Irish history is filled with great culture and tradition but also horrible conflict and violence. Much of that conflict can be seen between the Irish and English. A conflict which began roughly 800 years ago can still be seen today, in places such as Northern Ireland. Part of the treaty the Irish people made for their independence stated that the territory of Northern Ireland would remain under English rule as their own territory. That section of the treaty with England led to a civil war and, decades later, to a bloody conflict known as the Troubles.
It is remarkable how those divisions can still be seen today in Northern Ireland. Even after the Peace Agreement and many efforts to move forward, divisions and hostility can be seen in the peace walls and in murals all around Belfast and Derry. These so called peace walls, reaching 45 feet in height, keep entire communities separated because the fears of attack and violence are still so strong. Children grow up living mere feet from Catholic or Protestant neighborhoods but rarely, if ever, meet children of the opposite religion. How is it fair to deprive one child from playing and getting to know another child simply based on their religion or parents feelings of nationalism or unionism?
So many murals depict scenes of violence and terror and are seen as something of pride rather than a solemn remembrance. This can be seen with more than paintings but also in action with the Orange Order’s parade every July. Parades and bonfires can be seen in many places in Northern Ireland which upsets many people. Why can’t it be possible to acknowledge the past without putting others down? History is just that, history, events that have happened in the past. There is no need to brush events from the Troubles “under the rug” however the people of Northern Ireland must learn to deal with these issues in a healthy way before more problems arise.