We stopped there – in front of the large towering wall that divided the two sides of Belfast. One side made up of Protestants and Loyalists, and the other made up of Catholics and Nationalists; or was it? Was that wall truly dividing up these two sides of violent Protestants and Loyalists? Was that wall truly ‘protecting’ and ‘keeping the peace’ as it was designed to? Or was that wall just providing the people of Belfast with another reminder – another image of the past. Our tour guide said he worked with both sides in community development, and said that the large majority of people are not for this divide. He said that many of them were for peace, and to stop the mindless violence as they look back on the times of the large conflict as reminder of a troubled past. Young children, men and women; people who were not involved in any part of this war were losing their lives because of a concept of ‘collateral damage’. Their memorials that fill the streets of both sides was truly an engraining memory. But there was one in particular when we entered the city of Belfast that was a bit different. It was a large sphere made out of steel, with a smaller one on the inside. I took pictures because it was quite aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It was very modern, it was very abstract looking with all of its geometric figures and shapes. Not to mention, yes, it sort of looked like Disney World’s Epcot. At the end of the weekend I looked up the sculpture to see what it stood for. To my surprise it wasn’t just some art project done at a university, it stood for something tremendous. The RISE sculpture, or colloquially known as ‘The RISE of Belfast’, is painted in all white and represents the sun rising over the Belfast skyline creating a new change – a newfound hope for Belfast’s future, spurred on by that majority who just want to live their lives without this worry. Peace for Belfast; peace for Northern Ireland.
By : Daniel Lim
*Couldn’t upload a photo due to memory restraints!*