There are things which seem outrageous, things which seem disgraceful, seems which seem despicable – and paramilitary murals are all of those things. And then there are things which are mystifying – such as why they are allowed at all.
It would be a straightforward piece of Private Member’s legislation – any mural, banner or other symbol displayed in public depicting paramilitarism, terrorism or gangsterism in any form (or implied support for proscribed organisations including presence of their names or initials) would be banned. Displaying them would be a criminal act; and either the Police or the Department of Regional Development would be required to arrange for them to be removed instantly.
“Community support” does not come into it – such murals do not have community support anyway, as such “support” is generally procured by intimidation. The issue is simple: it is totally unacceptable for children to grow up with the impression that violence, paramilitarism, terrorism and gangsterism are acceptable and justified. They are not.
We seem on all sides to be busy commemorating war rather than peace. This is ludicrous, because it merely condemns us to repeat the former at the excuse of the latter. Whatever our differing views and narratives on what happened here over the past decades and centuries, we should in 2013 be able to agree one thing: violence and armed conflict are not glorious; they are grotesque. We should not be making excuses for condemning another generation to them.