Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Quick update - "peace' walls

The May 6th, 2008 blog entry 'Peace Walls' noted that "... ten years after the signing of the Good Friday agreement that brought peace to the area, these walls remain. Some want them taken down, but many do not. In fact new “peace walls” (as they are called here) continue to be erected…", while the July 28th, 2008 entry 'More about walls' took President Obama to task for foolishly claiming "... Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together..."

A recent article, 'Belfast, divided in the name of peace', notes this phenomenon and provides an update:

"... Alexandra Park in north Belfast is a gently sloping expanse of green that looks, at first glance, like any other small, well-tended public park in any other British city. It has winding paths, tall trees, a pond and, down towards its lower end, a pleasantly leafy area that could easily be turned into a nature walk for local children. To reach it, though, you have to pass though a newly created gate in a 3m-high, reinforced corrugated steel fence that bisects the park.

On a overcast afternoon last November, the park is all but deserted save for myself, Antonio Olmos, the
Observer photographer, and a solitary figure with a large dog we glimpse though the open gate. Then, as if on cue, a council van arrives and two workers jump out. It is 3pm and they are here to close the gate in the fence. As they do so, Alexandra Park once again becomes two separate parks: one Catholic, the other Protestant...

According to a report published by the
Belfast Interface Project, there are now 99 interfaces – or peace walls – in Belfast. Some walls date from the early years of the Troubles, when sectarian tit-for-tat killings and violence were a regular occurrence on the strife-torn streets of Belfast. An estimated one-third, though, have gone up since the IRA and Protestant paramilitary ceasefire in 1994. Many existing walls have been made longer and higher in recent years..."

No comments:

Post a Comment