Time to Revisit the Peace Forum?

In today’s Irish Examiner, Noel Whelan reflects on last week’s BBC Two series Facing The Truth and agrees with Mark Durkan’s suggestion that the time has come to re-establish the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation as a venue for victims to express themselves more effectively than in marches on O’Connell Street.

Previous Slugger discussion on Facing The Truth here.

  • Its worth pointing out I think that there were two women on the panel aside Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
    Norn Iron is still very much a patriarchal society, and there’s nothing more patriarchal than war, marching, and pulpit preaching or political oratory.
    Forums like this Peace and Reconciliation can really make a difference, and offers the best chance of healing the terrible wounds.
    This from http://craftycurate.blogs.com/pilgrims_progress/2005/09/
    The Father and Mother Love of God
    I’ve been reflecting on the different kinds of love that God shows … and how these kinds of love are reflected in human love:
    Sometimes the Bible talks of God’s love in what might traditionally be called a maternal way i.e. protective, covering, enfolding e.g. longing to gather up his people as a hen gathers her chicks under its wing. (Luke 13:34).
    At other times, his love is portrayed in a more traditionally paternal way i.e. the kind of strength-giving, rugged love e.g. “you are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased”. (Luke 3)
    You might think of Judgement and Punishment as essentially patriarchal, and healing and restoration as essentially matriarchal.
    The former has failed us, so we might as well try the latter.

  • ingrammartin

    The Two Govts do not want it and Sinn Fein do not want it. That is why the NI offences bill will be brought back into play shortly.

    The chances of a full TRF are as good as Mrs Finucane being given the truth about the murder of her husband.

    Martin

  • Martin
    And they’re wrong, because you’ll never heal or cure the hurt through the courts, the only way to do it is through patience and understanding, without resentment. In forums like the above.
    sorry peteb 😉
    As for Mrs Finucane:
    ” no way to treat a lady “

  • Why should the people have to wait for likes of Messers Paisley and Adams to face their inner demons and moral cowardice, when these forums are about rebuilding shattered lives?
    No wonder they don’t want them , as it exposes their hypocracy.

  • Dk

    SL,

    And as well as that the programmes seemed to have shown the absurdity of violence, as well as the idiocy of labelling people a convenient shade based on their religion/job/location.

    The programmes were a start. Maybe they should continue as podcasts if TV is too expensive to continue them!

    DK

  • well DK seriously, they should only be recorded with the consent of both sides.
    Otherwise the process is open to the criticism of a bizarre kind of Trisha-like entertainment show.
    The Stormont buildings ought to be permanently opened for such meetings, starting now.
    Victims and perpetrators get invited and then booked in to attend, and it goes on and on and on until the very last case is dealt with.
    Let’s face it nothing else is happening on the political front!

  • fair_deal

    “Mark Durkan’s suggestion that the time has come to re-establish the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation as a venue for victims to express themselves more effectively than in marches on O’Connell Street.”

    If some sections of nationalism aren’t prepared to look at a victim without reacting violently why would they listen to them at a forum?
    Can we dictate how a victim’s story is heard? Is it not up to them individually or collectively to decide how they want to communicate their hurt?

  • DK

    FD said: “If some sections of nationalism aren’t prepared to look at a victim without reacting violently why would they listen to them at a forum?”

    Fair_Deald – I think that using the Dublin Riots to dismiss the idea of tribunals is unfair. A peace and reconciliation process is supposed to be a dialogue and, failing that, then the perputrator admitting guilt and asking for understanding/forgiveness.

    A march is not a dialogue and, in the case of FAIR in Dublin, was aimed at getting others to admit guilt.

  • eranu

    i cant remember much about the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation to be honest so i could be way off the mark, but wasnt it something that you never heard much about and dwindled away into nothingness? atleast marches and protests are big events and draw alot of attention to the subject. if the forum was a low key event with no media coverage, wouldnt it be a bit like putting the problem away behind closed doors and forgetting about it?
    of course if you dont want paramilitaries to look bad then you wont want much publicity about all the murders they committed…
    im guessing the SDLP have genuine good intentions in wanting somewhere for people to talk though. i wonder will they call for no more bloody sunday marches or fuss, and for any further discussion to take place in the Forum?

  • Glen Taisie

    Within nationalism Durkan has won all the arguments re victims. Sinn Fein’s retreat on the Hain-Adams bill being a case in point.

    .