Dispatches From The Troubles
by Lou Antonelli
July 12, 1963
Orange Klan Seen as Heroes in AIR Protestant Stronghold
By R.W. APPLE
The New York Times
LONDONDERRY, AIR—It's 9:00 p.m. and the stifling
summer air outside is very hazy, but inside O'Flaherty's Cantina the air is even more opaque with cigarette smoke mixed with curses against the administration of President John Kennedy, who is not very popular in this predominantly Orange city of the American Irish Republic.
Protestant neighborhoods in the buffer republic are rife with discontent after President Kennedy issued an order last week banning all July 12th parades this year in a peacekeeping effort.
"He thinks he's a better Irishman than we are," said Mike O'Neill, a plasterer who clasped a thick mug of cold dark ale. There were nods all around the table. "We're Irishmen, too, ain't we?" asked another. "Didn't DeValera welcome us with open arms when the IRA gave us 'The Choice'?"
It has been over forty years, but the outcome of the Irish Civil war and 'The Choice' given the Ulster Protestants by the victorious IRA—between 'the suitcase or the coffin'—still rankles.
Orange parades have been common for decades in cities with large Protestant populations, but the growth of the Northern Irish émigré population—and the growth of the 'Marching Season'—led to violence last summer as they passed Catholic neighborhoods that had never been affected before.
July 12 marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690—a famous victory over Catholic forces. The Marching Season traditionally lasts from 'The Twelfth' until the Apprentice Boys
Parades which are held on the second Saturday in August.
President Kennedy's ban has stirred a great resentment. "The old timers don't like that we've become such a part of the AIR," said Ralph Mikan, a plumber. "They want to go back to when the AIR was all Catholic."
"The Marching Season is the heart and soul of our community," said Nick Counts. "We're just poor hardworking people who are proud of our history."
"Most of us came here without even that suitcase, as the Provos overran our homes," said James Doherty, captain of the pub's Irish football team. "My father didn't have ten pence in his
pocket when he arrived. I was three years old and held his hand the whole trip. I barely remember those horrible times." He took a swig of some dark stout. "It's probably better that way, I'd be even more bitter."
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"Dispatches From The Troubles" is roughly 11434 words.
Lou Antonelli has had fifty stories published in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia since he started writing speculative fiction in 2002. His stories have appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Jim Baen's Universe, Dark Recesses, and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, among others. His Texas-themed short story collection Fantastic Texas was published in 2009 by Wilder Publications, and his next collection, Texas and Other Planets, is forthcoming from the Merry Blacksmith Press.