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[Written in 1997 before the author's visit to North America in June of that year].

And you think we have problems with Yankee interference?

PICTURE A COUNTRY where the culture of the majority community is constantly being undermined and denigrated.  Mouthpieces in public life and in the media agitate for the abolition of traditional holidays and any public expressions of that culture are treated with contempt in the media and in the legislature.  Monuments and memorials are vandalised, desecrated or removed from public display.  Schoolchildren are indoctrinated with a twisted version of history, which aims to turn them against their own heritage and culture.  Flags, traditional emblems and anthems are routinely branded as symbols of hatred and bigotry.  Persons who display such symbols on their homes, vehicles or at their place of work are subject to persecution, malicious prosecution or even murder.  Despite this, members of this community are invariably cast as the villains in popular television and film drama - often appearing as Bible-bashing fanatics, drunks, murderers, or bigots and sometimes as fanatical drunken, murdering Bible-bashing bigots.

  Most Ulster Nation readers are already familiar with this country - or so they probably think. They live in it.  In Ulster today, popular expressions of the majority's culture are under attack.  The Orange Order, a fraternal organisation based on Protestant Christian principles, has been a main target of this attack.  Its colourful traditional annual parades have been disparaged as swaggering displays of hatred, bigotry and malice.  Parades, which have been popular annual events for almost two centuries, are now deemed to be so offensive to the Irish ethnic minority group that they have been banned under the excuse that they would threaten public order.  What this means is that peaceful traditional walks have been threatened with physical attack by intolerant politically-motivated agitators who often have proven terrorist records.  At the same time, Orange halls, which in isolated rural areas are social centres for the whole community, are regularly targeted by arsonists and vandals.

   In the world of education, sports, business and politics Ulster's distinctive cultural identity has been gradually undermined and Hibernicised.  The Red Hand, the pre-eminent Ulster symbol, has been removed from the corporate logo of the Tourist Board and other public bodies.  All aspects of life are gradually being forced into an all-Ireland context.  Ulster's Irish minority are in the political driving seat as the British colonial overlords have given the government of the Irish Republic, Ulster's southern neighbour on the island, a large say `as of right' in  her public life.  

   Given all the above fact, it seems obvious to Ulsterfolk that the country I described in the opening paragraph is their own homeland.  In fact I'm referring to another country, which is largely populated by our own kinsfolk - descendants of Ulster-Scots or `Scotch-Irish' stock.  The country in question is `Dixie' - the southern states of the former Confederacy.

   Although each of the states in the American Union has the theoretical right to secede, in practice this right has been denied.  In 1860 thirteen southern states seceded and founded the Confederate States of America.  This short-lived Confederacy was defeated by force of arms in a bloody war of attrition and the secessionist `rebel states' were forcibly reincorporated into the American Union.  It was at this stage that the United States of America ceased to be a union of free, consenting states and began its transformation into a North American empire. 

  In recent years the power of the Federal government has grown at the expense of that of the states.  This has affected every state.  However, in the Southern states there is still a folk memory of better times in the past when a Confederacy of free states did exist.  Many Southern folk are very proud of their history and their rich Ulster-Scots and Anglo-Celtic cultural heritage and deep Christian faith. This helps to sustain them in the face of adversity.  That's just as well for there is plenty of it, as the enemies of the Southern people grow more arrogant and strident in their attempts to eradicate all traces of this heritage.

   These anti-Southern bigots have banned the display of the well-known Confederate battle flag, removed Confederate monuments and memorials from public display in Southern towns and cities, or desecrated and vandalised remaining memorials.  In addition, place names, which commemorate Confederate heroes, have been erased.  Individuals who display the flag have been persecuted at work and in school.  Recently, one young man was even murdered by minority bigots because he flew the flag on his pickup truck.  In South Carolina, the scalawag (the Southern term for a Lundy or collaborator) Governor David Beasley broke a campaign promise and is seeking to take the flag down from the state's capitol building.  Southern folk even have some of the same enemies as Ulsterfolk.  The New York Republican congressman Peter King, Gerry Adams' bosom buddy, has lambasted Southerners as `backwards hillbillies'. Until recently, the response from Southerners was muted and timid.  As is the case here in Ulster, this behaviour only whetted the appetites of the  anti-Southern cultural cleansers and the number of heritage violations increased enormously.  Now, however, Southern-nationalists are speaking out and resisting these heritage violations and attempts at cultural cleansing.  A 75'x 50' Confederate battle flag was hoisted by two cranes at a protest rally organised by the radical Council of Conservative Citizens outside the SC State capitol on January 14th 1997.  One of the most effective groups at organising Southern-nationalist resistance is the Southern League, [now the League of the South] which participated in the recent 1997 Third Way international conference of separatists and regionalists.  In addition to these political organisations, a couple of cultural defence and preservation groups have emerged.  Preserving our Heritage is active in the state of Florida.  The Heritage Preservation Association documents every heritage violation and fights an aggressive campaign through the media and the courts to put things right.

  Ulster-nationalists and Southern-nationalists have much in common.  We share similar cultural and ethnic roots.  We think in much the same way and we both stick in the throats of the liberal-leftist powers-that-be.  We look forward to the day when a reborn Confederacy enjoys full diplomatic relations with an independent Ulster.  In the meantime the national movements of our respective homelands should be natural allies. 

David Kerr



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