Day of Private Reflection – 21st June 2007

Healing through Remembering have established a day of reflection “as an inclusive and positive experience that emphasises a commitment to a peaceful new society”. In looking for an appropriate date, they did try to find a day when no one was killed during the Troubles, presumably so that no negative or positive inference could be taken. In fact there is no date throughout the year on which someone was not killed. The 21st June was chosen as the summer solstice, when the sun is at its height. We are open to suggestion as to how we might mark its passing here on Slugger, if at all.


  • Druids seem to have been into human sacrifice, so I guess using their festival date is appropriate…

    Hopefully we’ll not be reviving that practice. Ireland does not need human sacrifices and “martyrs”.

    What if people took the opportunity to come up with possible “confidence-building” measures – gestures of friendship to “the other side”, to help us move slightly away from the old sectarian zero-sum game? Or even gave the grievance committees a day off?

  • Valenciano

    Midsummer/The summer solstice is celebrated in much of Europe with major festivities. Something along the lines of those below would be nice rather than another sombre navel gazing exercise. Time we lived in the present not the past.

  • Slugger could best commemorate this event by placing a permanent logo on the site demanding that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission be established.

    Otherwise this is nothing more than a hippy-drippy event so beloved by Blair and his ilk. For it is a fact of life that the healing process begins by people taking responsibility as individuals and by understanding the course of events, not by remembering alone.

  • missfitz

    Have you been to the Healing Through Remembering site yet? Kieran McEvoy published his findings on a Truth Commission last year, and HTR have been very pro-active about opening up a debate on this issue.

    You can also see that HTR have a number of sub-groups looking at various other issues, the private day of reflection being one. I was involved in the Commemoration sub group, and I think you can find my paper on the site.

    Have a look at it all before comdeming us as wishy washy…..

  • IJP

    Mick H

    The case for a “Day of Reflection”, which I instinctively support, is not the same as a demand for a “Truth and Reconcilation Commission”, which I instinctively do not support.

    I’m afraid our political divisions are such that most parties have nothing to gain either from the truth or from reconciliation. Nor can a single process deal with the multiple different desires and requirements among victims and survivors.

    A “Day of Reflection” may, on the other hand, push us in the right direction.

  • Miss Fitz,

    Fair comment, apologies to all involved in this if I caused offense, it was thoughtless and unfair of me.

    Although I stand by the first paragraph of my post.


  • miss fitz

    No need for apologies at all. I know where you are coming from, but I just wanted to point out that HTR have taken a comprehensive and strategic approach to the subject. Some of the work that has been produced is of a very excellent standard and should continue to contribute to an informed and vigorous debate.

  • susan

    I support Mick Hall’s call for a TRC, but suspect and expect there is a better chance of hosting the Winter Olympics than seeing a TRC before key protagonists have died or retired from the stage. IJP is quite right even the best TRC is doomed to be incomplete and insufficient, but value of what is bound to be an painful process is perhaps more to the future than to the present.

    Miss Fitz, it is wonderful to see you back about the place. I am looking forward to reading your paper when time allows.

    Last year I was greatly moved when a friend who lost his young wife on September 11 sent a link to video tribute to residents of the state of Massachusetts who perished in those attacks. The tribute features photograph of photograph of the lost living their lives in their prime, accompanied by music – a hymn I don’t remember and a Hawaiian singer’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that cut me to ribbons.

    Of course I wondered if such a tribute were possible to victims of the Troubles. While I favour the inclusive appraoch of the church in Dublin that listed all victims name upon name during a Good Friday reading, I recognise and respect the justapositions of such an approach might bring more hurt than healing to some of the bereaved in both communities.

    I do still wonder if an inclusive video tribute would be possible for all victims of the conflict under the age of, say, eighteen or so. Not to stir up recrimination and hatred but as a reminder of all that was lost and those who are still missed every day. Perhaps it could bring a small solace to bereaved families fearing their lost sons and daughters will be forgotten as time and the province move on, and perhaps too it might bring a moment’s pause to those who see the many stumblings and fumblings along the road to peace as only capitulation.

  • miss fitz

    Thanks for the kind words, they are much appreciated. I have been busy the past few months. I’ve created new parts of my life, lecturing at the OU, finishing an MA and being involved in writing the paper for HTR on commemoration.

    I have to say I hadnt thought of or looked at the idea of a video tribute, although that is not to say its not being done by someone. I was more interested in looking at who commemorates, why its done, what effect does it have, and how can we capture the process.

    My position is that much of commemoration is ‘organic’, ie driven from below by the people who have lost or need to remember. No commemoration is ever fully adequate, as nothing can turn the clock back to that crucial 30 seconds prior to the incident and prior to the loss.

    My idea is also to spread best practice among groups, so if you want to pass on any details of the video, there are a couple of groups I can think of that might like to see it.

  • susan

    Miss Fitz, there you are! I was not trying specifically to send you on a mission; only thought you might know of groups to whom the idea might be helpful or healing. And so you do.

    Here is the link. I think it takes about six minutes to view, and I believe there are still victims from Massachusetts who are not shown. Amidst the diversity you would expect, so many, many Irish names and/or faces:

  • DK

    Since we have the lowest tree cover in the EU, I’d suggest planting a tree. But the height of summer is the worst time for this activity, so a whole lot of dead treelets is a bad idea. What about putting a stone on a cairn or a wall. After a few years there would be quite a lot of cairns/walls and the effect would be quite striking.

  • Miss Fitz

    Lots of people are doing lots of things, and the idea of planting trees has been used. In Omagh, in the Garden of Remembrance, there are 29 stones radiating out from the monument in memory of the 29 adults who were killed.