens is that those who don’t want to learn mess about in class and this ruins things, breaks down discipline and causes difficulties for those who do want to learn.

 Yes.  Anyone, to my mind, who does any teaching, has to realise that’s what you face.  You can’t teach like that.

 So, we still have streaming here but the liberals are trying to abolish it.  Now that Sinn Féin holds the Department of Education portfolio at Stormont – and they swallow the whole liberal-leftist ideology – it is quite likely that selection in education will be abolished within a year or two.  That will put education here on the slippery slope to destruction.

 What’s going to have to happen, if you’re at all serious, is that you’ll have to establish a private school system, a privately funded school system.  The Afrikaners only understood this much too late and because of this they lost a lot of their children.

 There is already a small ‘independent Christian school’ system.  The State will give out money to private schools but it requires nominees to be placed on the Board of Governors and seeks to give some direction to the form of direction to the form of education taught by such schools.  These independent Christian schools don’t want to be bound by the conditions of state directions.  They have totally opted out of everything.

 Well, to me it’s the only way to go at a certain point, once the whole liberal-leftist dogma becomes part of government policy although it’s still being resisted as you say.  But take what they call the issue of homosexuality.  They are going to say that you can’t teach that it is a sin.  I’m sure they’ll say that at a certain point.  How can you run a Protestant school, or a Catholic school for that matter, without saying that it is a sin?  That’s the kind of reason why you are going to have to eventually have your own school system – or have a government that is your own government! 

The whole system that you once described as ‘insipid liberal relativism’ and called the ‘philosophical law of the land’ seems to me to be the philosophical law of the whole Western world.

 Yes.  It’s just the West.  It’s not in the Islamic world, which remains free of it to a large extent.  I think that’s something that Western traditionalists should think about a lot more – that their enemies are not Islamic people that take Islam seriously.

 I would like to move on to address matters in the United States.  A lot of Ulsterfolk identify with America, particularly with the Southern parts, which are areas which were settled by Ulster-Scots or ‘Scotch-Irish’ as they’re called over there.  Places like the Carolinas and Virginia.  There has been a certain affinity with the South.  One of the South’s politicians, who is reputedly friendly with Dr Ian Paisley is Strom Thurmond.  

  Some time ago you reviewed a book on hi in Third Way magazine.  In 1948, he warned that the resulting civil strife in the event of forced racial integration of all facilities “may be horrible beyond imagination.  Chaos will prevail.  Our streets will be unsafe and there will be the greatest breakdown of law enforcement in the history of the nation.”  For me, as an interested outsider looking in now over fifty years later, I would say that this man was a prophet.  He had it spot on. 

   So what happened to Strom Thurmond?  This man who foretold all this also said that there were not enough troops in the US army to force Southerners to accept racial integration.  Then I find out that this same man sponsored a Bill to make Martin Luther King’s birthday a public holiday.  He must be well into his nineties, but he’s still around.  However, instead of saying, “Wow!  I was a prophet.  What did I tell you?  It’s all come true.”  He seems to have gone into an 180 degree turn away from all of this.  What happened to Strom Thurmond and is it symptomatic of a lot of people in the South?

 The collapse of the Southern resistance has always been a fascinating topic to me.  Here were people who in the mid-fifties were saying that they would never abandon their way of life.  Ten years later it was all over. 

   The Supreme Court decision was in 1954 and by 1967 or so they had lost every battle.  There is integration of public accommodation, schooling, everything.  Now you don’t hear any of their previous ideas mentioned by the same politicians by and large.  There was a lot of bluff and bluster, a lot of angry rhetoric and when push came to shove there was surrender and a complete turning of their collective backs on their own people and their own traditions.  It was similar, I think, with the National Party in South Africa, which was founded to protect the Afrikaner and which became the vehicle for the destruction of Afrikanerdom.

