Flickr Site for Memorials to the Troubles

I remain mindful, indeed reminded almost every day, that although the intense violence of the Troubles has ended and we have had ceasefires for many years, other issues remain painful and ever present. As I have lost no-one in the period, I am always conscious that I have no right to speak for anyone, and that the journey and process of grieving needs to be endured in its own time and alone.

However, time slowly moves on, and as a society we will remember those who have lost their lives. It is done privately, in communities and when the time is right, on a broader societal level. Here on Slugger threads, we’ve broached the idea of a joint commemorative event or Memorial for all the people of Northern Ireland, and I think a broad consensus thus far would appear to be against. I’d like to look at that debate again, and invite you to look or participate if you can, on a group I created on Flickr for Memorials of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

It’s just starting out, but this is an invitation to contribute your thoughts here, or your pictures on Flickr.

  • T.Ruth

    Discussion of a memorial would have resonance for many people only if it was a memorial to innocent victims. This would exclude those who willingly and deliberately committed violent acts aginst fellow citizens-especially those innocent civilians who died at the hands of vicious murderers and assassins.Those who directed terrorism but directed others to do the killing would be excluded automatically.
    No one can say they lost no one in the Troubles. We all lost a great many fellow citizens and we are all the poorer that. We all pay a price today as a direct result of the madness of those who perpetrated the atrocities over the past forty years. Those who gave tacit support are guilty and must examine their consciences in that respect.
    A memorial to innocent victims would have widespread support but those who acted outside the law cannot be included.

  • Chris Donnelly

    A memorial to innocent victims would have widespread support but those who acted outside the law cannot be included.

    T Ruth/ Miss Fitz

    And therein lies the problem, for defining innocent victims is a contentious matter in itself.

    I would say that first post encapsulates precisely why this idea remains in cold storage for now. Once we get into attempting to restrict those to be remembered, or into setting up a heirarchy of victims, then the whole thing collapses.

    I personally think a remembrance garden, complete with children’s play area and monument in the most neutral location possible (and I’m not going to get into suggesting locations at this time) would be a positive idea.

  • Greenflag

    Why not instead have a huge memorial for all the Irish people killed in the Second English Conquest of Ireland 1550-1700 , estimated conservatively at 680,000 people , 20,000 of whom were new ‘settlers’in 1641, plus the 40,000 killed on all sides in the 1798 United Irish rebellion plus the 1,000,000 Famine dead plus the thousands killed during the Irish War of Independence plus of course the 4,000 dead of the recent NI troubles .

    It might be a good idea to leave plenty of space at such a memorial to accomodate the many thousands more who will probably die in future conflict before Mother England finally decides to leave Ireland to the Irish .

    ‘A memorial to innocent victims would have widespread support but those who acted outside the law cannot be included. ‘

    Whose ‘Law’ are you referring to ? English law in Ireland ? Is this the same ‘law’ that confiscated land from Irish Catholics, outlawed their religion and reduced them to utter penury ?

    Is this the same law that bribed the Irish Parliament out of existence and brought in the Act of Union against the wishes of the majority of Irish people ?

    Sorry T.Ruth

    It was an ancient Greek Thrasymachus who in the 3rd century BC said that

    ‘Wherever there is law there is injustice’

  • joeCanuck

    I’m afraid, sadly, that I have to agree with Chris on this.
    Are young Catholic boys drawn into the IRA in their feeling that their areas had to be protected after the 1969 onslaught to be remembered or not? Similarly, are young Protestant men drawn into the UVF or UDA by their feeling that they were about to be abandoned by the British establishment to be remembered or not?
    We cannot have a heirarchy of victims as Chris says.
    If we are to mourn publicly, we should do it for the hell that everyone went through.
    I don’t think we are ready for that yet.

  • maura

    If we have people upset about the colours of flower beds we are not ready for this unfortunately.
    MissFitz, I hope we will see the day, but as Joe says, we are not ready.
    However, I think a commemorative garden for ALL casaulties ( rather than victims)of the troubles, would actually be a very healing experience for us all, when we are all ready to heal.

  • bertie

    “We cannot have a heirarchy of victims as Chris says.”

    We must.

    “If we are to mourn publicly, we should do it for the hell that everyone went through.
    I don’t think we are ready for that yet. ”

    Hopoefully some of us will never be ready to consider that terrorist should be considered in the same way as innocent victims

  • Garibaldy

    I don’t think that everybody who died in the troubles has moral equivalence. A family’s grief may well be the same as any other family’s, but the actions a person carried out in life are not. I just don’t see that a sectarian killer from any side who is later killed should regarded in the same light as his victims. And of course, while many nationalists, and some loyalists, view paramilitaries and the forces of the state as equivalent, unionists never can as their entire ideology is bound up with the legitimacy of the state.

    I think the idea of a memorial for all victims is the touchy-feely culture gone too far, while not denying the reality of the grief of all who lost loved ones.

  • frank

    “Hopoefully some of us will never be ready to consider that terrorist should be considered in the same way as innocent victims”

    Bertie

    Perhaps you should tell that to your fellow members within the orange order.

    The orange order glorify mass murderers every 12th of July.

