The Slow Road to Peace
Peace-building and reconciliation is often low key, sometimes dangerous and therefore not headline grabbing. During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, behind the scenes, talks were being facilitated, mediation was taking place and groups from the two main communities were meeting and engaging with each other for the first time. Over time, a number of enemies became friends.
Some paramilitary members began to recognise the futility of conflict, changed their ways and renounced violence. We began to learn about the importance of dialogue and respect for our different traditions, in some cases, even about forgiveness.
All in all it was a very gradual process. Even today we still have a long way to go to on our path to peace. Nevertheless, those of us who remember the days of the Troubles can be thankful that we have enjoyed relative peace since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.
But we’re also aware that every day of the year is the anniversary of someone’s death as a result of ‘The Troubles’. So it’s in the context of remembering those who are still suffering physical or mental pain, that we’re presenting our ‘positive side’ which is an under-reported side of beauty, optimism, prosperity and above all, potential for a better future.
View from the grounds of Corrymeela, Ballycastle, looking towards Rathlin