On parades (Essay)

On parades

Februar 21, 2017

Many different images evoke memories on Northern Irelands troubled past or recent politics. One of the most striking is that of "parades" and seemingly related mayhem following them. Parades by British Loyalist or Irish Nationalist marching bands are mostly associated with violence, sectarianism and paramilitarism. A negative image constructed by sometimes pretty sensationalist media coverage. For its members however, those bands are about expressing identity and celebrating their heritage. Bands perform an important role in uniting communities, be it in the narrow streets of North Belfast or in rural areas far from the urban flashpoints. They provide entertainment, opportunities to socialise and most of all something to be proud of. "On parades" is not trying to give the viewer an alternative narrative on the topic of parades. Rather, it is adding an additional perspective by focussing on the similarities shared by bands from both sides of the divide – joy, camaraderie and a sense of belonging.