It was like stepping back in a time machine today at the boundaries of the Protestant/Loyalist Shankill and the Catholic/Separatist Falls. We normally don’t think of western civilization in Europe as having such vicious bloodshed with innocent killings through shootings and bombings. Yet, in the wake of Manchester’s recent tragedy, we need to reminded of the peace that can be found among war lines.
The history behind the Troubles was truly astounding. I would never imagine there could be so much hate that guerrilla armies could be formed to fight neighbors. The war itself is more akin to gang warfare, but that is by no means a reason to overlook the horrors that locals still easily remember. This is a huge event in Europe for the 20th century.
Seeing the murals on each side and how they glorified their side and vilified the other was powerful as an outsider. The art was outstanding, large and captured with bold words speaking of the legendary status of their heroes and fallen ones. Just a minute driving and wham! You are in enemy territory. The general tension seemed somewhat low; it was uplifting to see the messages on the wall expressing peace and love. I felt completely safe as children and parents walked by. Never once would I imagine these beautiful neighborhoods would be battle zones.
It was peaceful sunny day today. The discussion was powerful; a remembrance that peace will always trump hate. The wall and murals remain as reminders of Belfast’s bloody history, and a sign of striving for peace.