Reading My Way Around the World

Friday 16 August 2013

Remembering ...

15 years ago today, the Troubles in Northern Ireland came to an end .... at the hands of dissident bombers who blew up the centre of Omagh town - 29 or 30 people died ... I can't remember exactly what the number was, and I don't want to check ... I've been trying all day to not notice it!

But it marked a turning point ... we had had calm for 5 years running up to that ... and then out of nowhere, on a Holy Day holiday here , the centre of people's lives in a small market town were destroyed.
I remember being in Connemara with my cousins, visiting for a few days by the Atlantic Coast ... and I remember crying when I heard the news .... probably the only time I cried throughout all the years that had gone before.

But for the first time, people came out onto the streets to protest against the violence ... I stood in our local town a few days later with 1000s of people, willing it all to be over ... ..  the following year, the ceasefires were announced, and not long after that the Good Friday agreement was put in place .... It's not perfect by any means but it was a starting point.

I wrote this song years ago on my father's anniversary, but it seems appropriate for tonight ... 
thinking of all of us and what has gone before.

There has been incredible healing done since that day; the two tribes living here at least now acknowledge each other.

Almost immediately after the ceasefires we started to talk to each other - friends and neighbours talking about our feelings and our experiences ... no-one had done that for the previous 30 years - there was an unspoken rule that you never talked politics or religion - we introduced ourselves mostly by first names because your surname would give away your religion.  Up until that point I hadn't noticed the fear in my stomach every night going to bed ... Tom and I are a mixed marriage - two different sides of the perceived divide ... and people had been shot for less.

Thankfully nobody belonging to us was harmed, blown up or locked away.   But all of us suffered a trauma that will probably not entirely leave us in our lifetime.  Now a new generation have grown up knowing no violence or threat or army on the streets - they'll be the future.    And if that leads eventually to a United Ireland it'll be brilliant, but it will be just as brilliant if we stay a separate entity.

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I had planned to write about something totally different tonight, but that is what came out, so I'm just going to go with it.  I've had a very productive day, lots of creativity, singing, knitting, cooking, I even drew a picture!!!  OK, I'll have to show you it!!

I am sooooo proud of myself!  Huge thanks to Alisa Burke - I've been taking her Summersketch class and have tried to copy her picture.   wow, next thing you know I'll have an art journal page to show!!!!

OK, I'm cheered up now ... Time for bed ... It's midnight here.
See you tomorrow.

This is day 15 of Effy's Blogalong Challenge

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