Brother Against Brother

23 Mar

It’s hard to believe that in a mere month, I’ll be saying “slán” to Dublin already; time really does fly by when you’re having fun. Oh, and learning some stuff along the way too. Our “Northern Ireland” study tour ironically enough started much like our previous study tour: with leaving someone behind at Griffith Hall. But while some people may have saw that as an unfortunate omen, I saw it as a sign that this trip was only going to be just as interesting, if not more, than our Western Ireland tour. While Belfast was surprisingly underwhelming in size, it made up for its lack of volume in history and social development. After hearing the former Nationalist and Unionist prisoners speak about the atrocities committed during The Troubles by both sides, their own included, I realized how misled I had formerly been regarding the period. I knew the IRA was a terrorist group, however, I believed they were only acting in response to the violence initiated by the Unionists; I thought they were simply protecting their people, not instigating new acts of bloodshed. However, the situation was far from being black and white, good vs. bad, right vs. wrong. Regardless, it’s truly amazing how much progress the city has made in such a short period of time. In less than twenty years two groups of people, groups who were formerly shooting one another down in the streets and setting off bombs alongside enemy streets, are now not only only working together to maintain peace but sharing a belief that The Wall, which has separated these battling groups and alleviated conflict, can be taken down. It gives you hope for the world. If the Nationalists and Unionists, who were in conflict in some way or another for hundreds of years, can come to a peaceful solution and live as cohabitants, there’s hope for similar battles taking place in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, etc. -Megan Cummins

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