   There seems to be a dangerous tendency to confuse romantic rhetoric, imagery of verbal firmness with the reality of clear strategy and tactics.  When you think that in the fifties they had all these rallies and they played Dixie, they waved thousands of Confederate flags and the politicians would say, ‘Never, never, never!’ and ten years later there were no more flags, no more Dixie, no more rallies.  It was the substitution of a kind of psychological soothing ritual of defiance for the reality of how one could actually accomplish something.

 That all sounds terribly and scarily familiar to me because I can see similar defiant rhetoric on the lips of some Ulster politicians.  It’s ending up in sullen compliance and possibly even more than that as things move along.  There do seem to me to be some parallels, but Gerry Adams, the Sinn Féin leader uses imagery in which he calls Portadown ‘Ireland’s Alabama’. 

 Oh.  But isn’t it Protestants who want the freedom to march?


 Well, the analogy doesn’t quite hold there, does it?

You know, you’re right.  We’ll have to pick Mr Adams up on that the next time he uses that comparison.  He also compares the Orange Order to the Ku Klux Klan. He doesn’t mean it as a compliment.

 That’s silly.  You know, it would be presumptuous of me to have clear opinions on the situation here in Ulster.  I’m just beginning to study it and to become familiar with it, so I don’t want to put forth things in an absolutely final way.  I’m still in the middle of my studying, reading and visiting, but two things do strike me here.

   First, though I understand very much the sentimental ties to Great Britain and how much blood they regard has been invested in the linkage to Great Britain there comes a point when you have to realise that Great Britain is not what it once was.  The desire to preserve one’s own heritage, religion and cultural identity is not going to be aided by Great Britain.  It is going to be hindered by it.  The government - certainly the Labour government, but even the Conservatives and even the Monarchy – does not really have any sympathy for the things that people here cherish.  Ulsterfolk have my sympathy in their sentimental ties, but I think it is an error and they have to move beyond that to some idea of independence for themselves.  Britain’s not their friend anymore.  It’s painful to recognise but it’s a fact.

   The other thing is maybe going to be even more controversial to your readers.  I understand the importance of Protestant faith to Protestant people but in many areas there are a lot of similarities between the Catholic population of this country with the Protestant population.  I think that any ultimate solution here is going to have to create space for both these cultures to live and fulfil themselves.   I know that republican violence makes this difficult to do but there has to be some involvement in the direction of reaching out and dealing with traditional Catholics and people that value their heritage. 

   Maybe it’s presumptuous of me to say these two things.  I might not know enough but these are first impressions.

 I appreciate that.  Interestingly enough, New Labour is trying to push a revision of the law regarding abortion in Ulster.  The law here is still that of the 1920s.  Basically, it only allows for abortion when the mother’s life is in immediate danger.  That kind of abortion is legal here, so you’d probably only get perhaps thirty or so of these in a year.  Apart from that, all other abortion is child destruction and is not legal.  The 1967 Act, which has lead to some five and a half million abortions in Great Britain, does not yet apply here.  NuLab is trying to put through so-called ‘reform’ of the law to bring it into line with that in England and Wales. 

   There is, however, widespread opposition among all the parties here  - the SDLP, the unionist parties and even Sinn Féin.  Sinn Féin, although liberal-leftist in their politics, can’t afford to alienate the Catholic population on this issue.  The SDLP would also resist any change in the abortion law for similar reasons.  I suppose then, that this is one area where Catholic and Protestant can agree.

 There are probably more, but there is going to have to be a reaching out.  Perhaps this will be very difficult given the hundreds of years that go into it, but I think that the survival of both Catholic and Protestant populations in Northern Ireland is dependent on cutting the tie to Great Britain and cutting the tie to the Irish Republic.  Both can then try to maintain their own cultures within this – how shall I put this? – within this ‘island’ of cultural and religious sanity.    The Republic has become a force for anti-Catholicism.

 You’ve just answered a point I was about to make.  Within the past five years, this whole Politically Correct notion has gathered considerable force down in the Republic.  All the various things that made the Republic distinctive have been eroded. 

