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6 September 2001 Edition

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Croppies will not lie down

It remains to be seen whether or not loyalists will call off their campaign against Catholic schoolgirls in Ardoyne in the wake of Wednesday morning's bomb attack against the children.

For three days this week, the world has watched in horror and disgust as schoolgirls as young as four have been forced to walk the gauntlet of a hate-filled sectarian mob screaming abuse and launching missiles in their direction.

Loyalists demand that the children use the back-door entance to Holy Cross school. This has been the unionist attitude to the nationalist population since the foundation of the Six-County state - Catholics and nationalists should neither be seen nor heard. Nationalists should use back entrances and back alleys, keep their heads down and their mouths shut.

The Northern state structure and all of its agencies, including the police, have held firm to such an ethos for eight decades. Those who targeted four year-old girls in Ardoyne are merely the products of a sectarian state-system.

The schoolgirls in Ardoyne were only babies when the Good Friday Agreement was concluded in 1998. That Agreement was designed to find a way of moving away from the failures of a sectarian society. Three years on, as we look at the scenes from Ardoyne, where is the ``right to equal opportunity in all social and economic activity, regardless of class, creed, disability, gender or ethnicity'' guaranteed in the Agreement?

Where is ``the right to freedom from sectarian harassement'', also guaranteed in the Agreement. Where is the right to education for nationalist children in Ardoyne?

It is the responsibility of the Dublin and London governments to uphold the Good Friday Agreement. So far, there has been a failure, particularly on the part of the British government, to do so and twice since 1998 the institutions of the Agreement have been suspended by that government at the behest of unionists, who wish to frustrate political progress.

The ugly scenes in Ardoyne are a direct result of the failure of politics and in particular the failure to defend the rights of the nationalist people. Unionist politicians who are frustrating political progress and opposing change in the Six Counties are in league with the mob who are attacking schoolgirls in Ardoyne.

But nationalists will no longer skulk around their own country kow-towing to neanderthals and fascists. Nationalists will not accept second-class citizenship, whether in the corridors of political power on in the narrow streets of Ardoyne. In short, croppies will not lie down.

In the meatime the question nationalists are asking of both governments, particularly the British is - where is the promised new political dispensation?

An Phoblacht Magazine

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