Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's beauty is often times tarnished with the conflicts of the IRA.  Now, truthfully, in 1970 something, I was in grade school, I didn't understand the IRA or their issues.  It wasn't "my" fight and still isn't.  I do remember my dad saying something like..."those darn Catholics, making people do what they don't want to do."  I also remember hearing him say, "that crazy IRA."  So, both ways.  But, being forced to live on a reservation, not allowed to go to public school as a child...I can dad was sympathetic with the IRA.  So, this post will be my opinion, in light of whom raised me, how I was raised.   

Our CIE tour guide for Ireland was John.  He was the best!  I love it when someone is passionate about something and he is about his country.  He explained the history of Ireland and England - trust me, it is centuries of bad things the English did to the Irish.  Now, John didn't say anything bad about England - he was just saying the facts....this is my opinion.  

What I didn't understand was that the conflicts in Northern Ireland has nothing really to do with Catholics against Protestants.  Yes, the reason they originally had conflicts was because the English rule was Protestant and they made it illegal for any Irish family to worship and raise their children in any other religion.  That was the root of it.  However, the conflict really is, Nationalists (those Irish only thinkers) and Loyalists (stay loyal to the crown - William of Orange).   If someone understands another country coming into their country and taking their customs's the Native Americans.  That is probably why, I'm sympathetic to the Irish - I HATE when people tell me what to do.

So, Northern Ireland is filled with Nationalists and Loyalists.  In fact the conflict continues.  Did you know that Belfast has a wall or walls...literally a wall - that divides these two neighborhoods?  It is called the Peace Wall.  Can you image?

John told us that what is built on one side of the wall is also built on the other side.  So each community has the same stores and such.  John said they like it this way and to each party it is fair.  What isn't fair in my opinion, is that if you are a Nationalist, you and your family might not get the best jobs, have the best future here as prejudices and fear run deep.  Hey, if any country knows about prejudices and's America..."we" should not point any fingers here!  

John took us past these walls and asked if anyone wanted to stop and take a picture.  Justine, you know, is a Social Worker.  She is so much more educated about conflicts in the world than I, she was asking John all kinds of questions.  I learned so much from their dialogue.  Justine asked if she could sign the Peace hopes of peace for this area...she started something, as almost the whole bus came off and signed it.  Good job Justine.  Even though she doesn't always agree with my (our) views politically, we must have done something right to raise such a passionate, caring individual.  One who can think for herself!  Anyway, the wall murals were beautiful. 


John did say that one motivating factor to this movement was our own Civil Rights movement.  

John said that a journalist came and interviewed 2 women, one from each side of the wall.  Both said that they are proud of the peace that has come between these parties.  When asked if the wall should come down, both said "not yet."  I reminded John of that famous quote from Edmund Burke - "those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."  He agreed.  I wrote about this in relationship to our own political conflicts this year.  Here is the link:

So, the Irish flag

tells us everything we need to know...Green is for Nationalists, Orange is for (William of Orange) Loyalists and the White is for peace between them.  

I always pray for peace in all parts of our world.  I also pray for those in power over me, whether I agree with them or not.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

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