   With a certain amount of prosperity, EU money etc., all sorts of things have been swallowed that would never have been entertained twenty years ago.  Politicians and the media are now talking of Éire as a ‘multicultural society’.  Now, just as forty years or so ago, nobody voted for Great Britain to become a multicultural society there has been no referendum in the Republic to accept a peaceful invasion and to transform it into one either.  Yet it has virtually become Holy Writ that transforming the Republic into a multicultural society is A Good Thing.

 If you had told those fellows in the Post Office in 1916 that they were to have a multicultural society they would have come out and surrendered right away.  What were they fighting for?

Yes.  What’s the point of having a separate Ireland if your won institutions are going to be the same as, for example Somalia?


 It makes ‘Ireland’ just a geographical term.  It upturns the old republican song, “Ireland, once a Province shall be a Nation once again.”  It should be rewritten, “Ireland, once a Nation shall be a Province once again.”  Only this time instead of a Province of Britain it will be a province of the whole world.

 Yes.  That’s just another argument for why these ties should be cut.  If the Catholic population of Ulster values its identity then the Republic can only bring it down.  It can only hurt those values, their own Catholic identity.  Of course, the problem here lies in Rome.  Rome since Vatican II has slowly by surely been losing its own faith in itself.

   It strikes me as similar to Protestants and the Monarchy.  Here’s this romantic link to your leader who is supposedly the Defender of the Faith.  Well, Queen Elizabeth II is not the defender of the Protestant faith and Pope John Paul II is very far from an adequate defender of the Catholic faith. 

In another of your Third Way articles, you mentioned that nationalists of European descent tend to be, “united by just a sense of impending doom.”  What did you mean by that?

 Well, we are all playing for a football team losing 3-0 or 4-0 with three minutes to go in the game.   Over the past two hundred or so years of history, and especially since World War II, there has been a slow erosion of faith and identity in Europe.  There is a sense of desperation that if something is not done that we won’t be able to reverse things. 

   There are two things that threaten the West.  One is liberalism, which is the destruction of faith and values and culture.  The other is multiracialism or multiculturalism which is essentially a peaceful invasion and take-over of these countries.  Both of these things are hard to turn back the clock on once they have been done.  

   Take America, for example.  It’s almost impossible to envision how we can possibly turn back the clock in America on the multiracial thing.  In terms of religion and culture the problem is again that once education is in the hands of liberal-leftists so future generations are all ruined.  I think that’s where the desperation comes from.  People don’t see an easy way to score these four goals in three minutes.

Don’t you think, though that there’s some sort of desperation on the part of the liberal-left too?  Do they not fear that those goals may yet be scored?  Have you noticed that they seem to want to close down everything they don’t run?  For example, they seem to be very afraid of the internet because it allows everyone to become their own publisher.  I notice in today’s news that the FBI has got a new computer, which it wants to link up to all the ISPs in America so as to dissect e-mails and similar communications.  The British government has its Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill which also makes it an offence not to give up your encryption key or password when ‘asked’ to do so by the security services.  The penalty is two years in prison.   All this new repressive State apparatus is justified in the name of combating drug-dealing, terrorism and paedophilia. 

   Doesn’t this suggest that there is still fear in the liberal-left establishment that people might waken up and say, “Hey, we’ve had enough!”?

 The internet terrifies them.  As you say, it’s a means of communication they can’t control.  They control TV.  They control radio, the movies and popular music.  Here’s a form of communication that can reach large numbers of people that they can’t control.  That’s why they want to pass all sorts of legislation to chain it down. 

   I think the thing that frightens them is mass apathy.  In America few people actually vote.  I don’t know about England, but in America less than half of the population votes.  So, over there, Big Brother totalitarian leftism does not really have the loyalty of the people.  They have ripped the soul out of people so that they are apathetic, watch TV and worry about their careers and that’s it.  But people are not really with them.

