Jordon and Maria continue their very good Polish blog review on Global Voices Online. But the comments mentioning this blog are not correct.
They write about my post, ‘Anti-social’ Poles and ‘racist’ Northern Irish. After commenting on criticisms of Polish domestic politics they say that Poland is, quite literally, getting a kicking abroad, as well. Jordon and Maria write:
‘Not only having trouble at home, according to the beatroot, Poles are taking a beating abroad as well. Incidents of scuffles [in Belfast] between Poles and local residents are not isolated, particularly in Ireland. The beatroot makes a religious connection, arguing that beatings are less common in Catholic areas. To be fair, Ireland is one of the few countries that have opened their borders to work-hungry Poles.‘
They say: “Incidents of scuffles between Poles and local residents are not isolated, particularly in Ireland.” But there have been no incidents, to my knowledge, of Poles taking beatings in Ireland. In fact I never mentioned Ireland in that post once. I was talking about Northern Ireland, which is, of course, part of the United Kingdom.
And the ‘scuffles’ you talk about have put Poles in hospitals – surly a bit more than a ‘scuffle.’
Then we have, ‘...the beatroot makes a religious connection.' No I didn’t. But Poles have done, as they seem to think these are anti-catholic beatings. I don't think they are.
I said that the attacks have been in Loyalist areas – Loyalists, in this context, are mostly Protestants, but a loyalist is a political category, not a religious one. The conflict in N. Ireland over the past 30 or 40 years has not been over some theological point, but over the six counties being British (loyalist) or Irish (Irish republican).
The attacks on Poles have been almost exclusively in poor, Loyalist areas in Northern Ireland – that is a fact. Groups from to loyalist paramilitary outfits may have been involved in one of the incidents, and some of these groups are very nasty skinkhead types with connections to British groups like Combat 18 (follow the links and you will see that these are linked to Polish neo-nazis as well). These days, these groups are just organized criminals or just a bunch of thugs out for a 'laugh'.
But I made the point that the attacks are probably nothing to do with Poles being Catholics and are not sectarian in character at all, but are the result of a general law and order breakdown in areas which used to have communities that policed themselves. Since the Good Friday Agreement that ability seems to have gone, communities have become depolitisized and the police do not seem to be able to reduce the soaring crime rate in general in those areas.