While we were
driving through the streets of Belfast we were
reminded of the violent and bloody history of this
city. We passed in front of the Europa Hotel, a hotel
that was bombed more times than any other hotel in the
world. In the last forty years hundreds of innocent
men, women and children have lost their lives on the
altar of religion and nationalism, freedom and
independence. Some people ask:
Are these people who kill and get killed freedom
fighters or terrorists?
The answer depends which side of the fence or the
street one asks the question.
Some optimists told us that in the new
parliament, representatives from the Right and the
Left, Catholics and Protestants, Republicans and
Unionists have joined hands and promised their
communities that they would work together for the
betterment of all.
There are others who are skeptics. They
warned us that it is a honeymoon period. Orangemen are
getting ready for July 12th celebration
fully aware that they might be challenged by their
opponents. They tell us that hostilities run deep in
this town and there are still some who are waiting for
the right time to take revenge as their egos and
prides have been bruised repeatedly. Belfast seems to
be a city of divided loyalties and identities.
People ask themselves:
Are we Irish or British?
Are we Catholics, Protestants or Christians?
Are we patriots or traitors?
Each side feels self-righteous and rationalizes
violence in the most irrational way.
In this city there are Catholic and
Protestant fathers who want their children to go to
the same school and play in the same playground to
replace hate with love.
In this city there are mothers who take part
in peace rallies to show that people on both sides who
were killed, who lost their precious lives were
children of the same Mother Earth. These mothers want
the war to stop, the era of hostilities to end. They
want the new generation to live in peace and harmony.
Belfast is cautiously moving forward in
search of peace. There are peace lovers like me all
over the world who hope that the dream of peace comes
true and both sides burry the hatchet, say goodbye to
guns and bombs and embrace each other for the sake of
We ask ourselves:
Is it a wishful dream or are we in denial?
Are we looking at the bright future or hiding our
heads in sand like ostriches?
Only time will tell the truth, as time is the best