    Bobby ‘Basher’ Bates and his Shankill butcher gang roamed the streets of Belfast killing Catholics with meat cleavers and hatchets during the 1970’s.

    Bates is commemorated by his lodge during orange marches every year and convicted Shankill Butcher(and orangeman) Eddie McIlwaine is usually given the ‘honour’ of carrying the bannerette commemorating Bates and his fellow uvf murderers.

    The orange orders heirarchy of victims seem to include those who murdered hundreds of their co-religionists.

    Absolute hypocrisy.

  • bertie

    “Perhaps you should tell that to your fellow members within the orange order. ”

    I’m not in the OO.

    “The orange order glorify mass murderers every 12th of July. ”

    No it doesn’t

    “Bates is commemorated by his lodge during orange marches every year and convicted Shankill Butcher(and orangeman) Eddie McIlwaine is usually given the ‘honour’ of carrying the bannerette commemorating Bates and his fellow uvf murderers. ”

    Even if this is true (and given your proven lack of care about the truth I have my doubts), this is not the entire OO.

    I repeat

    “Hopoefully some of us will never be ready to consider that terrorist should be considered in the same way as innocent victims”

  • rock

    Here we go again! More memories, more memorials, maybe this place can be used to have a hungerstrike rally, a victims parade or a memorial to all the famine dead, or must they be held in seperate places. lets have a huge long debate on where the line is drawn on who gets in, come on !!! move on everyone! Why not spend the money on educating the young so in future we have no “victims”

  • Greenflag

    “The orange order glorify mass murderers every 12th of July. “

    No it doesn’t .

    The OO celebrates British rule in Ireland and all that that rule stands for or stood for over most of Ireland for the past several centuries thus the OO does glorify ‘mass murder’ and economic, political and social oppression of the vast najority of people on this island. The fact that British ‘rule’ in that part of Ireland which is still under the Crown has implemented overdue reforms in the past 30 years does not take away from the association of British Rule with oppression for most people in Ireland .

    As for the OO celebrating ‘protestantism’ and freedom of civil and religious liberty for all ??

    Perhaps in some other universe but not in Ireland .

  • cucullan

    I really don’t know why I even bother reading these blogs on Northern Ireland.
    It’s the same old nonsense day in day out. Sometimes I think people here just want a return to the dark days.

    Know where you’ve come from, learn from it and move forward.

    The rest of the world is getting very bored of our petty arguments, it’s embarrassing…..

  • idunnomeself

    Chris,

    Are Nationalists ready to remember the Shankill Butchers on the same basis as their victims? Can the Republican movement really say they are in order to push their own ‘martyrs’ onto the victim agenda?

    I doubt it.

    I personally can’t call anyone who decided to use violent methods to try to subvert democracy a victim. Sorry, but if you pick up a sword you’ve accepted that you may die by it. I can’t see any equivelence to those who died while taking part in activity using terror to influence politics. If nothing else a lot of what these ‘volunteers’ did was far from heroic and downright squalid, no matter what the rhetoric says.

    And that’s leaving aside the thorny issue of ‘state forces’, which depends on whether you think they were causal factors, or ‘caught in the middle’.

    Lots to sort out before we get anywhere near a memorial everyone can agree on..

    Greenflag
    Your analysis is fascinating as it makes no sense to me whatsoever

  • Greenflag

    Idunnomeself,

    ‘Your analysis is fascinating as it makes no sense to me whatsoever ‘

    That’s not the fault of the analysis . If you ‘dunno ‘ your history then you ‘dunno’ .
    But you are right about ‘memorials’

    I hate to sound crude but frankly people in NI need to focus on thier future instead of continously trying to re invent the past or memorialise it .

    Sympathy for innocent victims of course . Was there ever a war without innocent victims ?
    Did the innocent victims ever win a war ?

    What passed for ‘democracy ‘ in NI in 1969 needed subversion . It would have been far better had political Unionism reformed itself from within than having reform forced on it from without . It’s no different in 2006 except for the absence of widespread conflict . Unionism is incapable of internal reform within a 6 county NI. Sectarian based politics simply will not allow it . The ‘sectarian political system is self perpetuating .Without it’s inbuilt ‘sectarianism’ the 6 county NI State would have no reason for it’s continued existence.

  • Greenflag

    Cuculann ,

    ‘The rest of the world is getting very bored of our petty arguments, it’s embarrassing…..’

    Well yes but not sure about the ‘is getting bored’ bit.

    Got bored about 20 years ago or more might be more accurate .

    Those of us who have to live on this island however are still interested to the extent at least that we want to see the *&*%#### brought to an end , which is why I favour a fair repartition of NI .

    Let’s be honest with and to ourselves . There is no possibility of reconciling the deeply held political convictions of both tribes in NI . Ever. One side must triumph or the other . Thge present status quo is not a solution . A fair repartition allows both sides to triumph while it also allows both sides to lose a little .

    That’s all that’s possible . We can then try to cooperate as neighbours to both our mutual advantages on this small island .

  • cucullan

    Greenflag,

    I’m interested in, and fully support a peaceful resolution. But it’s the fact that anytime a subject remotely associated with Northern Ireland comes up it’s always the same old nonsense. It’s like being back in the school yard.

    Ignorance is bliss…..