   I think that bothers them a lot.  People are not voting.  Why aren’t they voting?  It’s not that they really control people’s minds.  They have made politics, religion and ethnic culture irrelevant to most people.  That has a certain kernel o hope because at least they are not on the other side.  They might parrot some of the clichés but they don’t necessarily mean them.

 So, if a turnaround comes about the clichés they parrot could be ours?  Like Strom Thurmond perhaps?  The things he said fifty years ago could become the new orthodoxy once again in a few years’ time.

 Exactly.  But the thing is that what we say makes so much more sense that it would be easier.  They wouldn’t have to parrot them because of fear.  It would be people saying the truth as they experience it.

Today many people think, “We know this is true, but you just can’t say it.”

 Yes.  “Oh really?  Oh, you thought that too?”  Everybody knows what a disaster multiracialism has been in New York City but nobody will say it.  Everybody knows it.  Everybody thinks it.  If we just tell people, “You know, you really have to say what you think”, a lot of people just might say it.  And going to religious issues, everybody feels that traditional families with religious values who go to church or synagogue live much more balanced fulfilled lives than what happens to families today. 

   Everybody knows this.  Everybody realises it but no-one wants to say it.  I think that if somehow you can break through this it might become an avalanche.  Unlike the truths in the American Declaration of Independence, these truths really are self-evident.

 What about the interesting case of Austria where a national-populist party managed to get into government because it gained a respectable vote?  There was a hysterical reaction from the European Union, especially from the socialist Portuguese presidency.  Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and the Israeli government all jumped on to the Austria-bashing bandwagon.  Some political sanctions have even been imposed against the Austrian people – all in the name of ‘democracy’.

 Isn’t that something?  Isn’t that something?   It’s the fear that once the people start to break rank and question their silly dogmas, who knows where this might lead?  So if this little crack appear, you’ve got to destroy it.  As you say, I would think that the people understand what’s taking place.  I would hope so, because, as you say, in the name of ‘democracy’ they were going to coerce people into believing something.  It just makes no sense.  It’s 1984 double-talk. 

   But again, it’s so hard for those of us who are politically active and involved to somehow creep into the heads of these TV watchers.  We don’t know what’s going on there.  Sometimes I’m just astonished at how little of this matters to the vast majority of these TV people.  I often wonder what makes them tick.  Maybe totalitarian leftism has really created a ‘new man’ in the sense of a man who doesn’t experience religious or cultural or familial or ancestral needs.  Maybe this has spawned a new creature – a 1984 creature that maybe we can’t reach anymore.  But God gave every man a soul, so buried underneath that TV and movies somewhere is still a human being. 

Over these past few days you have been visiting Ulster.  I know it’s your first time here and you came at quite an ‘interesting time’ as the Chinese would say.  There have been street demonstrations and unrest in the past few days.  The Orange Institution in particular has had a bad press owing to loyalist paramilitary show of strength surrounding some protests and people’s cars getting hijacked at some other protests.  You’ve bee walking around that and then seeing the actual parades on the Twelfth and the Black demonstration in Scarva.  So, what are your impressions? 

My first general impression is that it’s just a wonderful thing that I’ve witnessed these past two days.  To see these parades with all generations linked, the old people, the young people, grandfathers linked in a sense of gratitude to their own ancestors, their culture and their faith.  They’re celebrating it with a firmness and a tenacity I found to be inspiring and I’ll take it back to America that it’s going to be a source of strength to me.  It’s a wonderful thing that I saw.

   The first time I saw it when they were just forming up, they were actually coming down the street in front of the hotel.  I was almost moved to tears the first time that I saw it.  Back home in America, there’s nothing quite like it and I’m sure it’s very infrequent in the rest of Europe as well.

   In many ways, this is a little bastion of man in the way that God wanted him to be.  It’s just a wonderful thing.  The first thing I’m going to tell my friends is, “you’ve got to get over here next year.” I intend to speak and write as much as I can about this and to spread the word that there is this little corner of Europe that is still sane and still alive.

[1] Belfast Telegraph July 13th 2000.



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