Will genuine reconciliation ever be possible?

Alex Kane is never short of opinions; after all, that is his job. One of his latest tweets has gotten people talking:

Alex does get stick for being a pessimist, but I prefer to think of him as a realist.

Over 25 years into our everlasting Peace Process™ are we really any further on? Both communities seem to be as separate as ever.

We have moved from the hot conflict of the Troubles to a long Cold War.

The latest Stormont ‘Crisis’ has further exposed the difficulties of having two parties in power who just can’t stand each other.

I was one of those who saw the COVID crisis as a time to rebuild, a chance to do things differently – a reset as it were.

But in the past two weeks, I have been engulfed in a cloud of pessimism as we return to the same old petty squabbles.

The future looks grim—a potential second wave of COVID then a likely economic recession.

All week that John Lennon song God has been stuck in my head:

The dream is over
What can I say?
The dream is over
Yesterday
I was the Dreamweaver
But now I’m reborn
I was the Walrus
But now I’m John
And so dear friends
You’ll just have to carry on
The dream is over

YouTube video

Many of the issues we face in society are not that insurmountable, we have just decided not even to try. We have some brilliant and able people in Northern Ireland, but the cynicism and pessimism grind them down, so they don’t even bother to try anymore. We have embraced learned helplessness as our new national character.

Maybe it’s just the change in the weather that has brought upon the gloom. I am very aware that it is up to all of us to build the society we want. As the old Henry Ford quote goes ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right’.

The John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album is the soundtrack to John Lennon’s breakdown after the Beatles. As such I know its not the most optimistic of ear worms. Better to embrace his anthem of domestic contentment ‘Watching the Wheels’:

People asking questions, lost in confusion
Well, I tell them there’s no problem, only solutions
Well, they shake their heads and look at me as if I’ve lost my mind
I tell them there’s no hurry, I’m just sitting here doing time

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round, I just had to let it go

YouTube video

Even in the depths of the gloom, we can at least try to live by the wise words of  Viktor Frankl – ‘When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.’

Heal yourself first, the rest will come later.

Hands across the Divide” by NH53 is licensed under CC BY


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