Today we visited what is properly known in Britain as Londonderry. Well the name depends on which side someone is on. The republican Irish call it Derry, because they are not comfortable with anything Protestant/Presbyterian/British there.
The feeling of sadness was palpable in the city. We entered at a point, “the river side,” where the English had originally built a fort, and took command of the valley. Over time, the Catholics were pushed away from the water, and down into the “bogside” where they remain today. After that small detour, I will proceed to explain the tangible sadness we experienced. As the class walked down the main street, we saw mural after mural which all depicted the tragic history of trauma and politics that has dominated the Northern Irish culture.
So this image, among others, sent chills down my spine. Both for the fact that the image, among others, had to be passed by every day, and because they reminded the people of Derry, daily, what the city had endured over hundreds of years. In the 1600s there was a siege, and then of course the Troubles, and even the past 20 years with the IRA and British fiercely contending for the Bog side. What will become of Derry/Londonderry, is yet to be known. But I have the feeling that the resiliency of the people will carry the city through it all, and hopefully, one day, the people of Northern Ireland will really know peace.